Having your wages garnished can be troubling and stressful. It is horrifying when the debt for which the wages are being garnished isn’t even yours. You have very little time to claim an exemption with the sheriff’s office. You have to act quickly and immediately: file the necessary paperwork.
If your wages are being garnished for a debt that you do not owe, you need to get all the court records relating to the judgment that was entered against the debtor. This includes the filed complaint, proof of service of the complaint, and any documents that were filed after the complaint. Contact a top consumer attorney immediately, as claiming an exemption will not stop the garnishment permanently.
If you are not the debtor, or have already paid the debt, you will likely need to prove this. Proof can come in many different forms: proof that you lived somewhere else, cancelled checks, etc. More importantly, if this debt arises out of identity theft, then you must get copies of all your credit reports, file a police report, and place a fraud alert on your credit report.
Identity theft can affect a consumer for years. Filing the police report is just the first step. Once you have the police report, it may become evidence in the garnishment proceedings. You should have an advocate on your side on the day of the hearing. An attorney experienced in debt collection law on the consumer’s side is invaluable. Garnishment for a debt that is not owed by you also potentially opens up the Plaintiff to liability for violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Don’t go it alone!
Photo by David Castillo Dominici