Aug
01
2012

It is possible to owe debts not on your credit report

Dear Experian,

Everything shows on the credit report right? Every debt you owe? I currently have two debt collectors harassing me claiming I owe them money and threatening to sue me. But when I look on my report, there is nothing that is open against me. How do I get them to send me actual proof that I owe?

- JYG

 

Dear JYG,

While most major lenders and creditors report to at least one of the credit reporting agencies, there is no requirement to report, and not all companies do. Therefore, it is possible to owe a debt that does not appear on any of your credit reports.

Even if a debt was reported but has been removed because of the seven year reporting limit, it may still be collected. The statute of limitations for collecting a debt varies by state and is not and does not always match the amount of time that a debt can appear on your credit report.

You also should be aware that simply because a debt does not appear on your reports currently doesn’t mean that it won’t be reported in the future. Some collection agencies may not report the debt right away. Also, if the creditor decides to file suit against you in court, it’s likely the court judgment would end up on your report under Public Record information.

Some debt collection agencies contact consumers with the same or similar name in their efforts to track down the debtor. If you are unsure of the debt they say you owe, you should request additional information in writing. If you are requesting something they are unable to provide, you may wish to contact the original creditor directly and inquire with them.

You don’t mention whether the original debts appeared in your credit report or if they still do. If they do, and they are reported accurately with a status of “charged off, you owe the debts.

The bottom line is that whether or not a debt appears on your credit report does not affect its legitimacy or the creditor’s right to collect.

Thanks for asking.

- The “Ask Experian” team

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