Collection agency old debt

by John

I just received a letter from a collection agency trying to collect on a credit card debt from 1996. This was a case of identity theft and was resolved with the agency that owed the debt in 2001. I guess it was sold to this agency in 2006 and now they are trying to collect. As far I know there is no judgment. What are they trying to do? Can they do anything?

Comments for Collection agency old debt

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Feb 15, 2010
Debt collection on old debts
by: Gerri


Thanks for submitting your debt collection question on our Q&A page.

It sounds like you've been contacted by a debt buyer who bought this very old debt, probably for pennies on the dollar. They likely don't much documentation about the debt, and probably are just hoping you don't know your rights and will pay them.

However, it is very important that you check to find out if there is a judgment against you for this debt. That would change things. You should find this information on your credit reports. Visit to get copies from all three credit reporting agencies to double check.

Assuming there is no judgment against you, you can follow our advice in our ebook Debt Collection Answers, and send the collection agency a "cease contact" letter. Just write them a letter, and ask them not to contact you again. You can tell them that this debt was due to an identity theft case, and you are aware it is too old.

But frankly, it doesn't matter whether you tell them that or not. Just the fact that you told them not to contact you again means they must stop. Once they get your letter, they can't contact you again except to take legal action, which sounds extremely unlikely given the circumstances. If they do contact you again after getting your letter, you can contact a consumer law attorney for help immediately. It sounds like you could have a good case against them if they tried to collect after receiving your letter.

I would also suggest you file a complaint about this agency with the Federal Trade Commission at They have raised concerns about the debt buying industry, and need to hear from consumers like yourself about your experiences.

Let us know if anything else happens with this.

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