Debt Collection Agencies
Follow each step to begin the process of clearing your name:
Organize Your Case
Keep a detailed log in a spiral notebook of all phone calls you receive or make including the name of the person you spoke with, that person’s title, phone number, organization name, and what was said during the conversation. The person who made an oral agreement with you may not be with that company two months later so, confirm all conversations and agreements in writing. Whenever possible ask to speak with a fraud investigator. Don't end the call until you're sure you understand everything you've been told. If you need more help, ask to speak to a supervisor.
Keep loose papers in a notebook or accordion folder. Send all correspondence using certified mail with return receipt requested. Keep copies of all documents and letters. You may want to keep track of your time and any expenses you incur in the event you are given the opportunity to be reimbursed for your costs through court-ordered restitution.
Click here to display a Contact Tracking Sheets, which you can use to help you keep track of the contacts you make.
Contact the Collection Agency
Call the collection agency and advise them that you are a victim of identity theft and that you are disputing the debt. Ask the collection agency what they or the original creditor require to support your claim of identity theft.
A fraud affidavit is typically required. Ask the collection agency if they will accept a generic affidavit or if they require their own. Identity Theft Affidavit
According to the Consumer Credit Protection Act, within five days after you are first contacted, the collection agency must send you a written notice telling you:
- the amount of the debt;
- the name of the creditor to whom the debt is owed;
- a statement that unless the consumer, within thirty days after receipt of the notice, disputes the validity of the debt, or any portion thereof, the debt will be assumed to be valid by the debt collector;
- a statement that if the consumer notifies the debt collector in writing within the thirty-day period that the debt, or any portion thereof, is disputed, the debt collector will obtain verification of the debt or a copy of a judgment against the consumer and a copy of such verification or judgment will be mailed to the consumer by the debt collector; and
- a statement that, upon the consumer's written request within the thirty-day period, the debt collector will provide the consumer with the name and address of the original creditor, if different from the current creditor.
Initiate a Fraud Alert
Initiate an Initial Fraud Alert (90-day Fraud Alert) on your credit files by contacting one of the three major credit-reporting agencies (CRAs). As soon as that agency processes your fraud alert, it will notify the other two agencies. All three CRAs will place fraud alerts in your credit file. You will then receive a free copy of all of the information in your file from each of the three agencies. You will also receive a notice of your rights as an identity theft victim. An Initial Fraud Alert can make it more difficult for someone to get credit in your name because creditors are required to call you before extending credit. An Initial Fraud Alert stays in your file for at least 90 days and can be renewed.
You can also ask for an Extended Alert (7-year Alert), which stays in your credit file for seven years. If you ask for an Extended Alert, you will have to provide a copy of an identity theft report, which is a report you have filed with a federal, state or local law enforcement agency. An Extended Alert entitles you to two additional free credit reports from each CRA in a 12-month period following the placing of the alert.
To place either of these alerts, a CRA will require you to provide appropriate proof of your identity, which may include copies of your Social Security card, driver’s license, and/or utility bills. You may cancel the fraud alerts at any time.
P.O. Box 9532
Allen, TX 75013
Click to file an initial fraud alert online 90-Day Fraud Alert
P.O. Box 740250
Atlanta, GA 30374-0241
Click to file an initial fraud alert online 90-Day Fraud Alert
P.O. Box 6790
Fullerton, CA 92834-6790
The Fair And Accurate Credit Transactions Act (FACTA) gives all consumers the right to one free copy of their credit report each year from each of the credit reporting agencies. All three credit-reporting agencies have additional information regarding identity theft and the FACTA on their web sites.
You may request that only the last four digits of your Social Security number appear on your credit report. In all communications with the credit reporting agencies, you will want to refer to the unique number assigned to your credit.
File an Identity Theft Report
If there is a fraudulent account showing on your credit report, be sure to fill out the Unauthorized Accounts on Credit Report complaint item and Collection Agency complaint item on this web site. Report ID Theft
Confirmation of Conversation
Follow-up as soon as possible with a Confirmation of Conversation letter, but do not exceed 30 days, or you may loose valuable consumer rights. (Example: Confirmation of Conversation Letter. Include with your letter a copy of the Identity Theft Report and proof of your identity. Send all correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested.
If you notify the collection agency that you are disputing the debt, they cannot report the debt to a credit-reporting agency without also providing notice of your dispute (See Consumer Credit Protection Act).
Letter of Clearance Request
Send a second follow-up letter after you have received verification of the debt. Include with your letter, copies (not originals) of the notarized fraud affidavit and all requested documentation. Request a Letter of Clearance stating that you do not owe the debt. Again, send all correspondence by certified mail, return receipt requested.
If you do not receive a Letter of Clearance within 30 days send a follow-up letter (Example:Collection Follow-up Letter) to the collection agency via certified mail, return receipt requested.
Monitor Your Credit Report
Check your credit report regularly. The federal FACTA law enables you to receive one free credit report per year from each of the three credit reporting agencies. These are in addition to the free reports you can order after you place a fraud alert on your credit file.
We recommend that you stagger the receipt of your credit reports, ordering one approximately every four months. Each time, ordering from a different agency. That way you can review your credit report three times each year. If you see possible fraudulent activity on your credit report, file all of the appropriate reports on this web site and follow the step-by-step instructions.