Bill Collectors

Several months ago I received a phone call. It was a debt collector, claiming that I owed money on an old debt.

Since I’ve been living and writing about the stupidity of debt for a decade, I was skeptical. Even if I did happen to owe something to someone that I magically didn’t remember, that debt would have fallen off of my credit report years ago.

“You do realize that you’re talking to a woman who preaches against credit, right?” I informed the man when I stopped laughing. “I’ve been writing books and articles condemning credit for a decade. Now, tell me just why you believe this debt is mine.”

He did. He claimed that I had opened a credit card over a decade ago and then stopped paying on it some time later. I asked him for the address where I lived when I had the card.

I hadn’t lived in that house for twenty years and I told him as much. “Unless you can give me an address where I’ve lived within the legal statute of limitations on debt, I’m going to have to conclude that this is a scam,” I informed him calmly.

He couldn’t. The man didn’t have a single address for me other than the original one he mentioned.

I didn’t take out a credit card when I lived at that address. I was far too broke at the time to even consider it.

The man huffed and informed me that the debt would damage my credit rating and haunt me for X more years. I laughed. “Do your worst. I don’t own a house, I don’t even own a car, so I have nothing you can place a lien on. So unless you can supply me with valid proof that this debt is mine, I’ll just take my chances. I don’t use credit anyway.”

The man promised me that he would send the information on. I gave him my current address and told him I would look for it.

That was several months ago. I’ve not received a single thing.

Since then I’ve done a bit of research on bill collectors. There’s a scam going on where companies will create completely false debts in hopes that the marks will pay. Here is one particular article that I found rather interesting on the subject.

This is just one reason why I don’t believe in using credit. Not only do you pay a ridiculous amount of money for the ability to live above your means, you open yourselves up to predators who steal your information and attempt to bully you into paying on debts you don’t actually have.

Be warned, folks.

5 thoughts on “Bill Collectors”

  1. I applaud you for your firm reaction to this supposed bill collector, but you should never give your address to a stranger over the phone. He did indeed sound like a scammer.
    Ps. for any of your Canadian readers, there’s a great wee book written by Mark Silverthorn called “The Wolf at the Door” which contains some great advice as to how to deal with smucks like that dude who called you.

    1. In hindsight you are right, but at the time I was taken off guard by the call. I refused to give him any other information aside from my address, however. That’s one bright spot.

  2. Great article. So glad I don’t have to deal with bill collectors either.

  3. Annie, thanks for this very important post. Like you, I don’t use credit and paid off and cancelled my credit cards years ago. I have received some questionable calls over the years and have managed to obtain information about these calls and then reported them to our state’s Attorney General’s office. It’s very important to be aware of these scams and fight back if possible!

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