nobodysbabynow's picture

OT- question about debt (fake or bought debt that was already paid) collection

I'm asking because you ladies are smart, and there is a lot of different info on the web that I'm not sure whether to trust.

I've been paying 100% of my bills on time for the last several years and my credit has been slowly climbing.

Suddenly, in the last few weeks, I have received about four different debt collection letters. I don't understand where the supposed debt originated in two of them. With the other two, I know where the amount came from, but I'm sure I paid it- one is from an OB/GYN from back when I had medicaid, which would have paid him. The other is from a hospital bill after I got regular insurance that didn't cover everything, and I paid the difference directly to the hospital.

I don't know whether to ignore these letters and assume these are scammers who bought or got hold of the bill, to call them and ask for the details and then dispute or pay, depending on whether I owe the bill.

Somewhere, I heard that if you acknowledge you owe something to a debt collector, you then are responsible for it. If you are close to the statute of limitations on that debt, you will be starting over.

I'm not trying to avoid debt I owe, just trying to avoid things going on my credit report, and also to avoid paying for and being harassed for debt I don't owe.

Does anyone know the best process?

DaizyDuke's picture

Pull a credit report. If

Pull a credit report. If these are legitimate "collection" letters, it should be on your credit report. You can pull a free with (with no strings) through the FTC https://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report

ღIt's all fun and games until someone doesn't pick up on the sarcasm ღ
ツ I try to act nonchalant but underneath, I am chalant AF ツ

nobodysbabynow's picture

Thanks, Daizy- I used the

Thanks, Daizy- I used the link and it was time again that I could get my free reports. Nothing from any of these was on it.

HowLongIsForever's picture

There are a few things you'll

There are a few things you'll need to find out before you know how to tackle these.

#1 what the statute of limitations is in your state for collecting on a debt

#2 if these debts are with the original creditor or if they have actually been sold and cannot be recalled

These two things will make a huge difference in how to approach these.
You can probably find SOL by Googling. You can take a look at your reports to see who is reporting what. If an account has been turned over to collections you may see both the original creditor and the collections company reporting. You may also see different DOFD (date of first delinquency).

If you've already used your annual free report message me, I can give you some suggestions. If you haven't, just go to each of the 3 bureaus and request your free copy.

Once you know those two things I can give you a better idea on how to approach. Feel free to message me if you don't want to keep posting.

Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon... No matter how good you are the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

nobodysbabynow's picture

Thanks, HowLong. Nothing

Thanks, HowLong. Nothing delinquent was on my credit report, and I would like to try and keep it that way Smiling The statute of limitations in Michigan is six years.

HowLongIsForever's picture

Good news is that nothing is

Good news is that nothing is reporting. Makes life a little easier for you.

Validating the debt means you're requesting the collector to provide you with proof of the debt itself and that it's yours.

If you Google debt validation letter you'll find lots of examples. They have to provide you with documentation on the debt they're trying to collect basically.
They have a 30 day response window and then sending you a copy of their own bill isn't considered validation.

As an example, let's say they're trying to collect on a cell phone bill. They would have to provide you with the account information including the provider, the amount of debt (before any fees and interest they tack on) and dates for service, delinquency, etc. Verizon, $784, account 123456 Jan 2011. They also need to provide what ties that debt to you. It can't just be that the account belongs to Jane A. Doe in Michigan and your name is Jane Doe.

If it's something you're confident is not yours and/or is paid in full with the creditor you can try skipping validation and provide proof that the debt is not valid/not yours and request that they no longer contact you about it.

If any of them are yours, reach out to the original creditor and see if it's possible to still resolve with them.
If they've simply contracted it out they still own the debt and can recall it. If they've actually sold it then you'll have to work with the collector.

Quite a few collection agencies will work on a pay for delete basis - meaning they'll request a delinquent tradeline to be deleted and no longer report it to the bureaus if you make payment (typically in full).

If you have something that's sitting on the edge of SOL you don't want to make any payments or arrangements - you risk starting that countdown over.

As for the credit freeze - you can lock down your credit and you'll be required to validate essentially any credit request.

You can also opt out. That means you won't get all of the promotional offer nonsense and random advertising soft pulls. You can do that online with each bureau for free. If you want to do it "permanently" you have to print out a form and mail it in rather than submitting online.

Keep in mind none of these prevent your current creditors from soft pulls for account monitoring and extending offers of additional credit. It also does not prevent current creditors from sharing your info with their partners.

Example you have an account with ABC Credit and they share "qualified" customers with 123 Insurance. ABC won't share your actual account/credit info, just your contact info that they deem you to be qualified for x products. That type of stuff you'd have to opt out with your creditors rather than the bureaus.

Also - watch out for credit monitoring services. Most of your CC companies will offer free FICO scores. Awesome. It's an actual legit FICO score.
Services like Credit Karma offer scores but they are not actual FICO scores and are not calculated in the same manner.

Sorry for the book. Good luck! Smiling

Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon... No matter how good you are the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

nobodysbabynow's picture

WOW! Thank you so much for

WOW! Thank you so much for all of that helpful information! I very much appreciate the book! The last thing I wanted to do was to mistakenly confirm the debt was mine an start the countdown over again, and I really wanted to know exactly how to get the validation info without screwing up. And I have never known about the credit freeze. And right now I am getting tons of offers that I don't need Shocked Thank you again Smiling

StepUltimate's picture

Good info, I've had success

Good info, I've had success with requesting debt validation (= mailed to collection agency via certified mail) and never hearing from the collection agency again. They prey on the easily intimidated & those who don't know their rights & fear harm to their credit. Being debt-free is So. Awesome!

nobodysbabynow's picture

Thank you, I'll make sure to

Thank you, I'll make sure to send it certified Smiling

askYOURdad's picture

Pull a credit report if they

Pull a credit report

if they are not on your credit report simply ignore them and shred them annualcreditreport.com

if they are on your credit report you should dispute them before you do anything. Once you dispute them, it is on them to prove that you owe this money and if they don't within 30 days it will fall off of your credit report.

"Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do"

HowLongIsForever's picture

Before disputing anything you

Before disputing anything you have to validate the debt with the collector.
There is a process for this (literally just a request) but if you skip over that part a simple dispute on your report isn't going to help you any. The collector will confirm the debt to the bureau within 30 days and it will remain.
Disputing an entry on your credit report is not quite the same as validating and disputing with a debt collector.
A dispute noted or a tradeline removed because the 30 day response window has closed does not prevent a) collection or b) re-reporting of the tradeline.

Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon... No matter how good you are the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

HowLongIsForever's picture

I shouldn't say "have" to.

I shouldn't say "have" to. You really don't. But there is a process and strict requirements of the creditors (in this case debt collectors) to follow. Skipping over that process does the consumer no good. Eye-wink

Arguing with idiots is like playing chess with a pigeon... No matter how good you are the bird is going to shit on the board and strut around like it won anyway.

nobodysbabynow's picture

Yes, I would like to know how

Yes, I would like to know how to validate the debt as I suspect some of them are already paid, and some, I just have no idea what they are.

askYOURdad's picture

Thank you! Yes you should

Thank you! Yes you should validate them and then dispute them before you pay them!

"Givers need to set limits because takers rarely do"

Salems Lot's picture

I have no idea what to tell

I have no idea what to tell you.

I have a recycled phone number and I am being bombarded by calls from collection agencies for the previous person or persons that had my number I would explain the situation, they would tell me they would remove my number from their system but never did. I ended up contacting my phone company, and what ever they did the calls stopped, for about a year. They started up again about a month ago.

Years ago I had a collection agency call my number and asked for a Randy. I kept telling them there no Randy living in my home. Never was. I explained this to them. I was trying to make lunch for my kids at the time, the twins were toddlers and my daughter was a preschooler.
The person kept calling and calling and calling constantly asking for Randy. Finally the supervisor called and flipped out on me. Yelling at me on the phone telling me "He new Randy lived there and he knew this was his number...
I flipped.. Told him No f-ing Randy lives her. Don't believe me? Call MA BELL and ask them who this number is registered to! They didn't call back. Had a unlisted number ever since, but it doesn't prevent them from calling if someone else has used or keeps using this number when applying for credit.

Lord, give me coffee to change the things I can change and wine to accept the things I can't.

Narcissist (n): a more polite term for a self-serving, manipulative, evil a$$hole with no soul.

nobodysbabynow's picture

Wow, I guess Randy might be

Wow, I guess Randy might be in some trouble! That would be so annoying.

WalkOnBy's picture

Definitely check your state

Definitely check your state statute of limitation on debt collection.

It could very well be that your "creditors" sold off the bad debt and the collectors are coming after you - but they may not have the right to do that based on SOL. Outfits like these are predatory and take advantage of folks who don't know their rights.

Reading...it's fundamental

"Maybe it should be "reading comprehension..... it's fundamental" - ItsGrowingOld

nobodysbabynow's picture

That's what I'm thinking-

That's what I'm thinking- they took debts already paid and are trying to collect them again.

robin333's picture

Look into freezing your

Look into freezing your credit to avoid identity theft. It's easy to unfreeze temporarily if you are applying for a loan. I know this doesn't help with your original question.

"I've seen dogs with better manners." Aniki

"A healthy future depends on having productive members of society - not basement dwellers." Notasm3

nobodysbabynow's picture

I saw something about that at

I saw something about that at the bottom of the credit report and had never heard of it before- it said the fee was $10.00. I definitely am going to look into it. I found a paid off credit card that was open from 2006-2008 and I had no credit cards at that time.

robin333's picture

If you have been hacked, it's

If you have been hacked, it's free. My state showed a fee but when I did it, no charge and I didn't check identify theft. I even froze my DD's. I went to a seminar by a FBI guy (very technical I know) who said freezing credit was the most important thing to do for identity theft and cyper security.

"I've seen dogs with better manners." Aniki

"A healthy future depends on having productive members of society - not basement dwellers." Notasm3

FieryEscape's picture

Creditkarma.com is a free ,

Creditkarma.com is a free , safe credit checking site. Should show any new collections accounts .

If the debts are old and you know they are paid off , I would ignore them if it past the statute of limitations .

Goodluck's picture

OP, I am just now seeing your

OP, I am just now seeing your post.

Couple things. But first I will start by saying IF your in doubt, talk to a lawyer..

DO NOT talk calls from anyone chit chatting about the blues your were broke, ect as they may pressure you into setting UP a payment plan, let call go to VM. This debt may not be yours to begin with. Don't call them back....remain silent until a few things happen first.

Check your states law on statue of limitations.
Was your letter certified or just a letter in regular mail.?

Take the time to read thru the following...DONT be scared and pretend a certified letter never came OR a subpoena never 'really came' IF you do, they will win by default Judgement and your hosed, wages garnished. THEY COUNT on you not answering certified mail and subpoenas AND they count on you not showing in court if it goes that far.

https://toughnickel.com/personal-finance/You-Can-Beat-Credit-Card-Debt-C...

I found the above link with a google search.

If your debt was sold to a debt collector from Macy's for example,,,YOU never entered into a contract with DEBT COLLECTOR. But you did with Macy's (who gave up on you by selling your debt. Happens all the time, people fall on hard times).

BUT Macy's sold your debt for maybe 50.00bucks BUT they (MR DEBT COLLECTOR) will go after you for 3K you may have ran UP buying stuff. Debt collector will scare you half to death with sending you photo copies of a few bills you had with MACYS.
That's all they have, a few photo copies of really nothing. THIS will not hold water in court and a few pages are NOT GOOD ENOUGH,,,to prove anything. EXCEPT it sure does scare you. GOSH you may even see your signature. Jawdropping! whoop de doooo
Debt Collect MUST Prove you owe debt to debt collector.

A good lawyer will smash them. But what ever you do, DO NOT ignore a court date and DO NOT ignore certified letters.

GOOD LUCK

The second type of triangulation is a cross-generational coalition in which one parent forms a coalition with the child against the other parent. This is the type of triangulation involved in the pathology traditionally called “parental alienation”.

nobodysbabynow's picture

Thanks GoodLuck, they're just

Thanks GoodLuck, they're just regular mail, and the highest one is 301$. So I could pay it if it were going to court, but I just don't want to pay something that I don't owe or have it go onto my credit report that I've been slowly building up.

tonyquart's picture

I suggest you not to ignore

I suggest you not to ignore those report. If you know the number, call them. You could ask them to validate the debt.