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Victims of identity theft who get calls from debt collectors should:
1. If you get a call from a debt collector for fraudulent bills and/or accounts, ask for the collector's name, address, phone number, and details about the debt (account numbers, dates, amount billed). Ask to speak to a fraud investigator or supervisor.
2. Calmly explain the case of identity theft and ask for details about information needed to support your claim. Ask for a written statement of your telephone conversation.
3. Write a follow-up letter to report your case and send documentation reporting identity theft (police report, Federal Trade Commission [FTC] affidavit, etc.).
4. If you haven't taken steps to report identity theft to the police, the credit bureau, and the FTC, do so. Follow FTC steps to take when you've had your identity stolen.
5. The debt collector is required by law to notify the creditor that you've been the victim of identity theft, but you should also call the creditor and speak to the fraud department. Explain the situation and request copies your account transactions. Find out how to remove the account from your name. Request a written confirmation that your account has been closed, you do not owe the debt due to identity theft, and that they have contacted the credit bureau to delete the record.
6. If you fail to resolve the case, contact the debt collector's manager, creditor's manager, the American Collectors Association, the Better Business Bureau in your area, the FTC, or the Attorney General. In an extreme situation, you may need to contact an identity theft attorney.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|