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Collections Notice!!!

April 19th, 2007 at 07:27 am

TB and I have never missed a payment on anything. It has been tight and money has had to be shuffled, but we have never once been late paying. As a result, we have never had to deal with a collection agency. Until yesterday.

Imagine my surprise when I open up the mail to see a collections letter in regards to a disconnected GTE Southwest phone in my husband's name. The account has been moved to a collection agency and is no longer with GTE but the phone number listed is in area code 903, which TB and I don't even live in. They're saying there is a balance due of $228.52.

Now, I am not trying to say anything mean about anybody in my husband's family...but I really think that this is not just some sort of collection agency scam...since they do list the original creditor and the phone number. I think this is one of his mom's old phone numbers (she does live in that area code and prefix where the number was). So, that means that somebody in his family (his mother, more than likely) used TB's name to open up a phone account. Of course, this has gotten us upset because it's identity theft.

So, I am drafting a letter today (got a good sample from a website) and am going to send it to the collections agency, return receipt requested and certified. This is just a big pain in the butt and I am annoyed that somebody would get a phone in his name. At any rate, we have to take the time to make sure that this doesn't wind up on his credit report and go through a big hassle.

I am going to wait the 30 days they are allocated by the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act for them to provide verification of the debt before we say anything to his family about it. And I hope they don't think for one minute that we won't claim it is identity theft.

So, what would you do in this situation? Am I overreacting?

12 Responses to “Collections Notice!!!”

  1. daylily Says:

    Sticky situation. What does your husband think about this. Does he think it is his mother? I'd have him get in contact with her pronto.

  2. Elly Says:

    He's upset about it too...but honestly, I haven't even seen him to really discuss it fully since we got the letter. That will happen tonight, hopefully. We both think it is his mother. Also, I called his sister and asked her if she recognized the number and she said she thought it was one of their mother's old numbers.

    Either way, to keep it off of his credit report we are going to have to say it was a fraudulent account, right?

  3. JanH Says:

    My DIL's mom opened credit card accounts in her name and didn't pay them. Left her with the mess. She had to do a police report I think and notify each account in writing. What a mess. I think she had to file a fraud alert of some kind to keep her mom from doing it again. I know it messed up her credit. I never asked her what it did to her credit report. Maybe that is something she needs to look into. Thanks for the idea. I'm so sorry this has happened to you!

  4. moi aussi Says:

    That stinks! I hope you sort it all out soon.

  5. newlyfrugal Says:

    You are definitely not overreacting and are doing the right thing. I have no idea how to proceed other than what you are already doing since it is a phone bill and not a credit card, but I will be keeping you in my thoughts. Try not to stress too badly, things will work out in the end!

  6. Ima saver Says:

    I would be very upset too!

  7. ladymiller Says:

    Wow...this is terrible for you. I hope it works out. Please keep us posted.

  8. Fern Says:

    You're not over-reacting..family has no special privilege to commit ID theft.

    I would just act as though you believe it's ID theft and proceed as you have done to pursue it.

  9. boomeyers Says:

    My friends husbands mother would do this all the time to them. Her DH would go to mom, chastise her and they would end up paying the bill to keep it off their records. Finally, it got so bad and he would'nt force the issue with his dear mother, that my friend went to her, told she was going to have to face up, stop using their credit and they put her on a repayment plan to THEM for all the money she wasted. I think she also put a note in their credit report that said proof of identity must be given in order to obtain credit. It is a bigger hassle for her and her husband, but keeps the MIL out of their credit.

  10. fairy74 Says:

    No you are not overacting. Make sure when notifying the credit agencies in addtion to verifying information (which I assume his mom knows) to verify the sex of the ordering or purchasing party. I think it's important that DH let his mom know about it and ask her to pay for the charges. Also make it quite clear that you have alerted the credit bureaus, in case she decides to try something like this again....

  11. nance Says:

    The collection agency scenario happened to my son-in-law. His brother, who had once filed bankruptcy, used SIL's Social Security number to get a loan and then defaulted on the loan. They came after SIL. The brother denied it, but then confessed. It was very difficult getting the credit report straightened out. When this happens, it is often a family member, which is very sad. Good luck getting it worked out, and I would definitely confront DH's mother.

  12. AJ Says:

    HI Elly,
    Wow, this is bad news. Several things. To begin with I would contact the phone company and ask to see the actual paperwork concerning the phone.
    Someone at the phone company spoke on the telephone or in person with whoever opened the account there should be some kind of paper evidence.
    Elly, neither one of you are to pay this bill even if it is your mother in law who did this.
    It is fraud plain and simple. When dealing with any of the credit bureaus it is important to sent all letters by certified mail. This makes it easy to see that the agency acted within the 30 days as required by federal law.
    I hope everything works out okay for you both.
    AJ

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