Don’t send that collector on an old debt even one penny!
Have you ever had a collector call you and try to sign you up to pay even a minute amount of money, say, ten dollars a month? You think it is a good deal because you’re getting the debt paid at a rate you can afford.
Not so fast. Don’t send them a penny! Old debt expires. Every state has statutes of limitations on how long a debt collector can collect from you, usually six years. This means that six years after your last payment, any collection activity against you is illegal. However, collectors know you don’t know this. They get you to send more money and you just opened yourself up to six more years of collections and possibly longer if they are able to get a judgment against you. That new payment also restarts the clock on how long that old debt may be reported on your credit report.
If a collector calls and starts harassing you about something you don’t remember or you know is old, ask for them to send you a letter. That letter should contain a validation notice. This notice allows you to ask for proof of the debt. You can then figure out when you sent your last payment. If the debt is older than the statute of limitations allows, not only do you not owe the debt, you may have a cause of action against the collector. If you are successful in that action, the collector will also have to pay your attorney’s fees.