Collector - August 2020 - 26

Litigious Consumer: When consumers
have a history of filing lawsuits against
collection agencies, contacting them puts
the agency at risk of a similar fate. Scrubbing
records to identify these consumers reduces
the risk of a potential costly headache or
ensures they are routed straight to your
compliance team.
Internal Database Comparison:
Collection agencies have a substantial pool
of information in the form of their internal,
historical records. Scrubbing new accounts
against past accounts can identify consumers
with a history of cellphone contact consent
revocation, cease and desist orders, recurring
disputes and other red flags.
Mobile Phone: Depending on an agency's
practices, contacting consumers' mobile
phones if they have not provided consent
may raise the risk of a Telephone Consumer
Protection Act lawsuit. Phone number
scrubs identify numbers that are attached to
mobile devices rather than landlines.
Mailing Address: When contacting
consumers by mail, having an accurate
address is vital. Mail scrubs check for
address changes and standardize address

data so agencies can take advantage of
reduced postage rates.
No-Fault Insurance: Some states
prohibit medical providers from billing for
unpaid balances when treatment is covered
by no-fault or workers' compensation
insurance. Scrubbing for these accounts
in applicable states reduces the risk of
improper collection efforts.
Health Care Insurance: Scrubbing health
care accounts to identify medical insurance
can help agencies seek payment from an
insurer, which is obligated to and more likely
to pay a large balance than the actual patient.

HOW TO SCRUB YOUR ACCOUNTS
Typically, data scrubs occur at the front end
of the collection process as agencies receive
new accounts but before any collection
action is taken. Accounts are compared
against selected databases, depending on
the scrub types, and any matching records
are either flagged or updated.
While these initial scrubs provide cleaner
data before collection contacts begin, a more
robust scrubbing process includes ongoing
monitoring of an account throughout its life
with the agency.

Which Tool is Right for You?
Different types of scrubs can help agencies defend against different
compliance threats. There are many scrubbing tools available, but
here's an overview of some of the most common:
Scrub

	

Risk

Bankruptcy.................................Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Active Duty Military...................Servicemembers Civil Relief Act
Litigious Consumer...................Fair Credit Reporting Act,
Telephone Consumer Protection Act,
Fair Debt Collection Practices Act
Mobile Phone.............................Telephone Consumer Protection Act
No-Fault Insurance....................State laws

26

"A frustration for defense lawyers is
when scrubs are performed as a front-end
snapshot, if you will, and then stop," said
Michael Klutho, shareholder with Bassford
Remele. "An account may well be clear
at that time but then the consumer files
bankruptcy six months later. That's why
agencies should use dynamic systems that
provide 'ever-scrubs.' The data scrubbed at
the outset remains with the service and, if it
eventually hits, the service reports it to you
so you can update your system accordingly."
Depending on an agency's size,
technological sophistication, scrub type and
other factors, the scrubbing process may
be entirely automated or include manual
intervention.
Using health care insurance scrubs,
Scott Brownlee, vice president of
operational strategy for Arcadia Recovery
Bureau LLC, manually prepares files to
provide each insurance carrier with only
the data fields they require in the specific
format they prefer.
"We obtain better results by cutting up
the file and sending each carrier only the
information they require," he said. "We work
hard to control our expense and maximize
return. Some agencies may prefer to just spend
the dollars and get the return they get because
it's far easier to just scrub all placements in the
same manner. For us, it makes sense, and it's
worth it, to put some manual effort into the
insurance scrubbing process."

SCRUBBING BENEFITS
With most of the common account scrubs,
such as for bankruptcy, deceased and
litigious consumers, agencies are seeking
to avoid outreach to consumers who
shouldn't be contacted or who present a
high risk of legal action.
Other times, such as with address scrubs,
agencies seek to improve their chances
of reaching consumers and avoiding
unnecessary costs.
The overall goal of many such scrubs is
investing upfront to reduce expenses.
"With address scrubs, agencies can improve
delivery, reduce cost and lower the amount
of returned mail," said Cheryl Kananowicz,

ACAINTERNATIONAL.ORG


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