AmI responsible for a debt if myfriend took out an on-line loan and used my name as a personal reference?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2010

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AmI responsible for a debt if myfriend took out an on-line loan and used my name as a personal reference?

My friend took out an online loan and used my name as a reference, I got a call from the company saying my friend had defaulted, and if I didn’t pay the balance they would send sheriff’s to my address to serve me papers, and possibly arrest me. I never signed anything, and didn’t even know my name was used. The company said the contract my friend signed stated that in the event he didn’t pay, his references would be responsible for this debt. Is this legal? Can anyone just get a loan and put down a strangers name and not pay?

Asked on October 1, 2010 under Bankruptcy Law, South Carolina


M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 12 years ago | Contributor

Absolutely not.  You are in no way responsible for paying his debt unless you actually co-signed the loan.  I would contact the state attorney general's office immediately and I would contact the Federal Trade Commission with the name of the company - who is acting as a debt collector at this point - and the Banking Commission if they acted as a lender.  This type of behaviour is intolerable and you should consult with an attorney about harassment as well.  It is criminal to threaten you with arrest for someone else's loan (it is criminal to threaten them as well).  I would do whatever it takes to bring these people down and stop them from this behaviour ever again. Good luck.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: The Answer(s) provided above are for general information only. The attorney providing the answer was not serving as the attorney for the person submitting the question or in any attorney-client relationship with such person. Laws may vary from state to state, and sometimes change. Tiny variations in the facts, or a fact not set forth in a question, often can change a legal outcome or an attorney's conclusion. Although has verified the attorney was admitted to practice law in at least one jurisdiction, he or she may not be authorized to practice law in the jurisdiction referred to in the question, nor is he or she necessarily experienced in the area of the law involved. Unlike the information in the Answer(s) above, upon which you should NOT rely, for personal advice you can rely upon we suggest you retain an attorney to represent you.

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