What can I do if a debt collector contacts me about a debt I already paid or don't think I owe? | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2024)

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What can I do if a debt collector contacts me about a debt I already paid or don't think I owe? | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (2024)

FAQs

What can I do if a debt collector contacts me about a debt I already paid or don't think I owe? | Consumer Financial Protection Bureau? ›

If you believe you already paid the debt, do not owe the debt, the amount is incorrect, or that it's not even your debt, you may send a written request to the debt collector to dispute the debt or receive more information.

Why is a debt collector contacting me but nothing on my credit report? ›

Some accounts go to “pre-collections” when they're only one or two months past due. During this period, you may get calls or letters about the debt even though it's not on your credit report yet.

Can you dispute a debt if it was sold to a collection agency? ›

Can you dispute a debt if it was sold to a collection agency? Your rights are the same as if you were dealing with the original creditor. If you do not believe you should pay the debt, for example, if a debt is stature barred or prescribed, then you can dispute the debt.

Why is a debt collector calling me when I have no debt? ›

It is not uncommon today for people to be pursued by debt collectors for money they don't owe. This occurs for several reasons: the original creditor may have made an accounting error, you may be a victim of identity theft, or the creditor may have found the wrong person with a similar name.

How do I dispute a debt that has been paid? ›

You should dispute a debt in writing if:
  1. You do not owe the debt;
  2. You already paid the debt;
  3. You want more information about the debt; or.
  4. You want the debt collector to stop contacting you or to limit its contact with you.

What if a debt collector calls after I paid? ›

What can I do if a debt collector contacts me about a debt I already paid or don't think I owe? If you believe you already paid the debt, do not owe the debt, the amount is incorrect, or that it's not even your debt, you may send a written request to the debt collector to dispute the debt or receive more information.

How do you outsmart a debt collector? ›

You can outsmart debt collectors by following these tips:
  1. Keep a record of all communication with debt collectors.
  2. Send a Debt Validation Letter and force them to verify your debt.
  3. Write a cease and desist letter.
  4. Explain the debt is not legitimate.
  5. Review your credit reports.
  6. Explain that you cannot afford to pay.
Mar 11, 2024

What if a debt collector contacted me about a debt I already paid? ›

Check Your Credit Report

Since the debt collector's calling you about a paid debt, it's a good idea to check whether they've incorrectly reported the debt to the credit bureaus. Dispute with the credit bureaus if the collector is reporting an unpaid balance on your credit report.

What is the 609 loophole? ›

Specifically, section 609 of the FCRA gives you the authority to request detailed information about items on your credit report. If the credit reporting agencies can't substantiate a claim on your credit report, they must remove it or correct it.

Do I have to pay a debt if it has been sold? ›

Unpaid debt doesn't go away. Until the debt is either paid or forgiven, you still owe the money. This is true even if it's a credit card debt that is sold to a collection agency and even if you think it's unfair.

What happens if you tell a debt collector to stop contacting you? ›

Stopping communication with a debt collector doesn't make the debt go away. In fact, they may find alternative ways to collect it from you. For example, they can file a lawsuit against you or report negative information to a credit reporting company, although that won't always happen.

What not to tell a debt collector? ›

Don't provide personal or sensitive financial information

Never give out or confirm personal or sensitive financial information – such as your bank account, credit card, or full Social Security number – unless you know the company or person you are talking with is a real debt collector.

What is the 11 word phrase to stop debt collectors? ›

If you are struggling with debt and debt collectors, Farmer & Morris Law, PLLC can help. As soon as you use the 11-word phrase “please cease and desist all calls and contact with me immediately” to stop the harassment, call us for a free consultation about what you can do to resolve your debt problems for good.

How long before a debt becomes uncollectible? ›

Statute of limitations on debt for all states
StateWrittenOral
California4 years2
Colorado6 years6
Connecticut6 years3
Delaware3 years3
46 more rows
Jul 19, 2023

How to fight a false debt collection? ›

Here are a few suggestions that might work in your favor:
  1. Write a letter disputing the debt. You have 30 days after receiving a collection notice to dispute a debt in writing. ...
  2. Dispute the debt on your credit report. ...
  3. Lodge a complaint. ...
  4. Respond to a lawsuit. ...
  5. Hire an attorney.

How to get out of collections without paying? ›

You cannot remove collections from your credit report without paying if the information is accurate, but a collection account will fall off your credit report after 7 years whether you pay the balance or not.

Why is a collection not showing on my credit report? ›

Your creditor may not have reported the information. Creditors are not required to report information to the credit reporting companies. In addition, most negative information is not reported after seven years.

Do some debt collectors not report to credit bureaus? ›

Although the collection agency may not report the unpaid debt to the three nationwide consumer reporting agencies—Equifax, TransUnion and Experian — it is a good idea to check your credit reports.

Can a debt collector report to credit bureau without notifying you? ›

Effective November 30, 2021, an amendment to Regulation F, which implements the FDCPA, says that a debt collector can't report a debt to the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion, before first contacting the consumer.

What if a collection is not mine on my credit report? ›

Tell the credit reporting company, in writing, what information you think is inaccurate. Include copies, not originals of documents that support your position. Clearly identify each item in your report that you dispute. You can do this on each company's website at Experian.com, Transunion.com and Equifax.com.

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