Man isn't legally bound to tell creditors about sister

DEAR BRUCE: I have a question regarding creditors contacting me, looking for my sister. I am aware that my sister has had credit problems, including more than $50,000 in credit card debt that she foolishly ran up while in college. She has gotten back on track, but several times in the past five years or so, I have received calls from her creditors asking for her. Let me add that we live multiple states apart. I have asked to be taken off their lists and repeatedly refuse to provide them information or acknowledge that I know who she is. What is the proper way to handle these calls? — D.H., via email

DEAR D.H.: If the police contact you and ask for your sister's address or phone number and you know the information, you could open yourself to some serious legal problems and perhaps criminal prosecution if you don't give up that information. You have no such obligation to civil creditors, nor do you have any obligation to pay those obligations. You are not obliged to say anything, and you can hang up the phone. You have every right to say: "My sister is a legal adult. I am not responsible for her obligations, and further, I am not prepared to get into any conversations with people seeking to locate her. Please do not call me again!"

There are other ways to put this, but I think that should cover you. I know it's a nuisance. I am unable to find any legal reason why you have to divulge any information regarding your sister.

Send your questions to Smart Money, P.O. Box 2095, Elfers, FL 34680. Send email to

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