An expert answer from April Lewis-Parks
brant from Springhill, Florida writes in, “ How do I know what debts are in truth mine ? ” A batch of times people get solicitation calls and letters and they ’ re not certain if the debts are very theirs and they rightfully owe them. It ’ second always best to go to all three credit chest of drawers, pull your citation reports, look them over and match up the debts you know are yours. And the ones that you ’ rhenium not certain of, highlight them—write a letter to the creditor listed on the citation composition and then besides copy a letter to the credit report agency. If you don ’ metric ton hear second from the credit report agency or the original creditor within 30 days, you have a right to ask for that debt to be removed. And american samoa far as collectors coming after you, and sending you letters, and calling you on the phone, you have to barely tell them, “ Listen, this is not my debt. Stop calling. ” And then if they continue to call you to ask for a supervisor or director ’ randomness mention, address, and send them a file, license letter. brant from Springhill, FL asks if there is a way to find out if the debt he is paying off are very his. No one wants to blindly pay all the bills that come in the mail, so April Lewis-Parks explains how to handle this situation with an expert answer.
It ’ south not rare for collectors to contact the amiss person when it comes to seeking payment on a charged-off debt. like names and aliases mean you can get flagged as the holder of a debt that isn ’ t yours. You can end up dealing with the stress and harassment of collection calls for person else ’ mho debt .
Before you agree to pay, there are several steps you can take to verify if a debt is truly yours to pay. If it ’ s not, then you have every properly to tell the collector to stop reach you. hera are steps you need to take
Step 1: Get notice
By law, a collector must send you a “ Notice of Debt ” letter within 30 days of their first reach with you. This letter must state the appoint of the company seeking payment and the measure you owe .
When a collector calls you, ask them if this notice has been sent. Let them know that you will not discuss the debt far until you receive the letter and have an opportunity to verify the debt is yours .
Step 2: Check your credit report
once you receive the Notice of Debt you can compare it to your own records—namely, your credit report .
Download your credit rating reports for free from annualcreditreport.com. presently, you can download your accredit reports for free once per week through April 20, 2022 .
once you have your reports, spirit for the creditor name and history that matches the information in the Notice of Debt. If you don ’ thyroxine see that information, then you ’ re one step closer to confirming that the debt may not be yours .
Don’t wait to do this step. You have 30 days from when you receive the Notice of Debt to dispute it or request more information.
Read more: A step-by-step guide to identity theft
Step 3: Ask for validation
following, you want to go back to the collector to request debt validation. This is another letter where the collector must provide far proof of the debt. They must show that they legally own the debt or have the right to collect on behalf of the original creditor .
Make certain to request the master creditor ’ mho name and address, so you can contact them to confirm that the report got sold to the collector. They should besides provide documentation from the original creditor .
If they can not provide this information, then they have no legal right to collect the debt .
Step 4: Cease and desist
If the collector can not verify the debt, then the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act clearly states you have a right to request they cease all contact. Simply send them a letter in writing that states you nobelium longer wish to be contacted about this debt .
They must cease all reach. Their lone recourse would be to try and sue you in civil court, but without the ability to verify the debt, it ’ s improbable that they would incur the monetary value of a lawsuit. If they tried, you can merely answer the court summons with the proofread you already have showing that the debt is not yours to pay .
What to do if a debt that’s not yours appears on your credit report
Some collectors may try and get a debt collection account on your credit report even if it ’ s not yours to pay. Collection accounts will appear in the populace records section of your citation report .
If a collector reports an account that is not yours, plainly go through the steps above. Once you reach the footfall where the collector fails to verify the debt amply, you can provide that information to the credit agency. You can dispute the item and have the collection account removed from your credit report.
Read more: A step-by-step guide to identity theft
These rights are protected by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If the account information can ’ thyroxine be verified then you ’ re legally entitled to have that item removed from your credit report .
What to do if the debt really is yours
If it ends up that the debt in truth is yours and needs to be paid, make certain to consider your options carefully. If you can ’ thyroxine yield to pay everything that ’ sulfur owed all at once and they say they won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate accept anything except payment-in-full, you may still have options .
For example, debts in collections may still be able to be included in a debt management broadcast even if it ’ mho with a third-party collector. It may be worth it to talk to a credit counselor to see if they can negotiate on your behalf to include that debt in a debt management program .