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ITRC Fact Sheet 116
Collection Agencies and Identity Theft:
How to Effectively Clear Identity Theft Accounts from Collection Agency Records

This fact sheet is broken into four sections:

Many victims first find out about a case of identity theft when a credit issuer or a collection agency contacts them to collect money. It is distressing to receive a call or letter from a collection agency when the debt was created by an identity theft criminal. Further, many people become fearful that their financial reputation will be ruined permanently. Fortunately, collection agencies are regulated by a number of laws. They do not want to affect the wrong person’s credit or attempt to collect from someone who does not owe a valid debt.

In cases of identity theft, the consumer, creditor and collection agencies are all victims of the crime. Creditors and collection agencies are not going to get paid by a victim of identity theft. Unfortunately, there are individuals who claim identity theft but in reality, are trying to avoid paying a bill they actually did incur. This makes life more difficult for collection agencies, creditors and the true victims of identity theft.

Even though the federal and state laws that guide collection agencies have been updated considerably, proper education on the behalf of consumers and creditors continues to be an important factor clearing your name. It is important that you understand your debt collection rights – see ITRC Fact Sheet FS 116A – Your Debt Collection Rights. For now, giving the creditor and collection agency sufficient information to prove the claim of identity theft is the key to getting the matter resolved.


General Advice

Preliminary steps to stopping and correcting the collection process


The Fair Credit Reporting Act states that a collection account deemed as fraudulent must be closed and marked as uncollectible unless new information indicates this may a true debt. It may not be resold, transferred, or traded once assigned as fraudulent.


Complaints and Worse-Case Scenarios:

If you believe that a creditor or collector is breaking the law, you are unable to resolve the “claim of identity theft” with the agency, or your “closed” account has been resold to yet another collection agency, you may want to talk with the following groups:

 

Resources:

Federal Law: Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (15 U.S.C §§1692-1695)
http://www.ftc.gov/os/statutes/fdcpajump.shtm

FTC Facts: Fair Debt Collection http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/conline/pubs/credit/fdc.htm 

FTC Identity Theft website: www.identitytheft.gov

Credit Reporting Agency Contact Information

 

This fact sheet should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims for their own use, should be directed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..