Question: Please help. I received a letter from a collection agency for a credit card account that I believe was fraudulently opened using my name and a stale bank account I once owned prior to my marriage. I found out about the credit card only when I received a communication from this forgotten bank charging me for a bank account that now had a zero balance.
When I went to the bank, I discovered that a minimum payment had been paid for 12 years on an account I never used. I closed the account, attempted to contact the creditor to tell them the account was not mine. I gave them my current address and information and even though no charges were made on this account and they were collecting late fees and non-usage fees on the account for years, they are trying to collect an additional 700.00 for an account I never used and whoever opened it, only used it for a few months back in THE 1980′S !!
I asked for debt validation and all they did was provide a credit card statement with the 700.00 on it and my old address that I had provided to them. I specifically asked for a signed credit application, a detailed accounting of the charges and they have only responded by providing the statement. This is not fair, this account was created fraudulently. I filed a dispute with Equifax and they seem to be accepting the statements as proof. What do I do now????? Please email me.
Answer: While you can and should request solid documents proving you owe a debt such as an original contract, the FDCPA in and of itself does not require debt collectors to provide such. Read the article “What Constitutes Proper Debt Validation” and you will get a better understanding that consumers must be prepared to seek legal action; and, in a court of law, debt collectors must provide solid proof such as the original contract.
Unfortunately most consumers do not seek legal remedies to protect their rights because if they did, they would find most debt collectors will drop the matter immediately because they have no proof.
What I do not understand is why you are seeking debt validation in a matter that is clearly fraud. If what you say is true, you are dealing with identity theft. Identity theft matters should be handled differently.
When identity theft and fraud is discovered, it should be reported. It is a crime! Reporting identity theft is not required by victims but having a police report certainly helps in getting negative accounts removed from credit reports as a result of that fraud.
Police reports put pressure on the creditors, collection agencies and credit bureaus to delete negative items. By law, companies must give you a copy of the application or other business transaction records relating to your identity theft if you submit your request in writing, accompanied by a police report.
The Federal Trade Commission which governs the Fair Credit Reporting Act as well as the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act provides an Identity Theft Report. This form can help you get the negative information removed from your credit reports.
According to the FTC:
“…If the company has already reported these unauthorized accounts or debts on your credit report, an Identity Theft Report will require them to stop reporting that fraudulent information.”
More information can be found here regarding the FTC’s Identity Theft Report and how it works. Once you get the ball rolling with filling out an Identity Theft Report Affidavit with the FTC and filing a police report you have the ammunition needed to successfully dispute the collection agency.
In some instances a collection agency may require you complete their in-house Identity Theft Affidavit or have additional requirements. Nevertheless, start with the FTC’s Identity Theft Report along with filing a police report, this should be sufficient. The best of luck to you.