Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Q&A: NCO Re-aged Collection Debt on Credit Report/International Identity Theft


I found your info by googling NCO Collection Agency.

I am a United States citizen living in Canada.  I moved here in Dec. 2002 and would visit home every few months as my parents were both ill and were both deceased in just over three years.  There is a collection account on my credit report that I didn't recognize at first.  I injured myself in the 3rd week of January 2006.  My father died on Jan. 28, 2006 and it honestly slipped my mind.  Quite frankly, it took me until this past April to even remember I had been hurt.  Now, there's this entry that shows NCO "opened" it on Aug. 16, 2007 and a "report" date of May 17, 2009.  To date, I have not been contacted by them. 

I was reading your comment to Lisa dated June 19, 2014 on collectionagencydebt.blogspot where you stated, "If the original default date was more than seven years and 180 days ago this shouldn't be on your credit report at all and you should be able to get it removed as obsolete." and wondered if this also applied in my case. 

Further complicating matters, someone in my hometown has apparently obtained cell phones under my name and social security number and (according to the credit reporting agencies) a mortgage.  It is one of the security questions and when I reply I have "no mortgage", I get an "incorrect answer" and a phone number to call.  My friend is the retired Chief of Police in my hometown and informed me that until I move back home, there is nothing that can be done from here.

Any advice you have to give is appreciated and I thank you for your time.




The seven-year credit reporting period is the same for everyone. so what I told Lisa would also apply to you. Debt collectors generally have to remove their negative tradelines when the original creditor removes its charge-off. Unfortunately, you owe a medical debt, and medical debts don't come with an original creditor. Particularly insidious collection agencies use this to their advantage. The original creditor's report is the yardstick that both you and the credit bureaus can use to determine if a collection is obsolete. Medical debts don't appear on your credit report if they're paid on time, so there is no original account for the debt on your credit report. Without an original creditor account on file, the burden of proof is on you to demonstrate that the collection agency is in error. 

Here's a fun fact for you. The Federal Trade Commission already hit NCO with the largest business fine in history for altering collection accounts dates to ensure they remain on debtors' credit reports far beyond the seven-year limit. The clock on the credit reporting period should start ticking when you stop paying the original creditor--not when the collection agency receives the debt. 

If you dispute this directly with the credit bureaus, NCO will probably verify it as accurate. What you want is some proof that the original debt was incurred in 2006, not 2007. An old medical bill for your injury that notes a late payment and how late the payment is (i.e. 30 days late, 60 days late, etc.) should work just fine. You can also check with your insurance company or the original medical provider for the date of service. The hospital records may not go that far back, but your insurance company might. It can't hurt to try.

Black out any information you don't want to share with NCO on your documents of proof (the details of your injury, for example, are none of their business) and make a photocopy of each item you're using as documentation. Highlight the date. Also print and photocopy the credit report pages from each of your credit reports that reflect the error.

Write NCO a letter stating that the account they are reporting to the credit bureaus is obsolete. Note exactly when you incurred the debt and refer to your medical paperwork as evidence. Point out that you never made any payments on this debt, thus the date of delinquency occurred in 2006, not 2007 and the debt should no longer appear on your credit report. Tell them that re-aging a debt is against the law, and that you have the right to sue (and will exercise this right) if they don't immediately delete this tradeline from your credit report. 

If they don't delete, make photocopies of the same information you sent to NCO and send the proof, along with a letter explaining that this debt is obsolete and must be removed, to each of the credit bureaus whose files reflect the collection. If you want to make absolutely certain that your dispute falls into human hands and doesn't get shuttled into the computer system (the computer system neither acknowledges or analyzes your evidence) write out the letter by hand. Make sure to send both the NCO dispute and all credit bureau disputes via certified mail, return receipt requested. 

I have to wonder though....why does this matter? You're living in Canada. I used to live in Canada. American credit doesn't mean squat over there. Although they have the same credit bureaus, their credit system is based on Social Insurance numbers, not Social Security numbers. You can't pull an American credit report using Canadian credit bureaus. Their system simply isn't set up that way. 

On to the case of identity theft. Identity theft is serious business. Most debts don't follow you to Canada, but if the identity thief racks up enough of it, sooner or later a creditor is going to find you and outsource that debt to a Canadian collection agency which will hunt you down on your home turf in Canada. Don't let this happen. 

You need to file a police report. I think what your policeman friend meant wasn't that you had no course of action to defend yourself but rather you can't fill out an identity theft report with the U.S. police. Go down to your local police station, explain that your identity was stolen and ask to fill out a police report. You can use a Canadian police report the same way you would use an American police report. Use your Canadian police report to file an identity theft complaint with the credit bureaus. 

Make sure to point out that the report was filed in Canada because that it where you're currently living. You don't want the credit bureaus to think that you're a Canadian citizen and dealing with Canadian identity theft concerns yet somehow reported the theft to the wrong bureaus. If that doesn't work (I can't see any reason why it wouldn't unless you keep running into idiots who don't know what they're doing. Believe it or not, the credit bureaus employ scores of these people) Wait until your next trip to the U.S. and fill out a police report about the identity theft there. According to the FTC, you can file a police report either with the police station where you live or the police station where the identity theft occurred. 

You'll also want to place a fraud alert on your American credit reports pronto. The following resource from the Federal Trade Commission should provide you with a detailed guide on exactly what to do when you find out your identity has been stolen: Federal Trade Commission: Identity Theft

I'm going to list some numbers for you to call if you run into problems along the way. 

  • Federal Trade Commission headquarters: (202) 326-2222
  • Experian:  1 (888) 397-3742
  • TransUnion Identity Theft Department: (800) 680-7289
  • Equifax fraud alert: 1-888-766-0008

If you are financially able, consider contacting a consumer law attorney within the U.S. You can do what's necessary to take care of these issues on your own, but its time consuming and extremely stressful. A good consumer law attorney has extensive experience doing this very thing. In addition, collection agencies and credit bureaus alike take lawsuit threats from an attorney much more seriously than lawsuit threats from the debtor. You also have to consider that this person committed a major fraud by purchasing a house in your name. You would retain the right to file a civil suit against the individual and force them to pay for your attorney. 

I cannot stress this enough: Do NOT ignore this. DO NOT. If this person has gotten a mortgage in your name, she knows that you are living out of the country and plans to simply live as you indefinitely. Someone has to bring her to justice. A fraud this significant can carry jail time and, lets face it, this lady belongs behind bars so that she can't turn around and do this very thing to someone else. 

Best of Luck,

1 comment:

  1. You can also file a complaint with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

    State Attys general listing as well for additional free assistance options-