1. When an annuitant contracts with a Structured Settlement Funding Company (such as J.G. Wentworth, Genex Capital, Peachtree Settlement, Solid Funding, Sovereign Funding, Woodbridge, Novation Capital) their name and contact information generally appears in the court application filing.
2. Court applications become accessible to the public once filed with the court. As such it is possible to visit a court office and obtain information about a structured settlement annuitant in respect of structured settlement transfer applications filed at that court.
3. Since the beginning of this year we have noticed a huge upsurge in the amount of unsolicited junk mail and phone calls that are being made to our clients shortly after their court applications are filed in their respective court.
4. We are told that the upsurge is due to competitor funding companies such Seneca One, Imperial, Catalina Funding, and many others going to court files and pulling the personal information of annuitants through what has been referred to in the industry as “Court Scraping”.
5. In an effort to see how widespread the problem is SSQ called up the Seminole County Court office in Florida on April 26th, 2012 and asked the records clerk if it is commonplace for a structured settlement company to request a copy of the documents of another structured settlement factoring company and the clerk actually chuckled and said that they have a staff member who works 40 hours a week solely copying the structured settlements sales transfer applications from one company and sending them to multiple other competing structured settlement companies who have ongoing requests for the records office to send them all competitors documents. The clerk said that the person doing this work at the clerk’s office can no longer keep up with the demand and is falling way behind and they have had to move staff from other areas to help keep up with the demand for these documents. The clerk said that it is becoming a very big problem for their office and that the records department is beginning to feel like there only job is to copy structured settlement transfer applications so that structured settlement companies can steal deals from one another.
6. Virtually every piece of direct mail from these competitor companies suggest that they will beat a current price so as to entice an annuitant to either break their current potentially legally binding agreement already in court process or to try to get the annuitant to sell additional payments that remain unsold and remaining payable to them.
7. What we find even more disturbing than all of this unsolicited junk mail and unwanted telephone calls, is that some companies appear to be sending fake checks purporting to offer $150.00 up to $8,000.00 to these unsuspecting annuitants if they proceed to do a deal with such company. Initial telephone calls to Bank of America, where some of these checks purport to be drawn, suggest that these checks are not real and the account numbers are false. The checks are sent by mail through the US Postal Service.
Structured Settlement Quotes is so concerned about this situation that it has launched its own investigation into customer complaints.
Over the coming weeks we shall be bringing to our readers’ attention specific details of our investigation including copies of checks and other mail items as well as details on possible reporting to the various authorities. Please stay tuned.