Are You A Victim of Identity Theft – What to Do

Are you currently a Victim of Identity Theft?

What To do Now if You’ve A Victim of Identity Theft

 

If you’ve ever been a victim and had your identity stolen, you know the frustration and stress, not to mention fear experienced after someone assumes your identity. Here are some actions to take after your identity has been stolen in order to re-establish yourself in the credit world.

1. Get a copy of your credit report. Doing so will aid you in determining which creditors have been contacted by the imposter rather than yourself. Once you have your credit report, you can begin the process of contacting those creditors to alert them to the fact your identity has been stolen and misrepresented at their business.

* RICHMAMA TIP: Even if your identity hasn’t been stolen, it’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report annually to check it over and ensure there are no creditors listed that you haven’t had contact with.

* Get it for Free – You’re entitled to a free credit report yearly from the three major consumer reporting companies, which you can request through the Annual Credit Report website or by calling 1-877-322-8228.

Prove You’re a Victim of Identity Theft – Keep Good Records

2. Start a file. Compile all your information pertaining to the identity theft incident(s). Place originals and copies of all necessary documents in your file.

* When you do telephone anyone regarding your identity theft, record the company name, the name of the staff you spoke with, the date and time you spoke to them, and what was said to keep it in your file.

* In the event you have to mail someone one of the reports or documents, ensure you hang on to the original and mail copies only. Keep the  originals in case you need them.

* You’ll be surprised at how often you’ll be required to recollect specific facts related to your case. Your file will come in handy more than once.

3. Put a fraud alert on your credit reports. The purpose of this action is to alert all of your creditors that someone other than yourself has received credit in your name. To place a fraud alert on your credit reports, call any of the three major credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian or TransUnion) to let them know.

If You’re a Victim of Identity Theft – Call the Police

 

4. File a police report. When you’re contacting the companies who’ve been defrauded by someone using your name, the companies will request either a copy of the police report or the police report’s identification number. For your records, it’s wise to obtain and keep a copy of the police report so when you need this info, you already have it in hand.

5. Close those Accounts- Closing those accounts will make them off-limits for the identity thief to further access. Plus, because of your contact, those businesses will know your identity has, in fact, been stolen.

* If possible, insist on using PIN- and password-protected accounts to protect your information in the future. Avoid using security questions with answers that are easily obtained (such as your phone number or address).

* The Federal Trade Commission, or FTC, advises that you follow up on all contacts regarding your identity theft in writing. In some cases, the FTC suggests you mail your follow-up letters by certified mail with a return receipt requested for your document file.

6. File a complaint. The FTC also recommends that victims of identity theft contact the FTC website (ftc.gov/idtheft) to file a complaint. Then, law enforcement agencies can work in tandem to catch the people stealing identities.

7. Stay on top of the situation. Be hyper-vigilant about your credit accounts. Keep track of all incoming billing statements. In the event you believe your name or accounts have been misused, respond immediately by making calls, closing accounts and doing whatever is necessary to protect yourself.

If someone steals your identity, take action by completing the above steps. Being knowledgeable and alert will help you guard against future attempts to misuse your identity. Identity theft is no laughing matter but it doesn’t have to be the end of the world.

Your Questions About How To Pay Off Debt Collection Agencies

Robert asks…

If a debt has been charged off, how much are you obligated to pay the debt collection agency?

Minor debt I forgot about – moved, and obviously never got the statements so I forgot about it and never paid it.

Any way just checked my credit report, the original creditor charged off the debt for $120, but they sold it to a collection agency, who is asking 219$.

What, if anything, am I obligated to pay the collection agency?

richmama answers:

You may owe nothing depending upon your state statute of limitations and the type of debt.

If the debt is time barred, then they can not seek legal action to collect.
If it is NOT time barred, then simply offer them a pay off figure and include a “pay for deletion” from your credit report. Get it in writing before you make any payments.
Try negotiating with them.

In most cases, they purchased the debt for pennies on the dollar.
The amount that companies pay for bad debt depends on the type of account and its age. In general Debts that have recently been charged off: 6 to 7 cents on the dollar. Accounts that are slightly older and on which a collection agency or two has already taken a whack: 1.5 cents to 2 cents on the dollar. Years-old, out-of-statute debts: A penny or less.
A growing number of companies are discovering that these very old accounts, once thought to be noncollectable, are just the opposite. Squeezing even a small payment from these debtors can make collection activities worthwhile.

You will not be able to get the original creditors charge off removed from your credit report, the damage has already been done. Under Running of Reporting Period – Section 605 [15 U.S.C. § 1681c] this will have to remain on your credit report for seven years. The time runs from the date of the delinquency, plus 180 days.

Example: If a payment was due on an account on January 1, 2000, but the debtor defaulted, and never caught up to become current again, and the account is eventually declared a charge-off by the creditor, then the seven year reporting time limit starts running on July 1, 2000, with the item scheduled to expire from his/her credit reports on July 1, 2007.
Here is a link to find your state statute of limitations
http://www.bcsalliance.com/statute_of_limitations_on_debt.html

Hope this answer is of help to you
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The answer provided here is intended for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor presumed to be legal counsel or professional legal advice

Nancy asks…

How do I go about asking the collection agencies to pay off my debt?

I only want to pay pennies to dollars. Think about it, I am willing to pay but not all those fees added or could there be a simple way of asking to pay off a debt cheaper than what they want?? For example my phone bill went to the collection agency 3 years ago They want $500 (I initially only owe $290) I am willing to pay $300.Any clever way of asking to reduce my debt??

richmama answers:

Actually, a 3 year old phone bill could probably be settled for a lot less than $300.

Send the collection agency a letter. Be very careful not to acknowledge the debt (you could reset the Statute of Limitations (SOL), the timeframe to bring lawsuit). Literally say “this is not an acknowledgment of this debt”.

Indicate that you would like to expedite removal of this derogatory item on your credit report and are willing to pay $125 if they will delete the item from your credit report.

If this settlement is acceptable, have an authorized agent of the collection agency sign and return of copy of the letter to you. Upon receipt of their acceptance, you will send payment.

They may give you a counter offer. Just make sure you have a written agreement before you pay. Do not give them direct access to your bank account.

The older the debt, the more likely you an settle for less. If the forgiven portion of the debt is $600 or more, you may get a 1099 and have to pay income taxes on the forgiven portion.

Ken asks…

Is it to my advantage to pay a collection agencies on a debt that a credit card charges it off as bad debt?

I ignored a huge balance on a credit card and finally decided to face the music by checking out my credit report. It showed that the debt was “charged off as bad debt” and it’s listed two other times by two seperate collection agencies on my credit report. I’m confused on how I should proceed to settle this. I do owe the money but I dont know who I should pay and how do I get it removed once it is paid. And what do I do about two collection agencies listing it?

richmama answers:

If they sold the debt to a collection agency, the collection agency has the right to collect it. The credit card company has been paid already by the collection agency.

Linda asks…

How do I contact the collection agencies to negotiate and pay off debt?

richmama answers:

DO NOT PAY OFF COLLECTION AGENCIES.

The reason being is that the original creditor as allready written your debt off as bad and sold it to the collection company. The in turn contact you and offer some bogus settlement. The damage to your credit is done and will not be reversed unless you get that in writing from the creditor. It will be listed on your report as debt settled/paid by debtor but it wont help.

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