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Can I fight a debt that wasn’t mine?

It can be difficult to make ends meet each month without the added stress of extra debt. You might be juggling credit card bills, medical payments and student loan debt, which can make it especially frustrating if you start receiving mail and phone calls for something you didn’t spend money on. Should you be forced to endure creditor harassment or make payments on a debt that isn’t yours? This is not an uncommon occurrence for residents of Ohio and elsewhere, so you may be interested in learning how to deal with this issue.

According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, consumers are protected by law from creditors harassing them or wrongfully claiming they owe money. You might be getting bills for an unfamiliar debt because you have the same name or lived at the same address as someone else, or you might have been the target of identity theft. It is also possible creditors are attempting to collect a deceased family member’s debt and hoping you will pay, rather than contest the charges.

The following steps can help you dispute a wrongful debt:

  • Regularly check your credit report, since discrepancies are common.
  • Get the debt collector’s company, address, name and contact information, as well as details in writing of the debt in question.
  • Do not give a debt collector personal information.
  • Send the creditor a letter by U.S. mail explaining your reasons that the debt may be false.

If you are dealing with repeated phone calls and collection notices demanding you pay a debt that isn’t yours, it is important to address the problem, rather than disregard the inconvenience. Otherwise, your credit score could be negatively impacted.

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