I once had a business refuse to pay me after a small claims judgment. I paid the sheriff's office for a "till tap" and an "8 hour keeper". That means a sheriff's deputy (usually two of them) goes to the business, shows the court order, and takes the money out of the cash register, arresting anyone who gets in the way. If there's not enough money on hand, the deputies stand behind the register and take in money during the business day until the judgment is paid. The fee for this is about $85, which gets added on to the judgment. It worked for me.
They're more common that you'd think.
The people calling the victim up had paid for the loan database and the uncollected debt, so they legitimately think that they are owed money. They are victims themselves.
If the debt is legitimate, you take it to court, get a judgement, and if necessary, show up on their door with police. I have no sympathy for people who willingly make themselves tools of such a scam.
Only once have I ever seen a sheriff's deputy doing a keeper. They were explaining to each customer that the business had failed to pay its debts and had a court judgment against them, so all payments had to be made to the country to settle the debt. Most business owners will pay up within minutes rather than have a day, or a week, of that. Even if they have to take out a loan.
I have little sympathy for most cases in which people rack up debt and try to escape the consequences, but Good Lord, the other side of that equation is shady as Hell, even when done far more legitimately than this.
In either case, first the hospital kept sending me bills with an account number that didn't match mine, and when I legitimately tried to pay it, they couldn't find me through account number lookup. This set off my suspicion, so I just kept asking for "proof of debt." Every time they sent it, some detail would be off, and I'd call them and tell them, and about a month later they'd send a new one with some new error.
This kept on, until the (fairly new) hospital moved its accounting office or something that caused them to really fuck up their records. I didn't hear from it for about 4 months until I got my first call from a debt collector. They really tried to hammer me on how they could work out a "deal" with me for reduced cost (I'm sure they probably paid 10% or something for my debt), so as usual, I asked for proof of debt.
It never came.
3 months later, another call, different agency. Proof of debt, never arrived.
3 months later, another call, ANOTHER DIFFERENT AGENCY. This time I just asked to be "added to their do not call list." They did.
Haven't heard from this bullshit in 5 months. I've checked my credit twice since then (once routine, once as a result of the equifax debacle), no sign of the debt. I guess I'm finally free?
The way debt collection works in the US is the debt collector has to prove you owe the debt, not the other way around.
Pay to delete is a sensible option in the case where you know the debt is legitimate.
In court, he claimed the hospital never provided proof of debt. The hospital claimed it did. The judge asked if they had proof of debt with them, right now. They did. The judge asked my friend if he was willing to pay it with proof of debt presented. He said he was.
Done and done. Orders were guarantee the debt is deleted upon payment, bunch of other weird legal stuff protecting my friend if it should appear on his credit report ever, etc.
You might want to empathize a bit more. Most debt is racked up because those medical bills you mention are legitimate, but can't be covered due to lack of insurance.
The other way is to make a purchase and then lose your job, at which point you can no longer sell your purchase and no longer sustain the payments.
It's a good reminder to write less pointedly, though. If you have any tips on writing style or favorite authors, I'd love to hear them.
I'd be surprised if this article didn't get discussed here on HN at the time.
(or if not, it's very helpful and worth a read)
Last time I talked to the hospital, I told them to please bill the insurance I had supplied them, and not continue sending me letters demanding I pay them $1250 for a procedure that the cash clinic across the street said they would do for 380 (that's including the 'uninsured discount').
The guy on the phone said it was too late because it had been nearly 90 days and 'the computer is sending it to collections in a couple days'. According to him, he couldn't do anything about that.
This actually is highly dependent on state laws. In Colorado for non-emergency the doctor/hospital has 6 months to file the bill with the insurance company. If they fail to do so, or file after that time period, the bill is null and void (it's an agreement they have with the insurance company).
If it is an emergency (such as you got taken to the ER) then they have a year to file with the insurance company.
I know this... because the insurance company denied a claim that was made by the hospital due to an emergency because it was filed outside the 6 month time window because the hospital failed to mark it as being billed due to an emergency.
I only found out about the debt though when I got served and there was a lawsuit against me because the hospital (even though they had a copy of my drivers license) had been sending it to an old address I hadn't lived at which they had on file somehow.
I got it all sorted, and the insurance company paid, along with a fine the state requires for failing to pay on time... however the lawsuit still dragged on for one more year.
The original company that had made the claim, had sold the debt to debt collection company. That debt collection company had never sent me a shred of proof, so their calls went straight to the round file, so the lawyers for the debt company were the people I was dealing with.
They wanted to get paid for the debt, so that they could then send it to the debt collector, who would then send it to the original creditor, or at least, that is what I understood. However my insurance company just sent it to the original creditor.
So now the original creditor had to notify the debt collection company who had to notify the lawyers office that the debt was paid.
That took over a year. Each time I'd get a continuance to show up in court 3 months later, because the debt was paid, so they weren't getting a cent from me. I'd gladly lay it out to the judge, but instead they kept filing a continuance. Eventually the court in Colorado denied their request for a continuance.
Now the best part is that the debt was for approximately $300 dollars. In combined costs of lawyers fees/court fees/debt collection time/all that fun stuff I am sure they spent WAY more money trying to collect. Didn't cost me a penny, other than my time.
Edit: I’m assuming you’re in the US.
Simply on principle, there is no way I would ever negotiate with or pay people this incompetent.
It's definitely ridiculous how unaccountable third parties can affect one's life in such a way, leaving the consumer scrambling to set the story straight about themselves.
I could totally get into that.
The gist was that some of these lenders will try to garnish your wages by filing a lawsuit alleging that you owe them the money. About 60% of the time the defendants don't show up to court and so there's a default judgment in favor of garnishment. Even if the defendant does show, they'll usually ask to settle out of court or try to claim it wasn't them. The one thing most people don't know is that if you just say "show me the proof" the case will be dismissed by the prosecution because they don't have any proof. You then quickly counter sue for them to remove it from your credit file and/or lost wages if you think you can prove they were filing frivolously.
Show me the evidence. In other words, show me where you got this number $3,762.20. The Georgia Legal Services lawyer told Jake that if you're standing before a judge, and you say, OK, I don't recognize this amount that you say I owe and I want to see some documentation, I want to see account statements or whatever, because I have no way to know with certainty that this debt is really mine, the judge will usually turn to the other side and ask for the evidence. And, in all likelihood, they'll have no documentation and they'll drop the case.
Used to be that judges would take such Excel spreadsheets as gospel, but a lot more often, especially recently, not so much so, often due to the shenanigans we see here.
It reminds me of the problem of robocall scammers. If the government really cared, the problem would be fixed.
Currently, I'm living in one of the times they are not shut down. Apparently student loan refinancing is quite lucrative now. I neither know much about it nor (personally) care, since mine have been paid off for a while, but apparently every state in the union has someone who is desperate to let me know about their services. In the last couple of weeks they've started leaving voice mails instead of just ignoring them when I hang up.
(I'd be slightly less frustrated at the amount of advertising targeting and surveillance done if "the system" (scare quoted because I know it's not really one thing) would figure out that, say, I don't need to hear about student loan refinancing.)
The conversation ended when it got to S/Ns(which didn't match) and me demanding they never call again. Eventually the conversations got real quick when I'd stop them before they got to begin saying, "No I didn't live at XXX, No I didn't go to college at XXX, No I don't have XXX in student loans."
Luckily I've never had to deal with the level of threats that this guy went through. It's been a while since I've gotten a call looking for this guy with my name. Maybe there's no one left who wants to try to collect this debt.
Overall it's been an interesting experience. As someone who grew up middle class, had a scholarship, and lives frugally I would have otherwise not realized how predatory debt collectors are. Instead I've written my representatives many times asking that they create stronger consumer protections in this area.
Edit: Oh, also they aren't legally allowed to share the collections detail of the individual, so I couldn't research his debts further without claiming to be him, which I actually considered but decided against.
Actually there is a way. I've posted this here before, but can't find it now. Basically you call the police and file a report saying you're getting harassing calls. They'll give you a case number and tell you to call your phone company. You then call the phone company and give them the information from the police. They'll give you a phone number. Every time you get a call from the harasser, you call the number they gave you and it makes a note of where the call came from. (It's not clear if they have information that caller ID doesn't - like whether they can track down spoofed calls. I'm not sure.) After 3 or 4 calls, the phone company calls the police and gives them the information about the harasser. The police call the harasser and tell them to stop or there will be consequences. In my experience, the harasser then stops.
Yes and no. CID can be spoofed. But there's another ID (I want to say CNA, but not sure) that cannot.
VOIP is a different matter, but even there they can at least get to the originating provider (though they may not be in the US, and may have varying degrees of cooperation).
"you're life's not good because you worked hard. Plenty of good people work hard & their life is still shit. Your life's good because you haven't been judged a sufficiently delicious morsel by someone higher on the economic food chain."
Forwarded the FCC complaint in an email to comcast and within a day got a response .A few days later they acknowledged that I was erroneously billed 600 bucks and that they actually owed me 10 bucks.
Good thing these people are now going to be our internet gatekeepers.
LOL , it has a happened with numerous friends and family members of mine, that have tried to cancel their service.
An expired credit card is not the same thing as one locked for fraud/lost card/etc.
It is possible to charge an expired credit card, many banks will just roll the charges onto the new card instead.
Charges that are both flagged as recurring, and set up before expiry can be accepted.
The other thing that might work is social media shaming. Calling ordinary customer service reps has become increasingly useless over the last 40 years.
This was when most bills were still sent in physical mails.
They sent the unpaid bills to collection agency and it was a huge hassle. He still refuses to do anything with verizon wireless.
He was offended at being labelled a "deadbeat" -- a term they use more than once -- and then a company wrote him a letter saying he never borrowed from them (despite the paragraph before saying he did, in fact, borrow from them [edit - my misreading on that. He doesn't know who he borrowed from]). Okay.
This was a company/group trying to criminally defraud people. Even in the legitimate debt realm there are criminal tactics to attempt to recover debt, usually after it has been written off and gone through multiple hands. The whole debt industry is a scumbag, shady industry, preying on the vulnerable. The debt/credit industry has an enormous number of punishers, from credit scores that can prevent you from getting a job to court-ordered remedies. They don't need the lobsters repeating their nonsense.
You misunderstood that paragraph.
He got a payday loan from an online lender, and paid it back promptly. The online lender was not Vista, the company to which his alleged debt purported to be owed.
*edited so I don't end a sentence with a preposition. I have no idea how by that slipped me.
As a side note, I wrote a letter to the president of Met Life insurance on another policy that they had failed to cancel. The president's office responded with a letter that said they corrected the date and that I had no balance. That letter came on the same day as another letter showing that it had been cancelled retroactively but that I owed a remainder of $25. Their letters were in conflict with each other.
Similarly, every invoice you got from Met Life should also have a coverage date range on it. Shouldn't ever be ambiguous.
And I say that as a person who has actually done some of the same things as the man in the article. Not to the lengths he has...but, yeah, I've spooked quite a few debt collectors. It's one of the few times in life you can unleash against all the wrongdoing in the world and aggressively berate/hound/harrass some scumbag who completely deserves it, and has no idea when they've crossed the wrong person.
I expect this will become a much bigger problem.
These people are the scum of the earth and I hate to say it, but all the misfortune the perpetrators suffered in the article is well deserved (in my candidly vengeful opinion).
This may not be the soundest advice, but IMO once you've gone to collections, the credit damage is done, and it's not worth paying them off strictly for the risk that they may be scamming you. It's sad that that murky corny of the industry has been allowed to continue harassment of consumers relatively unabated. I see people in this thread getting down-voted for calling out the FTC and other agencies for lack of action, but they are dead on.
If one man in his free time during the evenings can bring down a $1bn+ fraudulent operation, how can you possibly think the government is doing enough? Perhaps Andrew should be hired by the FBI.
The bureaus wont help you; I went through an 18-month ordeal figuring out how to clear these things, and heres what I suggest:
-get up to speed on FDCPA rights
-officially dispute the collection
-pursue the original debtor, and get a resolution in writing. sue them in small claims to get a judgement in your favor if you need to.
-send a copy of the resolution to the debt collector and the credit bureau dispute centers
Hope this helps in case anyone is dealing with this kind of stuff.
Debt collection begins its life as a cost of doing business for the lender or service provider. It could be forced by law to remain that way by disallowing the sale of original debt.
In the current context of super-widespread collections abuse, I'd say such a suggestion is anything but arbitrary.
> it requires a specialized body of skill and knowledge that many businesses would rather not have to develop in-house.
If that specialization and skill was a real thing, then we wouldn't see widespread abuse committed by the agencies like we do today. After all, virtually every abuse involves inaccuracy on the part of the agency.
I can even make their fee contingent on their success in collection.
True. Legislation designed to reduce collections abuse could make contracting illegal or strictly limit outsourcing to companies with operational records that are free of abuse.
I personally think payday lending should be banned nationwide. The thing is, there are people that depend on that sort of resource or small loans so what is a better way to do this that doesn't lead to bad outcomes?
There was all the hoopla over Muhummad Yunas and microloans back in the day and P2P lending now. I assume there will be some sort of blockchain P2P lending soon as well.
Also, I used to watch Dirty Jobs every now and then and sometimes the environment or role would look pretty gross but I can't imagine having to be one of these people as a job. Swimming in real filth is probably better for the soul than swimming in this immoral filth.
The problem is that this just moves the lending into the black market, and victims get even less protection.
The thing is, there are people that depend on that sort of resource or small loans so what is a better way to do this that doesn't lead to bad outcomes?
In the following country analysis, I was surprised to see Canada set a limit of 60%/yr, which seems incredibly high. Japan seems to have a decent policy.
I think the tech may be there but being able to make it publicly accessible and understandable will be the major hurdle.
The people need replacing are the nitwits that have long since been purchased by the companies they are supposed to be protecting us from.
In 2012, the FTC put on their Robocall Summit. It was livestreamed, so I watched it. One thing I took from it was that there were many smart and dedicated people at the FTC, but that it was a hard problem.
One thing they didn't say, but I suspect is true, is that the FTC is not well supported by Congress. Look at how hard it was to ban telemarketing in the first place. Look at how energetically the CFPB is being undermined.
Dedicated people aren't enough. You need institutional support, including money, resources, and laws that actually let you put the criminals in jail.
That's why the IRS is underfunded despite basically being a revenue center. That's why the ATF is forced to do manual searches of paper files.
If all one does is call to replace the agency, that just provides even more opportunity to the saboteurs in charge.
If you lose your private key or leak it you don't go to the government to get it back you just pay some money to have a second key issued and the original declared to be invalid.
All debt assigned to the original public part of the key pair would be transferred to the new one unless you could show that it is fraudulent much like you would if your debit card number was stolen.
Additionally the private key shouldn't ever be shared it should be stored on a physical device and proof of having the public key ought to be the only thing transmitted.
Its true that there are logistical challenges involved but they are the boring and tedious kind. Work that nobody wants to do.
Why would people store the majority of their cryptocurrency on an exchange?
Besides, a leak can happen without a big centralized repository - a flaw in the software used to generate and locally store these keys could be exploited, or a flaw in the generation algorithm itself, or any of a number of things.
> Its true that there are logistical challenges involved but they are the boring and tedious kind. Work that nobody wants to do.
I think that was part of s73ver_'s point, and what coding123 completely glossed over.
It’s not like there’s a secret reserve of smart, dedicated people who know what they are doing.
They were simply confirming the plain meaning of the FDCPA, which applies to people who collect debt that is owed to another person. Junk debt buyers buy their debt outright, so they're not collecting on someone else's behalf, so FDCPA doesn't apply. If people are upset about this, they should direct that toward Congress for not having amended the law.
The fact that this sort of injustice is allowed to thrive really makes my blood boil. It makes me wish I had become a lawyer or some other legal professional instead with the authority to prosecute these predators and scammers.
1. People in debt aren't "deadbeats" and deserve to be treated well
2. Using technology to make the process about financial health and treating people like regular customers makes a huge difference
The US seems like it's stuck in the wild west ways of doing things.
"In Sweden, even with the existence of the Enforcement Authority, it is still considered complicated, so most companies use debt collection companies for the process anyway, similar to in other countries."
It's been called the 'Robodebt scandal' and it's been going on for a year now.
 Not strictly speaking debt notices, but the gist is the same: "We think you owe this money. If you can't prove otherwise, we will issue a debt notice."
Currently there's almost no-one so poor that they can't be scammed or threatened out of what little they have.
Basic Income could just enrich the predators.
The whole idea that debt gets repackaged and resold to multiple parties is bizarre.
I moved to California in 2014. In 2016, I got a letter saying I owed back taxes (state) for 2012 on an estimated income. Took quite some time to clean that one up :-/
I only pick up the phone from those in my phone book or have a call scheduled with someone new. I then add them to my contacts or make note of their number.
Can't do that in my country because that's admitting the debt was right. Also, debt collectors can't overreach like that here. Need to go to court to get your money back.
Just bring the proof and normally everything should be OK. At least tha's what happend with me ;)
In my opinion, a national ID's benefits SIGNIFICANTLY outweigh their theoretical downsides (I mean, the NSA already exists). It makes my life easier (but I still end up developing systems for the U.S. and I have to assume they don't have IDs :P )
I don't get it, why was he reluctant to go public?
This guy is a hero.
The truly correct outcome would have all the stolen money back to the victims (together with their wasted time and moral damage), and safeguards placed to make sure this never happens again. Ruining someone's life would serve no purpose in that direction.
EDIT: Since people have trouble understanding my point: it's not justice (morally or legally) to ruin someone's life. This guy isn't a hero for making a threat. He's a hero for making a change which would actually help other people.
EDIT: "This guy isn't a hero for making a threat. He's a hero for making a change which would actually help other people." Please don't downvote this person.
Interpret the threat of ruining lives however you like, but at the end of the day the man conducted a factual investigation and turned over the information he collected to proper authorities. Seems proportional to someone threatening to rape his wife in the attempt to collect a non-existent debt. But tell us what a good Christian in your eyes is supposed to do?
> the man conducted a factual investigation and turned over the information he collected to proper authorities.
And I agree, he is a hero for that, regardless of what religion he fancies.
> Seems proportional to someone threatening to rape his wife in the attempt to collect a non-existent debt.
Well, it's not actually the same guy who threatened his wife, that guy went unpunished. Moreover, it wasn't necessary to ruin Joel Tucker life. If Tucker had enough money to pay back everyone he stole without having to suffer crippling depression that would've been sufficient.
Safeguards are great but there should be a penalty for bypassing them, we need to take people who commit crimes like this and throw them in prison.
Please explain how ruining someone's life, which he believes deserves to be ruined due to their taking advantage of the poor, is 'hypocritical'.
>Striking on the right cheek refers to a back-handed slap to the face. In Jesus' time, and still today in the Middle East, such a gesture is one of the highest forms of contempt.
I don't think anybody here really understands what you're arguing for. Maybe you can rephrase it?
"Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to bring peace, but a sword."
See, I can throw quotes from the bible too.
You don't get to call someone a bad Christian if they don't hold up to your idea of Christianity. Especially when (guessing here) that OP is not a Christian but an atheist.
I know that most big banks and FI have a few devs working on some sorta blockchain ledger for internal transactions, and apparently the big exchanges are very seriously considering using them as well, so it shouldn't be too difficult to make the leap to loans.
ugh, I know we hate just saying throw current fad at this problem, but I'd like to know more why people are against this idea.
I know the idea isn't perfect and would require a lot of work shopping but the current model of lenders selling each other spreadsheets with just a $$$ amount and phone number simply isn't sustainable.
If you have a trusted entity (the government) you just need a public database.
Some central database controlled by the government doesn't solve the issue that all databases have, which is that you need to have absolute trust in the people who admin that db, the beauty of blockchains is that trust is no longer needed, as long as the there are a reasonably diverse number of entities involved no single person can make unilateral changes.
Also this would mean that we could go from each lender and predator having all my personal info to just retaining my public key which can unlock more info with their private one, but means they are no longer selling my phone # and ssn because they don't need to store it.
I truly believe that the power of blockchain tech isn't in $1200 btc but in powerful and secure logging.
In your top level comment you said:
top> If we required that all debt be digitally signed in a central ledger, either nationally or by state, and then all payment transactions were also recorded there, it'd be a lot harder to fake this stuff
If we make it required, we've already ceded control to the government, since it is the government that would control enforcement of the requirement. Even if the government decides to use a block chain, they still have control because they get to pick which block chain is used, and they can change that choice at any time.
Also, who signs this digitally signed debt? If you mean that the debtor signs it, then I don't see why you even need a public record of the debt as far as validating debt collection attempts goes. All that needs to be public is the alleged debtor's public key.
> Some central database controlled by the government doesn't solve the issue that all databases have, which is that you need to have absolute trust in the people who admin that db, the beauty of blockchains is that trust is no longer needed, as long as the there are a reasonably diverse number of entities involved no single person can make unilateral changes.
That doesn't require a block chain. All it requires is that more than one entity keeps a copy of the database.
>That doesn't require a block chain. All it requires is that more than one entity keeps a copy of the database.
>If we make it required, we've already ceded control
>to the government, since it is the government that
>would control enforcement of the requirement. Even if
>the government decides to use a block chain, they still
>have control because they get to pick which block chain
>is used, and they can change that choice at any time.
Sure, but you can get that with a conventional database replicated between several instances hosted by different entities (which do not have to be government entities).
Think about how records of loans would be used. All the use cases that are coming to mind for me don't involve any of the things that block chains do better than conventional replicated databases.
(I'm assuming that the records would be signed by the borrower, and would contain unique identifiers so that recording the same loan more than once would be detectable and could be ignored).
For example, block chains are good at dealing with double spending when they are used to track currency or commodity balances. But I don't see anything analogous to double spending for a loan existence tracking system, so that strength of block chains is not relevant.
Even if you generate a new private key for every loan it wouldn't help much. A significant fraction of borrowers will still lose control of their keys during the life of the loan. So the reality is that to make such a scheme workable would require one or more trusted central authorities to perform identity management and key recovery. Who would do that work and what's the funding model?
But, for those who are willing to pay 150$ interest on a two-week 500$ loan, they've got even bigger problems. In a world where money is everything, people must learn how to use it. Basic Personal finance should be taught k-12 as a primary subject, it's far more important than anything else you could possibly learn.
In the UK we have what's known as 'doorstep lenders' who offer these kinds of extortionate loans to people who are on benefits (welfare) and who can not get credit by any other means.
It is fashionable to sneer at their victims as irresponsible and feckless but these companies have spent years perfecting a methodology that is difficult to resist.
If you're living hand to mouth and someone offers you a cash loan of £500 there and then it can take a lot of self-control to pass.
A friend of mine has mental health issues and has a real problem with the word 'no'. As a consequence he's found himself a target of these people on numerous occasions.
These people are practiced. They have built strategies on exactly how to get the most out of disadvantaged people: the poor with payday lenders, addictive personalities with casinos or mobile games, all of it. They have bigger guns and much, much more data about how to aim--but John Q. Public is supposed to be able to ward all of it off?
Here's an example. Here in Massachusetts we're plagued with scumbags who want you to sign up for an "alternative energy provider" or whatever. Still uses your normal electric company but they "source the power" from a company you select. "It's green," they cry! "It's cheaper," they cry! Of course, what they don't tell you, as they literally knock on your door and fast-talk you, as they imply-but-don't-say that they're from your actual power company, into signing up. Then they jack your rates a few months later, expecting you to not notice, because the bill comes from National Grid anyway. And there's also a big cancellation fee after 48 hours, too, so they get you that way too.
The reason I know about these bastards is because one day, a little confused, a little hungover, and not wanting to look stupid, I got suckered by these assholes. Some dude knocked on my door, was super duper friendly, and explained his upsides and not his downsides; sure, this sounds fine, I'll sign up. Was it stupid? Yeah, it really was. But hey, I messed up. It happens to everyone. For me, the risk is pretty small. It would've been twenty, forty, sixty bucks extra a month. But I'm in tech! I might not have noticed. What about the barely-speaks-English immigrant who lives two doors away from me and works at the 7-Eleven down the street? What about the elderly people in my building? They're not gonna know what happened, they might not even remember doing it by the time it goes down.
I'm in a more privileged place than most people, in that I'm comfortable with legalese and how to operate with regards to contracts and that sort of thing. So, after the high-pressure sales were no longer clogging my brain, I was able to go "wait, what did I just agree to?". I read the papers left to me, went "this is awful" and "wow, fuck those guys" respectively, canceled it within the cancel window, and called my state senator saying "hey, this is totally bad up, you need to do something about it". I did, what's it called--civic engagement, something that actually still works in Massachusetts. And his office is on it, they've co-sponsored a bill to give the state AG authority to deal with these scams, and I called my rep and rep-at-large afterwards to make sure that they're aware of it and are going to vote for the bill. But it's not just civic engagement, it's community engagement: ever since, because I am fortunate and I can do it safely because I'm a pretty tall, pretty broad white dude who has no reason to be intimidated by these people and knows the rules they have to operate under, any time they come in the building and I'm around, I make sure they leave, or I call the cops.
This is not something solved merely by education. This is something solved by the communities in which we all live grabbing the metaphorical torches and keeping the wolves at bay rather than letting them take the weak. Not allowing wolves to eat the least of us is why we invented society in the first place, isn't it?
I guess in theory we could educate every single person on every single scam and give them all enough regular practice in spotting and dodging scammers. But it's far, far cheaper to just vigorously enforce the laws we have, and to update the laws as needed.
But hey, might as well give no one the tools to help their situation if it won't help everyone all at once, right?
Does that sound like a reasonable assertion?
in the US with frugal living, you live of 2-3$ per day, using the oatmeal plan.
And, if your so poor you can't afford that, then it's irresponsible to have kids.
At least not until you get back on your feet.
People don't get to decide that suddenly they were laid off and the economy sucks so it's been a long time since they had steady work beyond the very-part-time job at the convenience store and they don't get to decide that their seven-year-old, born when things were great and when Dad was still around and your family had a second income, needs to not go hungry.
You are representing a callous, gross viewpoint and I genuinely hope it never comes back to make you regret it.
by taking on these loans, it's only going to make their situation even worse.
And, worse, it's wrong besides. Plenty of well-educated people screw up. Plenty of well-educated people are suckered by scams of all types, even people who literally do know better. Life is complicated, it comes at you fast, and one mistake, when you are not so fortunate as to have the kind of (tech) jobs that let you make mistakes, can be profoundly destructive.
See my post elsewhere in this thread for more: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15863152
Expecting somebody to let their family starve or become homeless rather than taking a payday loan is ridiculous.
> Fasting is actually quite good for your health and many of us would benefit from it.
We've reached peak HN, folks. Pack it in.
So what happens if you had kids while you were prosperous, but then become poor? You might be willing to fast for a week (have you tried?), but it's an entirely different thing to make a six year old fast.
Many years ago I was homeless and broke for a period of time. At one point I didn't eat for 2 days, it wasn't easy and not something I'd be willing to do again voluntarily.
2 days sounds easy, right?
Recommending fasting to poor people is pretty arrogant.
Hindsight is 20/20. What do you do if you already have kids?
This hypothetical scenario has no basis in reality, at least in the US. Besides the fact that children in the US have access to free meals on a daily basis through public schools, food in the US is dirt cheap. Food deserts basically no longer exist in the US thanks to stores like Walmart. You can easily supply a nutrient-filled 2500 kcal diet for under $3/day in the US. For most people who are desperately poor and unable to do this, it is an educational problem; a lot of people just don’t know how to eat healthily.
Please don’t make shit up off the top of your head.
What do you do?
Barring physicial or mental health reasons, being a victim of criminal activity (rape, theft, et. al.), or "acts of god" (natural disasters), a person ending up in this situation most certainly screwed up somewhere along the line.
This is in my opinion the first place where taxes should go. To help out people that have been screwed by chance and bad luck so they don't have to rely on predatory lending.
It could be. Absolutely does not matter. You're in that situation. What do you do?
"Barring physicial or mental health reasons, being a victim of criminal activity (rape, theft, et. al.), or "acts of god" (natural disasters), a person ending up in this situation most certainly screwed up somewhere along the line."
Or got screwed. Take a single parent, for whom the other parent skipped town, and due to needing to take care of the child, was unable to complete school. Or take someone who just got cancer, and then was laid off from their job. Why should they continue to be punished for one screwup that may or may not be their fault?
"This is in my opinion the first place where taxes should go. To help out people that have been screwed by chance and bad luck so they don't have to rely on predatory lending."
I do not disagree in the slightest. However, given the current political climate in the US, it's not going to get any better. In fact, the safety net is likely to get worse.
Yes if you are in that situation that might be your only choice, or at the very least the only choice you believe you have. That being said, there's an argument (OP's argument) that if not most of this situations at least a big chunk of them would be avoidable via financial education.
And yes if your partner skipped town or got cancer the government should be helping you out IMO. A person shouldn't be punished for any of it, but that doesn't mean that those situations are not at some level influenced by making bad financial desicions.
Not everyone has the luxury of being able to move countries+. Which is why we should all vote and lobby for better welfare systems - so that we and our loved ones never have to take these types of decisions.
+ It usually takes marketable skills that allow a well paid job such that welfare doesn't seem like a priority.
Would down voters care to chip in with a comment? Drive bys don't really lead to good discussion.
That is not an answer.
If you are actually trying to discuss in good faith, then please respond to the topic at hand. Playing Captain Hindsight helps absolutely no one, especially the people in the situation, and really just serves as "I'm better than you!"
I absolutely agree that better welfare systems would be excellent, and would alleviate these problems quite a bit. But here in the US, that is not going to happen anytime soon. In fact, given the government in power now, I would expect the welfare system to get even worse. So please, do not offer "Don't be in that situation" as a suggestion.
The original situation is horrible. No one should ever be put into it. There is little point answering the question - it has no good outcomes. Instead we need to think about how to prevent it happening. I suggest that we should strive to build societies where it does not happen. I offered a concrete suggestion for how an individual can help themselves and another for how they can try to help everyone.
In terms of the USA - Lobbying by the public has slowed attempts to decrease healthcare provision in the USA. People like you that care and live there need to continue pushing.
"There is little point answering the question - it has no good outcomes."
That's exactly why there is point in answering the question. It is a very real, very common situation that does actually occur. And that decision needs to be made many times.
"I offered a concrete suggestion for how an individual can help themselves and another for how they can try to help everyone."
You really didn't, as your suggestion is not applicable for the situation.
Pretty sure that is an answer even if its one that is unlikely to work for America this decade.
It's almost a full-time job in itself. You have to work every system to the bone and have a side-hustle in order to get past the current crisis until your next windfall.
You have kids? Give them a box of $0.05 things and tell them to sell them each for $1.00 . They'll have to learn how to live as poor folk sooner or later, and sales is a marketable skill, whereas panhandling is not. If you can work two jobs, they can work one and still go to school.
Being poor sucks. Don't be poor. If you find yourself being poor, stop as fast as you can. Don't fall for the traps that keep you poor. Don't let the crabs drag you back into their bucket. And never take out a loan in your own name unless the money you take is going to make you more money than what it will cost you to take it.
And for the sake of your mother's honor, if you take a job as a debt collector, tell everyone that you sell heroin and mug people instead.
Damn, if someone had just told the poor people this sooner, they wouldn't be poor! /s
That was really more for people who have never been poor, and can't quite fathom what it's like.
That's pretty vile. Yeah, the world is filled with people with poor finance skills. They aren't marks to be exploited.
I can't buy certain financial products even if I'm educated because I'm not an accredited investor, but anybody can lose more than what they have freely.
A country that owes 20+ TRILLION dollars in debt, and has a shortfall of cash, for the current year, in the hundreds of billions of dollars, should NEVER allow debt collection on its citizens.
Until the country's leadership pays its debts, resolves its deficit, and starts anew with a clean slate, its citizens should receive the same debt protection the state enjoys.
If the country won't pay its obligations, the citizens should have free reign to do the same. What's good for the state, is good for its citizens.
If I borrowed $100 from you yesterday with the understanding I would pay it back in seven days, I'm in debt to you, but in good standing. If I borrowed it six months ago and it was due a week after that, I am not in good standing. Those situations are not equivalent.
This is not to defend horrible collection practices or the debt collection industry in general. But making some odd claim about U.S. government debt being equivalent to this needs a lot more explanation if you want it to be taken seriously.
(Though in fairness they did own up to it shortly after.)