Oftentimes, the first clue you get that your bank account has been frozen is when your debit card fails you at the cash register. Although you might expect your bank to alert you, banks are not legally bound to notify you prior to placing a freeze on your bank account. The only reason that your bank would freeze your account is if a creditor or a debt collector has obtained a legal judgment against you. Freezing account funds is a commonly used tactic to encourage debtors to make payments toward their debt.
Reacting to a Frozen Account
Call your bank to learn what agency or creditor has received a judgment to freeze your account. Ask as many questions regarding the issue as possible, including the name and contact information of the attorney representing the creditor. If you haven't received a notice of judgment in the mail yet, request that the bank sends it immediately.
Stop any direct deposits to the account in question and cash your paychecks elsewhere, as you can still make deposits but you cannot make any withdrawals. Pay bills with cash or money orders until the matter has been reconciled.
Determine how to release your frozen bank account. If you have a debt that's gone through past-due collections and you cannot repay the debt in full, creditors will sometimes work out a payment plan as long as you're proactive. Remember to ask for proof of payment. If you believe a judgment has been made in error, contact the attorney representing the creditor and provide proof of payment.