Author Topic: Fraud Collection Account  (Read 1156 times)

Ankenystache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Fraud Collection Account
« on: May 15, 2021, 09:06:30 PM »
Hey guys, I have quite a doozy. I have never had this happen before, but somehow my wife has an account that shows up on credit karma as a collection account. I have disputed the account with Transunion and Equifax as of today. From what I gather, it is from a US Cellular account, in which case she has never had US Cellular, only Sprint and Verizon. We have been together since 16 years old so I can say for certain that nothing is being hidden lol.

Other than disputing it with the credit agencies, should I contact the debt collectors? I am not sure if disputing it on the credit report will do that for me. We have never seen any bill of any type for this account so it is really weird to us.

Any particular do's and dont's when it comes to these things? All in all, I don't believe hiring an attorney would be beneficial as it would cost more to just pay the debt, but its the principal of the matter that has me torqued.

Thanks again for any and all help.

IslandFiGirl

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 153
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2021, 09:10:59 PM »
I had a similar situation. I disputed the account with the credit reporting companies and that's literally all I had to do.  They removed it right away.  I think I just said it was not my account and I didn't have any knowledge of it.  My credit score went up within a week or 2 if I remember right.

Ankenystache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2021, 09:15:47 PM »
IslandFiGirl, Thanks, thats what I am hoping happens. Being almost debt free, I dont see a need for much credit, but also don't want headaches later on.

SwordGuy

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8098
  • Location: Fayetteville, NC
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2021, 09:27:19 PM »
I've disputed a few things.   Some got removed, some didn't.

I then re-disputed those that didn't, only this time I said it was fraud instead of incorrect.

That got better results.

Your mileage may vary.

AccidentialMustache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 511
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2021, 09:46:11 PM »
Don't expect collections reporting to be super accurate. A close name match in the same general vicinity can be enough to get someone else's collections account dumped in your credit report. We have a friend who had that issue a lot before she got married -- she had a nearby bad-with-money name doppleganger. She was happy to change her name. That it also solved the credit report problem was gravy.

Finances_With_Purpose

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 947
    • Finances With Purpose: deploying resources wisely to live vigorously
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #5 on: May 16, 2021, 12:54:50 AM »
Don't expect collections reporting to be super accurate. A close name match in the same general vicinity can be enough to get someone else's collections account dumped in your credit report. We have a friend who had that issue a lot before she got married -- she had a nearby bad-with-money name doppleganger. She was happy to change her name. That it also solved the credit report problem was gravy.

This.  It may well go away easily.  It's surprising how little people actually check their reports, especially unless they're already in the process of buying a car, house, etc. on debt.  And it's also surprisingly easy to get mis-listed with someone else's debt. 

Rdy2Fire

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 338
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #6 on: May 17, 2021, 11:43:00 AM »
I'm curious what happens with this, my experience was credit reporting companies were kind of useless.

I actually had a credit card that was open (not by me) and closed legitimately (by me) then like 6 months later the credit card company told me there was a balance of like $40 but I had never used the card. I contacted them, everything seemed ok, they told me my account was closed, no balance. Years later, I obviously don't check my credit (it was A+), on my credit report, was 50 months of them reporting this as delinquent. It took my credit from 830 to 690 over time and I wasn't even aware. Credit bureau did nothing and the CC company told me I now owed them over $325.

Good luck

TMB

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 5
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #7 on: May 18, 2021, 07:36:14 PM »
FYI for credit reporting issues, assuming good facts, you can often get attorneys to represent you contingently (though that route generally requires a lawsuit which may or may not be worth it). 

Generally I'd try disputing by sending letters with documentation to the credit agencies.  If that doesn't resolve it (sometimes yes, often no) then you may want to look into obtaining counsel.

Also, if you just pay the debt, it likely will help your score, but the score will still be negative unless you negotiate a settlement where as part of the agreement they remove the negative reporting.

Ankenystache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2021, 05:44:23 PM »
Update:

I reported the accounts as fraud on TransUnion, Equifax, Experian.
Transunion closed the dispute in 2 days and told me the company verified the debt was mine. Funny how that is since I know its not lol. So now I am sending a certified letter to the company to ask for their documents that show how this is mine.

Once I recieve these documents what would my next course of action be? Do I contact the original creditor (US Cellular)?

For all its worth, we dont use credit, already own a home, cars paid off and buy them with cash. I could let this just ride, but at the same time I don't want a mark for something that I didn't do.

Thanks again for any and all advice.

Zamboni

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2974
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #9 on: May 20, 2021, 09:18:51 PM »
It sounds like you have a solid plan: you need to communicate with them only in writing and mail things registered mail.

Also, if you are not really using your credit score for anything, why not put a fraud alert on and a credit freeze on at all of the agencies? You can take it off in the future if you ever need to.

Debt collectors are assholes. A couple times I've had someone calling me about something I don't know anything about, and they are extremely rude and obnoxious. Inform everyone involved in writing that you dispute the charges because you never had that account, and that if it is in your name then it must have been opened fraudulently. Written letters in the good old mail seem to work better than anything else, especially when sent via FedEx or registered mail. What a pain, though. Good luck!

lutorm

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 377
  • Location: A large island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2021, 12:25:10 AM »
This is a good read on this subject.

Ankenystache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2021, 07:40:07 PM »
Zamboni, I have put a freeze on the spouses and my credit report since last Dec. but this just popped up. I am guessing because they say its past debt and not a new inquiry?

Anyways, I sent out the letter certified mail today, dated the letter, and am saving copies of everything I send and receive.

Hypothetically, if they send back documents that show someone opened up a fraud account with our information, what would our next steps be? I would believe a police report is in order, then presenting that to the original creditor. If that doesn't work I may reach out to state attorney general, but would taking this matter to small claims court be beneficial?

Thanks again for all your help on this matter.

Zamboni

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2974
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2021, 06:50:56 AM »
@lutorm 's linked read has everything you need to resolve this.

Just be professional, write those letters, and keep and organized paper trail and notes with the names and dates of anyone you happened to talk with on the phone. The phone is really not your friend, though . . . letters are. Email can work sometimes and does create some sort of paper trail, but only if it actually goes to someone with an obligation or inclination to resolve you issue. Letters through the postal service are much, much better. Send bland letters first that include the relevant facts only (dates, amounts, account numbers, etc), the then kick those up the food chain in a month or two. Unfortunately it will likely take a couple of months, so be patient. Trying to go up the food chain too fast might not work, but if two months has gone by since your first letter, then persistent additional letters to higher ups will probably do the trick. You probably should contact US Cellular along the way as an initial written documentation to make sure they are informed that an account was fraudulently opened.

I've had the letter and then escalation strategy work multiple times with multiple banks who weren't doing what they should be doing. In the most recent one, I followed up 60 days into the process by attaching pdf copies of my letters to a brief and friendly email to a CEO of a gigantic bank. I was able to correctly guess his email address, which I think is funny, but corporate email addresses often aren't difficult to guess if you have email addresses of other specific people at the same company.

It was a short email, and opened by thanking him for a recent large donation to a nonprofit I work for (news I found when searching for his address online). During my googling, I also found out that he hadn't had his new job for very long, so here is the opening of the short but key middle paragraph of my email:

"Trust is the very foundation of the banking system. Customers trust the company you lead to handle their money and transaction properly and promptly. I am cc’ing you on a letter outlining a case in which that trust has been violated because I think it is particularly important for leaders in new positions to understand . . . yadda yadda yadda" I then ended it with "Thank you for your consideration, and please let me know if you have any questions or need more information.
With kind regards, Zamboni"

This was for a mistake a bank made to the tune of $3800. They had been "investigating" for the past two months. I sent a couple of letters and tried the phone route several times, and each time just sent me an infuriating form letter concluding that they had acted properly and didn't owe me $3800. So, I sent that email with the attached letters to the CEO in the morning and was contacted by someone that very afternoon who was suddenly urgent and efficient and extremely polite and she had the matter resolved entirely by FedExing me a check that I received two days later. It's likely that the CEO never even saw my email. But someone who wants to keep his hot breath off their neck screens his email, and they made sure it got resolved so fast that I wouldn't follow up with him again.

Good luck with it all. What a pain! But you can do it!

Loren Ver

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 803
  • Location: Midwest USA
  • I Retired. Yah!
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #13 on: May 25, 2021, 03:39:31 PM »
Zamboni- that is the awesome :)

lutorm

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 377
  • Location: A large island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2021, 12:37:22 AM »
Yeah there are some choice passages in patio11's article. I particularly like the part about
Quote
... you want to communicate with the bank in a manner which suggests that you’re an organized professional who is capable of escalating the matter if the bank does not handle it themselves. You do not yell – not that you’re ever verbally speaking with anyone, but you wouldn’t yell in a letter, either. You do not bluster. ... You instead present as if you’re collecting a paper trail.

Mean words cannot hurt a bank. Threats cannot hurt a bank. Paper trails, though, are terrifying to regulated institutions. ...  Shockingly senior people will be involved to avert regulatory incidents.

What causes a regulatory incident? ... The thing which causes regulatory incidents is well-organized people taking paper trails to regulators which allow a regulator to trivially follow up with an investigatory letter. Accordingly, anyone who sounds like a well-organized professional with a paper trail is a problem to be swiftly addressed.

That, dear reader, can be you.

Ankenystache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 43
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2021, 06:29:19 PM »
Hey Guys,
Just wanted to say thanks. After sending the certified letter to get proof of debt, it was pretty cut and dry as the information didn't line up. They had used the wifes old last name even though it was legally changed after we got married a year before this account was opened. As of last week I noticed that the collection account is no longer being reported or shown on any credit report.
I do believe being the type of person that looks professional helped out on this one because I wouldn't respond to phone calls about this debt, I told them I need it in writing.

Zamboni

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2974
Re: Fraud Collection Account
« Reply #16 on: June 16, 2021, 09:36:07 PM »
Great job, and thank you for the update!