ITRC Solution 4 – Clearing Name with a Collection Agency
If you received a phone call from the collection agency, and did not ask for them to send any written documentation of the debt, please do so now. If you received a letter, you should contact the company and speak with the Fraud Department and explain this is a case of identity theft.
- File an identity theft police report. Use the letter or phone call from the collection agency as proof. If you received a phone call, use any notes you took as information for the police.
- Place a fraud alert on all three credit reports and request your free copy of your credit reports, due to identity theft. Please refer to ITRC Solution 3 – Contacting the CRA’s to Place a Fraud Alert.
- DO NOT PAY ANYTHING to the collection agency. Payment will be interpreted that you are taking responsibility for the debt.
- Call the collection agency and talk to their fraud department. Explain that you are a victim of identity theft. Never use the words “I want to dispute this account”. You want to get an address to send a fraud affidavit packet.
- Write to the collection agencies within 30 days. Send them a copy of ITRC Letter Form 116 along with the necessary documents. Request a Letter of Clearance from the collection agency.
- Send everything Certified Mail Return Receipt. Do not fax them. This way you will have proof they received your documents because you will get back a postcard with their signature on it.
Under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the collection agency must stop all collection activity during the investigation. They cannot sell, trade, give away, donate, or loan this account to another collection agency.
Keep a record of everyone you speak to over the phone. In addition, keep all paperwork you receive and make copies of everything you send out.
ITRC Fact Sheet 116 – Collection Agencies and Identity Theft
ITRC Fact Sheet 116A – Your Debt Collection Rights
ITRC Letter Form 100-2 – Confirmation of Conversation – Letter of Clearance
This Solution should not be used in lieu of legal advice. Any requests to reproduce this material, other than by individual victims or their own use, should be directed to ITRC@idtheftcenter.org .
Copyright 2009, Identity Theft Resource Center ®, Created by the ITRC staff