What to Do When Debt Collectors Call About Money You Do Not Owe
You are protected from abusive debt collection practices and related inaccurate credit report items under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act in Fairfax. Unfortunately, this does not mean that you are guaranteed to never become the target of these abusive debt collectors. It is important to fully understand your debt collection and credit report rights and how you can best exercise these rights. For help, you can rely on a credit lawyer.
Do Not Pay A Debt That You Do Not Owe
Credit lawyers strongly advise clients against paying a debt that they do not owe. If you are not sure whether you owe the debt, you should request documentation of the amount that you owe, who was the original creditor, and how the debt collector determined the amount owed. Paying a debt that is not yours makes it difficult to dispute at a later date that the account should not be on your credit file because your payment can be inferred as an admission that the debt is yours.
By law, a debt collector is required to tell you the name of the creditor, amount of the debt, and how you can dispute the debt or request verification. Within 30 days of being contacted, you should send a letter to the debt collection agency requesting that the agency validate the debt. Make sure to date and sign the letter, and make a copy for your records before mailing it with a return receipt requested. Keep the receipt for your records. Debt collectors are required to cease collections activities until they fully address your verification request.
Review Your Credit Report
After requesting proof of the debt, you should obtain all three of your credit reports. Check for signs of fraudulent activity, such as accounts that you did not open or loan applications that you did not initiate. If you find any erroneous information, you should file a credit report dispute promptly. You might also contact a credit lawyer for help clearing your name if you have been the victim of identity theft.
File a Complaint
There are many circumstances in which it may be wise to file a complaint with the help of your credit lawyer. You can file a complaint if the debt collector fails to validate the debt, yet continues its collections activities against you. You could also file a complaint if the debt collector uses abusive language, makes false threats, discloses your personal financial information to third parties, or otherwise violates your rights.