Man shares nightmare of co-signing on bank account

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Camaron Harris wishes he had never opened a bank account with someone else.

“Do not open an account with anybody,” he warns.

Here is why.

When Harris was 18, he says he was trying to help out a younger co-worker.

“I was 18, young and dumb,” says Harris.

“I thought I was being a friend, helping him out, so that he could make it easier to cash his checks, so he wasn’t paying outrageous fees at Smiths and places like that,” added Harris.

But then that co-worker lost his job, and — according to Harris — started depositing fake checks into their shared account.

“He cashed the checks and spent the money, and later on the checks bounced,” says Harris.

The debt started to grow; it was forwarded to a collection agency; and, Harris says, that was just the beginning.

“My dad tried to go over and talk with his parent, or guardian, try to get it resolved. And he actually got a shotgun pulled to his face,” says Harris.

So Harris was left with letters and phone calls from Knight Adjustment Bureau.

They tell News4Utah that they got the debt back in March of 2017 and it totaled $2,120.

Harris, they say, paid once for $100.

Knight Adjustment Bureau then took the debt to court — and, they say, the judge ruled that Harris did indeed owe the debts.

After roughly $600 in legal and attorney fees, the total is now $2,918.26.

We went to an expert to ask their advice about opening a joint account.

“There are many significant drawbacks with co-signing with someone on the account,” says Cory Gardiner, Executive Vice President of consumer banking at Zions Bank.

She says opening a joint account can be helpful to someone and help them build up their credit score. 

But, she says, the risks are real.

“It could ruin a relationship, and it could potentially ruin your personal credit history — and relationship with your financial institution,” says Gardiner.

Meantime, Harris wonders why he is on the hook for someone else’s debt.

He says he wishes the collections bureau didn’t add fees and interest to boot.

“I honestly can’t make heads or tails of this,” he says.

“It’s been stressful–I would not wish it on anybody. Even my worst enemies. I just would not wish this on anybody.”

Knight Adjustment Bureau told News4Utah that, even though the debt is nearly $3,000,  they would still settle for $2,600, which they say they had offered Harris in the past.

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