ITRC Solution 4
Follow these steps when clearing your name with a collection agency:
- If you received a phone call from a 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 to them that this is a case of identity theft.
- File an identity theft police report with local law enforcement. 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 SN 03 – Contacting the CRA’s to Place a Fraud Alert.
- Do not pay anything to the collection agency. Payment may be interpreted as you taking responsibility for the debt.
- Call the collection agency and talk to their fraud department. Explain that you are a victim of identity theft and avoid using the phrase “I want to dispute this account,” as this may be interpreted as you admitting that the account is yours and not that it was fraudulently created by an imposter. You will want to ask for an address to send a fraud affidavit packet.
- Write to the collection agencies within 30 days. Send them a copy of ITRC Letter Form LF 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 receive a postcard with their signature indicating they received your mail.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.