frozen bank account

A co-worker of mine has had her bank account frozen. All the bank will tell her is that it was done by order of the government, bu they refuse to tell her any other details, claiming they have 21 days(!) to provide her with the information.
She never received any kind of letter from the government or anyone else about this happening, and she’s obviously in quite a fix.

The question then is–what are her options? If the bank refuses to tell her anything, who can she turn to?

She needs a lawyer.

Why does the government freeze one’s account anyway? I always imagined back taxes was one reason, but assume the person would generally know something about it in that case.

Apparently after quite a few rounds with the bank, we’ve learned that the acount itself isn’t actually frozen, it’s just that there is a debt of $1729 that they have been ordered topay, and since there isn’t enough funds to cover that amount right now, she can’t get at any money until the debt is paid. Just who the debt is owed to is something of a mystery still at this point, though suspicion is currently falling on an ex-husband.

How can the government possibly do this though? Are they not required to provide some kind of notification that they are taking your money, even if a court has issued a judgement to make you pay? It all seems quite strange.

Is she behind on child support?

Perhaps the creditor is expressible as the sum of two cubes.

Taxes or child support are about the only things I can think of that would go through the bother of freezing an account. There might be others, but I’ve never seen one.

She has the kids, and is OWED child support. Even if it were taxes though, isn’t some kind of notification required?

A past co-worker of mine went through this same thing. She defaulted on a car loan, which was repossessed several years ago, and the creditors took it to a court and got a judgement to withdraw the funds from her checking account.

How did they get her checking account info? Probably via SSN. Wiped the acct dry and she still owes money. She had to cancel her auto-payroll deposit and opened a savings acct under her child’s name because of the minimal requirements to have it open. The bank explained to her “off the record” that if she opened another acct, chances were she would find herself in the same position. With the savings, she can still csh her check without any fees and I think because the acct has a minor as the main, it cannot be touched by any creditors of the sort - but just incase, she keeps a minimal amount in there. The bank also advised that she not open a joint acct that would require her SSN. I believe someone can open an acct in their name and have her as an authorized signature. I am uncertain if creditors can touch an acct set up that way.

IMO, this is awful and the governement should step in to do something about it - what happened to payroll garnishments? I’m not saying that her debt should be forgiven, but c’mon! Having your whole checking account wiped out without notice, causing hundreds off dollars in more debt because the person cannot pay their rent, groceries, gas, etc - not to mention all the overdraft/return check fees she had incurred because of this, that is just in bad taste (and the credit agency also tacked on several thousand dollars of interest rates on top of what she owed) and maybe even worse than being knocked off by the maffia.

Oh, and I believe she received a letter of explanation within 10 busn days.

Obviously I’m taking her at her word here, but I do trust her, and she knows of no letter, nor of any outstanding debts that she owes. The bank told her she could close the account and open a new one, but that the existing account would remain frozen for 21 days. She can deposit money in,and checks already written out will clear, but she can’t write new checks or withdraw money for 21 days.

She did have the ex- removed from the account when they divorced, right? Or did she get a new account?

Yeah if it’s the “government” doing the taking, I’d think taxes. But wouldn’t there normally be an audit first? Unless maybe the check to pay the taxes bounced…?

If her ex owned taxes from back when they were both married the IRS might be going after her for those.