Debt collection database

A place to discuss the science of computers and programs, from algorithms to computability.

Formal proofs preferred.

Moderators: phlip, Moderators General, Prelates

Posts: 60
Joined: Wed May 09, 2012 1:16 am UTC

Debt collection database

Postby McGrupp » Thu May 10, 2012 10:45 am UTC

Last night, one of my clients sent me what scientists refer to as "a metric fuckton" of data containing thousands of accounts from his debt collection business. Apparently he'd outsourced his skip tracing to some shady-ass place that gave him a bunch of wrong numbers and now he had a ton of duplicates that needed cleaned up. No problem, I just took all the data into Excel, spent a few minutes formatting it so it would work and went to town...and I noticed something funny.

Removing duplicates for "Address 1", "Address 2" and "Amount Owed" returned around 1200 duplicate entries in the table of ~10,000 accounts. Even for a shady skip trace company, that seemed a little high. Well, wouldn't you know it - when I check the "Name" fields that number drops to ~500.

Of course this could imply that he's got a bunch of people listed at the wrong address - that is, something's screwed up in his database somewhere. But, I thought the other implications of this were pretty interesting. Are people using fake names? Does it just mean that there's a positive correlation between bad checks and having lots of roommates? I didn't know where else to put it so I thought it would go here but this suddenly feels like the wrong forum, can anyone confirm or deny this?

Posts: 1708
Joined: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:01 am UTC

Re: Debt collection database

Postby HungryHobo » Thu May 10, 2012 3:07 pm UTC

it's strange that the amounts are the same but a common problem many companies have when there's a house full of deadbeats is that a group will build up a debt or bill in the name of 1 housemate and then that person will "move, we have no idea where he went" repeat 4 or 5 times.

if the debts are from something like bills from a company which puts a hard cap on how much a customer is allowed to owe before they get cut off then that might explain it.

similarly people do it with the names of family members/children.

probably not really a computer science post though.
Give a man a fish, he owes you one fish. Teach a man to fish, you give up your monopoly on fisheries.

User avatar
Posts: 354
Joined: Wed Jul 13, 2011 2:14 pm UTC

Re: Debt collection database

Postby freakish777 » Fri May 11, 2012 2:50 pm UTC

Keep in mind that many people change their name when they get married.

It also wouldn't be surprising if people who are in debt find other people in debt to live with as roommates or significant others. Birds of a feather and all that.

Lastly, yes, some people will use fake names when applying for a cell phone/credit card/utilities. Why? Because they're so in debt already that if they applied with their real name they would be denied.

Return to “Computer Science”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests