Childhood ID theft is a growing problem in our country, with dire consequences for the credit standing of young folks trying to make a fresh start. It sounds like you may be a victim of ID theft, or a mixed credit file. Either way, you absolutely have legal protections.
It is estimated that one in four consumers has an error on his/her credit report. Federal law requires that the credit reporting agency ensure maximum possible accuracy when publishing your information. And there are laws to protect you from abusive (or wrongful) collection efforts by this debt collector as well.
As you have learned, your credit standing can affect your ability to obtain credit. It can also adversely affect your ability to obtain favorable credit terms and insurance or thwart your efforts when applying for a job or rental.
Here is some information about steps you can take if your credit report(s) is plagued with inaccurate information. http://www.ohioconsumerhelp.com/sub/credit-report-errors.jsp
If you haven’t yet done so, as an initial matter, I would suggest that check your consumer credit reports with each of the nationwide credit reporting agencies that participate in the mandatory annual free credit report (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union). You may obtain a free copy of your credit reports from these credit bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com.
If anything is appearing on your reports that is not attributable to you, I would encourage you to seek the assistance of an attorney familiar with the federal law applicable to credit reporting (the Fair Credit Reporting Act, or FCRA). Many consumer advocates will consult with you without charge or obligation. You are also welcome to contact my office without cost or obligation. This is the best first step in protecting your legal rights, and understanding the protections available to you under state and federal law. You may have claims against this creditor, and possibly others.
For more information about protecting your rights, like us on Facebook: www.facebook.com/ohioconsumerhelp.com
Good luck to you!!
NOTE: This Answer does not constitute legal advice. Every case is fact specific. To render a legal opinion, an attorney must engage in a consultation with a prospective client and review any pertinent documents. This communication does not create an attorney-client relationship with Attorney Amy L. Wells or WELLS LAW OFFICE, INC.
Not really. First, you have to utilize all the mechanisms (as lame as they are) to correct your credit reports. Obtain a copy of each of the major bureau's reports and dispute the entry for this debt as being fraudulent. Do the same thing with the lender itself. Also file a police report on the fraud - the companies will want to see that. If, after all that, they are still refusing to clear it, you could then consider a lawsuit under the FCRA, maybe.
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You should should contact an attorney that handles fdcpa matters. First, if collections abuse has not occurred, you will not have actions against collectors. Second, if you have been denied credit b/c of this bad rating, you have to make the proper filings with the credit reporting agencies to have this removed from your record. Only then, can you look toward viable legal action to have this corrected.