Don't Ignore Debt Collectors -- But Don't Pay Them, Either (If You Don't Owe)


So what should you do if you're contacted about a debt you don't owe? Pay it? NO. Ignore it? No again. Here's a better battle plan:

Write a letter. Send it to the debt collector stating that you do not believe the debt is yours and demanding proof. Send it certified so you have a paper trail. Here are several sample letters created by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau that get the wording right for you.

Check your credit report. If you are wrongfully pursued by a debt buyer, you should get a copy of your credit report to find out whether the debt buyer has reported the debt to the credit reporting agencies. To obtain your free credit report, go to the FREE website mandated by Congress:

Answer lawsuits. If a debt buyer goes so far as to sue you over a debt you don't owe, don't ignore the lawsuit. Instead, be sure to file an answer with the court. You may be able to do this yourself if you can't afford an attorney. Alternatively, contact the National Association of Consumer Advocates, a group made up of consumers lawyers, for help finding a low- or no-cost attorney.

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