The Financial Anarchist’s Cookbook

Some of Steven Katz’s tips for driving creditors crazy.

Celine Nadeau

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READ ALSO: “Credit terrorist” Steven Katz says you shouldn’t feel guilty about sticking it to Wall Street.

TAPE EVERYTHING. Record your calls with collection agents (if it’s legal in your state). When they say, “We can seize your car to repay a credit card bill,” you’ve caught them in a violation of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Sue, and you could collect up to $1,000 plus damages.

GET IT IN WRITING. Under federal law, if debt collectors can’t provide written proof of a debt on request, they can’t collect it. If they try to collect anyway, sue them.

MAKE THEM BLEED. If you get sued, fight back. Countersue for something like loss of consortium (i.e. being too distressed to have sex with your spouse). Drive up creditors’ legal costs to the point where it’s cheaper to settle—or just leave you alone.

FLOOD THE SYSTEM. Hide from creditors by seeding their databases with bad data. Apply for 20 credit cards a month using different addresses.

MOVE YOUR MONEY. Transfer your assets to an out-of-state bank account, or buy money orders or traveler’s checks, which are harder to track down.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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