Stopping collections and credit reporting of fraudulent accounts can be a difficult and time-consuming process. There are steps you can take however to protect your credit reports and prevent lawsuits against you for debt you don’t owe. Follow these ten essential tips to simplify the process of creating and using an effective Identity Theft Report that permanently stops the fraudulent collections and removes them from your credit reports.
Tip No.1: File a Police Report with your Identity Theft Report
Filing a Police Report is a crucial part of the process. Many creditors, collection agencies, credit bureaus, and collection attorneys will disregard your claim of identity theft if you don’t file a police report. Some police departments won’t allow you to file a police report in identity theft or credit fraud situations but be persistent and polite. If that doesn’t work contact an attorney to help you file the report.
Tip No. 2: Include all required documentation in your Identity Theft Report
Your Identity Theft Report must be a complete package to assure the collection agencies stop trying to collect fraudulent debt. The credit reporting agencies also require you to prove you are a victim of fraud but also that you are actually you and live where you claim to reside. They also require you to swear under oath you had nothing to do with the theft, did not authorize the transactions at issue, and did not benefit from the theft. Proving these elements requires you to include all of the following documents:
- Identity Theft Affidavit
- Police Report
- Proof of your identity
- Proof of your residency
Tip No. 3: Tell the truth
You are signing your Identity Theft Affidavit and Police Report under oath and penalty of perjury. Obviously, that means you must be truthful in your answers. If you lie or try to obscure the truth you could be criminally prosecuted. Don’t take the risk. Tell the truth.
Tip No. 4: Don’t leave out fraudulent debts
Some debt collectors won’t actively collect from you but still might be out there waiting to pounce. Your credit reports will contain many those accounts. Credit reports are notoriously inaccurate though so be sure to check all three (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) to get the most accurate and up-to-date information. Don’t rely on just one credit report to find all of the fraudulent accounts.
Tip No. 5: Have your Identity Theft Affidavit notarized
A proper Identity Theft Affidavit should be notarized. That forecloses collection agencies and debt collection attorneys from arguing you owe the debt. Once you sign the Affidavit they simply cannot claim you owe the debt. Of course this assumes you use the correct Identity Theft Affidavit with the correct information so be sure to use our free Identity Theft Affidavit so nothing is missing.
Tip No. 6: Identify the perpetrator
Some victims of identity theft won’t know who stole their identity. In many cases the victims do know who stole their identity. If you can identify the thief and you are willing to prosecute that person you should identify them to the police, collection agencies, credit bureaus, and creditors. It will go a long way to proving your own innocence if you can identify the perpetrator. If that person is a loved one and you don’t want them prosecuted you should contact an attorney to see how to protect them but still complete your Identity Theft Report properly.
Tip No. 7: Mail your Identity Theft Report by certified mail
Do not submit your Identity Theft Report online. It should always be mailed by certified mail. That allows you to prove the creditors, debt collectors, and credit bureaus all received your entire Report. You don’t need them to sign for the report however. Just use certified mail with Internet tracking and you can prove the exact date they received your Report.
Tip No. 8: Never use credit repair agencies or so-called “credit repair law firms”
Credit repair companies and credit repair law firms are mostly scams. It is that simple. They do not have your best interests in mind and they prove that fact by billing you monthly and sending out ineffective disputes containing false information and fraudulently requesting deletions of accurate information. These scammers are effective in marketing their services and pretending to be something they are not but they are not effective at stopping identity theft debt collections or credit reporting.
Tip No. 9: Include additional documentation if possible
If you have additional documentation that bolsters your claims of fraud include it with your Identity Theft Report. More information may help the credit bureaus and collectors to assess your claims properly. Be careful though. Don’t provide them documentation that creates confusion or might implicate you in the fraud. You want to be truthful but also keep their investigation as simple as possible.
Tip No. 10: Be persistent
The best debt collection litigation attorneys can stop identity theft credit reporting and fraudulent debt collections in as little as a week. Most people however, need more time. If you do it yourself you will likely need a couple of months. It is not uncommon to require multiple attempts before all of the collection agencies, credit bureaus, and collection attorneys get the hint. Being persistent is the key. If your first attempts don’t work, keep trying. If it sounds daunting to engage in multiple attempts to stop the fraudulent credit reporting and collection attempts, consult with a true debt collection litigation attorney to help.
Clearing up your credit and stopping debt collections of fraudulent accounts can be time-consuming, confusing, and frustrating. It can also be risky as you must swear under oath and penalty of perjury you had nothing to do with the fraud, did not authorize the fraud, and did not benefit from fraudulent the charges.
Following these ten essential tips to creating and using an effective Identity Theft Report will get you most of the way. If you are still confused or just want to save time the best debt collection litigation attorneys can help you through this process.