Here’s Why You May Want to Talk to That Debt Collector Before Tax Season Ends

Tax season is like Christmas to debt collectors, one agency head says, but that can be good news for borrowers. Here's why.

Here’s something your may not know: Tax season is like Christmas for debt collectors.

In fact, as president of a national debt collection company, I can tell you some agencies will collect as much money from February through May as in the remaining eight months of the year. Why?

Well, the first reason is a bit obvious: Many consumers in debt will receive a tax refund and go on to use that money to pay off their delinquent debt. Second, many debt collectors are good at what they do and want to help consumers resolve their outstanding liabilities. They’re willing to work out or negotiate a payment plan the consumer now has the ability to repay. (And, yes, that means the debt collector who’s been contacting you may be willing to settle up for less than what you owe.)

So who has the upper hand when it comes to getting debt repaid during tax season? If the cards are played right, both the consumer and the debt collector come out ahead.

During this time of year, consumers are generally going to come across two types of debt collectors. The first is a debt collector who understands a consumer has access to a limited tax refund — and is potentially trying to pay off a multitude of debts. This collector will be looking to help the consumer resolve as many debts as possible with the funds they receive back from Uncle Sam. The other type of debt collector will hold their ground, knowing the consumer has funds to pay off a singular debt, and will ultimately refuse to negotiate payment for a lesser amount. Odds are consumers will run across both types of debt collectors during this time of year.

What Drives a Debt Collector’s Settlement Stance?

If you have an outstanding debt, it is important to understand the delicate balance collectors face during tax season. Several factors determine what debt collectors ultimately are able to do for consumers looking to settle a debt for less than what is owed.

The main factor is the client whose behalf they are collecting on. Settlements live and die with the requirements of a client; either they authorize the debt collector to offer a settlement or they do not. If the client allows for settlements, it is dependent upon the agency as to when, where and/or how they offer one. Some agencies may only offer settlements for accounts on file for 60 days or more, whereas other companies will offer settlements on the first day the account gets to their office.

The Odds Are in Your Favor

It is more probable than not that during tax season a debt collector has the ability to offer a settlement. Contrary to popular belief, debt collectors do not like to turn away money, especially this time of year. While one may hold firm for a while, when approached with a reasonable settlement offer, they will generally do what is in their power to get it approved. They may be willing to waive excess interest, late fees and other non-principal-related charges before tax season is up as well.

On the flip side, consumers should not expect a debt collector to take “pennies on the dollar” to settle accounts. Even if their agency did directly purchase the debt — which happens less frequently these days — the debt collector you’re dealing with isn’t the person who directly bought the debt, and they are going to be required to follow the guidelines set forth by their employer. You can find more tips for negotiating with a collector here.

The Bottom Line

Tax season can be a mutually beneficial time for the consumer and the debt collector, so if you’re hoping to shore up an outstanding account and/or are looking to strike a deal, now may be the right time to do so.

Just keep in mind, if one side tries too hard to “game” the other, an opportunity to resolve a bad debt will likely fall through and that bill will remain delinquent. At the end of the day, if consumers and debt collectors engage in a professional and respectful dialogue, it’s likely they’ll reach a resolution that benefits all parties.

[Editor’s Note: A collection account can wind up hurting your credit score. To see where yours stands, you can view your free credit report snapshot, updated every 14 days, on]

This story is an Op/Ed contribution to and does not necessarily represent the views of the company or its partners.

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You May Be Able to Get Collection Accounts Off Your Credit Report Sooner Than You Think

A collection account can drag down your credit score for several years — but not always.

While shopping for a home to buy, Ryan discovered through his credit monitoring service that a collection account had hit his credit reports. His credit score dropped, and he was worried it could jeopardize this ability to get a mortgage. “I had no idea what it was,” he says. He wanted it off his credit.

After doing some research online, Ryan (he asked his last name not be used to protect his privacy) connected with Michael Bovee of Consumer Recovery Network, who helped him negotiate with the collection agency to resolve the account.

Bovee had good news for Ryan: The collection agency that had the account, Midland Funding, had recently made changes to their credit reporting policy. Because the account had been delinquent more than two years prior, if he resolved it he could get it removed from his credit reports and continue looking for a home to buy.

Collection Accounts Can Damage Your Credit for Years

One of the most frustrating things about collection accounts is that once they are on your credit reports, the damage is done. You can resolve them — settle them or pay in full — but they still can remain on your credit reports for many years, affecting your credit scores and flagging you as a higher risk to lenders. (You can see how much collection accounts are harming your credit by reviewing two of your credit scores for free on The scores are updated every 14 days.)

It can be a long time before you completely put them behind you. By law, collection accounts may be reported for seven years, plus 180 days from the date you first fell behind with the original creditor. So if you stopped paying a department store card in January 2015, for example, and it later wound up in collections, that collection account could be reported until June 2022. Ouch!

While the newest credit scoring models — FICO 9 and the latest version of VantageScore — ignore collection accounts with a zero balance when calculating credit scores, most lenders are using older credit scoring models that treat all collection accounts as negative, whether they are paid or not. That means consumers trying to get a mortgage, car loan, credit card, or auto insurance may wind up paying more because of a collection account that perhaps was resolved some time ago.

Worse, most consumers seem to believe that paying a collection account will help improve their credit scores and are often shocked to learn after that fact that it doesn’t.

So when Encore Capital, which owns Midland Funding, Asset Acceptance and Atlantic Credit and Finance, quietly changed its credit reporting policy late last year, consumers who were the beneficiary of this new, more lenient policy may not have realized how fortunate they were to have these items removed from their credit reports, sometimes years before they would have been previously.

Specifically, these companies announced they would:

  • Stop reporting accounts that were more than two years old if the account was paid in full or paid for less than the full balance, and
  • Not report new accounts if payments are made within three months of the initial notice and are made on time thereafter until the account is paid in full or paid for less than the full balance.

According to one source familiar with this action, over 1 million of these derogatory accounts have already been removed from credit reports as a result of this change. There are at least 30 million Americans with accounts in collection, according to the FTC, but some estimates put that number as high as 77 million.

Changes on the Consumer’s Side

Bovee has been encouraging the industry to adopt new reporting policies for some time. “If the newer (credit scores) say paid collections don’t really matter, then keeping them on there is just punitive,” he says.

It’s not just consumers that can be hit by collection accounts. According to a National Federation of Independent Businesses survey in 2012, nearly half of small business owners use their personal credit in some way, shape or form to finance their company, so entrepreneurs with collections on their credit reports may struggle to get credit when their business needs it because of a mistake years prior. (You can check your business credit reports for collection accounts that may be hurting your business credit scores.)

Last year, Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) proposed a bill that would have reduced the time negative information stays on credit reports to four years and required that paid and settled debts be removed from credit reports within 45 days. However, that legislation stalled in Congress. (You can read more here about how to repair credit report issues and possibly improve your credit.)

Credit reporting is a voluntary system and no lender is required to report. But generally credit reporting agencies (and even some regulators) frown on removing accurate information early, as it may increase risk to lenders who are unaware of the consumer’s full credit history. So far, the change in collection account reporting by these major debt collectors hasn’t been met with public opposition from the bureaus.

Ryan appreciates this change. He knows that not all collection accounts are removed so quickly. “It’s very good to find out this will come off completely,” he says, “and makes you feel as if paying it off is well worth it.”

Bovee believes that other collection agencies are likely to follow suit in the not-too-distant future. After all, they want to get paid, and if consumers know that resolving their collection accounts will help get them removed faster, they are more likely to try to strike a deal.

“The cat’s out of the bag, and it needs to stay that way,” he says.

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6 Lies Debt Collectors Might Tell You

Don’t feel guilty for being suspicious if you’ve been contacted by a debt collector. You should be. Debt collection agencies are notorious for using aggressive practices to get debtors to pay up. Sometimes those tactics can be illegal, and consumers may not know when they are not getting a fair shake. That is why you need to stay on your toes when dealing with collectors.

Debt collection agencies are third parties that have bought debt from the original creditor after the debtor is unable to pay for a certain amount of time. The companies buy past-due debt for a fraction of its value, then assign collectors to pester you to pay as much of the original debt as possible to make a profit.

Many debt collectors are legitimate businesses collecting past-due debts that consumers have not paid. But the list of complaints against debt collectors is growing. Since the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) began accepting complaints about debt collection in July 2013, debt collections became the most common source of complaints in 2015, outstripping credit reporting and mortgages.

Debt collectors use illegal practices even though they are illegal “because they can get away with it,” says Christine Hines, a legislative director at National Association of Consumer Advocates. That’s because consumers often don’t know their rights and do not file complaints. “If a consumer is faced with these aggressive tactics, sometimes they will choose trying to pay the debt instead of paying for food,” Hines added.

If you are like 77 million Americans who have a debt in collections today, chances are you’ll come in contact with a collection agency sooner rather than later. If you arm yourself with knowledge of your rights beforehand, you can potentially save yourself from a lot of undue stress, both financially and mentally.

Here are a few common lies that collectors will tell you to get to your money:

6 Lies Debt Collectors Tell

“You owe us X amount of money.”

Admittedly, this statement isn’t always a lie, but you should immediately be skeptical of whatever a debt collector says you owe. Because collection agencies constantly buy and sell debt, there’s no telling if the debt a collector is asking you to pay hasn’t been sold or if the company actually owns that debt at all.

“A big tell [for a scam] is if the person doesn’t even recognize the debt or if the debt collector doesn’t give any information about themselves or the company,” said Hines.

You may potentially owe some part of the debt the collection agency has called you about, but they may have added additional fees. Those fees can include things like commission fees paid to the collector, transaction fees if you use an online service to pay them, fees related to the company’s cost of collection, or interest or other penalties.

Debt collectors have been known not to keep up with paperwork in the purchase and sale of debt, so the collector may have limited or no information about the debt other than your name and the debt balance. But you have a right to know where the debt is from.

Ask for a debt verification letter before you pull out your wallet to pay. Under federal law, consumers are entitled to have a debt validated within 5 days of their first contact with the collector. The notice should have the name of the original creditor and what you should do if you don’t think you owe the money. The CFPB also provides templates of letters to send to a collector if you think you don’t owe the debt or need more information about it here.

“Just make a small payment today, and I’ll get off your back.”

This is a common strategy debt collectors may use if they know that the debt they are pursuing is too old. Each state has a statute of limitations on how long a creditor has to seek legal action against (i.e., sue) a borrower for an unpaid debt. It varies by state but can be from 10 to 20 years. Once that time has passed, you can’t be sued for a debt, and there really isn’t a legal incentive for you to pay the debt off. The damage has been done to your credit already (it may have even already fallen off your report if seven years have passed) and making a payment will not improve your score.

In fact, it could do the opposite. By making even a $1 payment on an old debt, you essentially restart the clock on your statute of limitations. There’s a reason this kind of debt has been nicknamed “zombie debt.” All of the sudden, you have revitalized a dead debt, and you are now vulnerable to lawsuits and other legal actions.

The CFPB is working to crack down on the ability of debt collectors to pursue zombie debts. In a list of proposed rules released this summer, the agency outlined proposals that would require debt collectors to have and provide more details about the debt in the collection process. The rules also require collectors to tell you more specific information about the debt, including if it’s too old for a lawsuit, when applicable.

“I am an investigator.”

Using the title of “investigator” is an intimidation tactic designed to scare you into paying up. Don’t fall for it. In fact, if the collector says they are an investigator or says that they will call the investigator on your case, get out of that call and report them to the CFPB immediately. It’s illegal for collectors to imply or claim outright that they are anyone they aren’t, such as a federal investigator, attorney, or government representative.

It’s easy to see why this is such an effective tactic. Saying that they are an investigator conveys the sentiment that you have committed a crime, or are about to be arrested, both of which are also illegal for a collector to claim.

“Someone is on their way to serve you papers.”

Saying they might sue you could be an empty threat meant to bully you into making a payment.

If you receive any documents that look like a lawsuit, you should check to make sure they are legitimate. That can be as easy as making a quick phone call. The laws vary from state to state, but most debt collection lawsuits are filed in state court. The National Consumer Law Center recommends calling your state clerk’s office to confirm that a case has been filed in that court. In some states, you can go online to see if a case has been filed against you.

It’s against the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) for collection agencies to indicate that papers they send you are legal forms if they are not or vice versa, so be on the lookout for that.

“If you don’t pay, we will have you arrested or garnish your wages.”

Plain and simple, threatening to arrest you, garnish your wages, or seize your property is illegal under the FDCPA. The law prevents trained debt collectors from saying any of those threats or threatening legal action if they don’t actually intend to sue you. Now, the collection agencies certainly can sue you to collect. And if they win, a judge could allow the agency to garnish your wages. Federal law limits wage garnishment based on your income. If you are sued and the complaint is legitimate, don’t ignore it. If you do, you could forfeit your chance to fight a wage garnishment in court.

“We need your payment TODAY.”

If a debt collection agent is speaking with urgency or trying to get you to pay up right that moment, there is a good chance it’s a scam. Real debt collection agents may insist that you pay them, but likely won’t insist that you do it immediately or issue threats if you don’t agree to fork over funds right away.

If this happens, and it’s a real collection agency, any threats that were made could fall under illegal harassment under the FDCPA. The act states collectors “may not harass, oppress, or abuse you or any third parties they contact.” So, if the collector threatens violence, uses obscene language, or calls you constantly after you’ve asked them to stop, you can and should report them. File a complaint with the CFPB or the Federal Trade Commission.

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Debt Collectors May Not Be Able to Call You As Often Under New Rules

Debt collectors would face strict new limitations on how (and when) they contact consumers under a sweeping proposal announced Thursday by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Collectors would be limited to 6 contacts per week while attempting to reach consumers, would have to work harder to prove validity of debts they are trying to collect, and they’d have to provide simple “tear-off” instructions for consumers to file disputes.

“Today we are considering proposals that would drastically overhaul the debt collection market,” CFPB Director Richard Cordray said in a press release. “This is about bringing better accuracy and accountability to a market that desperately needs it.”

The bureau has been weighing new debt collection regulations since it issued a notice of proposed rules back in November 2013. More than 35,000 comments piled into the bureau from consumer groups and industry representatives.

There are about 6,000 debt collection firms working in the $13.7 billion industry in the U.S., the CFPB says. But the industry has a bad reputation. Debt collectors attract the most complaints at the CFPB and the Federal Trade Commission every year. Since the bureau began accepting complaints in July 2013, 200,000 consumer complaints were compiled.

Many complaints involve attempts to collect a debt that consumers say they don’t owe. The bureau said about one-third of consumers contacted by debt collection firms claim an attempt to collect the wrong amount. (You can read more on your debt-collection rights here.)

“When consumers are contacted by collectors for debt they do not recognize, they often do not know what to do next,” the CFPB said in its note announcing the new rules. “They may feel pressure to resolve the debt, but do not have a clear understanding of their rights. Sometimes consumers pay a debt they don’t believe is accurate to make the collector stop contacting them. Other times, consumers spend significant time and money to dispute the debt. They may have to dig through old records to prove information to the collector or retain a lawyer.”

The CFPB proposal says the following:

  • Collectors would have to scrub their files and substantiate the debt before contacting consumers. For example, collectors would have to confirm that they have sufficient information to start collection.
  • Collectors would be limited to six communication attempts per week through any point of contact before they have reached the consumer.
  • The CFPB is also considering proposing a 30-day waiting period after a consumer has passed away, during which collectors would be prohibited from communicating with certain parties, like surviving spouses.
  • Collectors would be required to include more specific information about the debt in the initial collection notices sent to consumers.
  • The proposal under consideration would also add a “tear-off” portion to the notice that consumers could send back to the collector to easily dispute the debt, with options for why the consumer thinks the collector’s demand is wrong. The tear-off would also allow consumers to pay the debt.
  • If a consumer disputes – in any way – the validity of the debt, collectors would have to stop collections until the necessary documentation is checked. Collecting on debt that lacks sufficient evidence would be prohibited.

The rules also deal with a relatively new complaint about collector tactics sometimes called “debt laundering” that has covered in the past. Occasionally when consumers dispute a debt, the collector does not respond to the dispute but instead sells the debt to another collector, who begins the process again, requiring the consumer to restart the dispute process. The new CFPB rules would prevent this.

“If debt collectors transfer debt without responding to disputes, the next collector could not try to collect until the dispute is resolved,” the CFPB proposal states.

In responding to the CFPB’s request for comment on rules, industry groups said that consumers dispute only 3.2% of the bills that debt buyers attempt to collect. They also warned that additional regulations could interfere with the credit market.

New rules that would require additional debt validation “would impose significant costs and burdens that would weigh on the cost and availability of credit,” the American Bankers Association and the Financial Services Roundtable said in a letter sent to the CFPB.

The tougher rules are required because debt collection is not a typical industry that responds to consumer dissatisfaction, the bureau argues.

“In the debt collection market, notably, consumers do not have the crucial power of choice over those who do business with them when creditors turn their debts over to third-party collectors. They cannot vote with their feet,” Cordray said in remarks prepared for an event to announce the new rules. “It is not surprising, then, that for many years, the debt collection industry has drawn more complaints than any other.”

As is standard in CFPB rule-making, a panel of small business experts will now convene to review the impact of the regulations on industry. After that panel issues a report, the CFPB will issue its final rules.

Remember, legitimate debt collection accounts can damage your credit. Too see if any are affecting yours, you can check your credit reports each year for free at and view your free credit report summary, updated each month, for free on

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Who Can a Debt Collector Call to Track You Down?


Can a debt collector contact family, friends, or co-workers in an attempt to find you?

Yes, yes, and yes. But she or he can’t say very much.

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act offers consumers a wide set of protections about how collectors can go about their business. But it doesn’t prevent them from contacting whoever they want while looking for you.

There are very strict rules about what they can say, however. The law says collectors can only ask about a debtor’s “location information,” meaning their “place of abode and … telephone number at such place, or … place of employment.”

What Can a Collector Say? 

Critically, collectors are not allowed to share any information about the debt with these third parties. Collectors do have to identify their employer if asked, which probably tips off neighbors or relatives that the debtor has money trouble. But otherwise, collectors cannot reveal anything about the debt. Generally, they can’t even leave voicemails requesting callbacks.

The law also only gives collectors one bite of that apple. They can’t call friends, neighbors or co-workers more than once, unless they have some reason to believe there is new information to be gleaned.

Here’s what the law says:

“(A collector can not) communicate with any such person more than once unless requested to do so by such person or unless the debt collector reasonably believes that the earlier response of such person is erroneous or incomplete and that such person now has correct or complete location information.”

A bunch of other rules further limit who debt collectors can contact and how. If a collector knows a debtor can’t take personal calls at work, the collector can’t call their workplace, for example.

And most importantly, once a debtor tells a collector to stop calling third parties, or stop calling the office, those calls must stop. Their only legitimate reason to contact a third party is if collectors have no way to contact the debtor, so a request to stop third parties eliminates the grounds for contacting them.

Also, if a debtor is being represented by an attorney, the collector must contact that attorney instead of the debtor or any third party.

While the law is pretty clear on what is and isn’t permitted, there are ample opportunities for abuse. Collectors who reach family members or friends may hint — or directly express — threats aimed at the debtor. They may even request or demand payment. Those activities are illegal, but it’s easy to see how they can happen.

“If you don’t want your friend to get in serious trouble with the law, make sure you deliver this message,” for example.

A Different Kind of Block Party 

Collectors who repeatedly use these tactics with multiple neighbors are conducting what’s known as a “block party.” It’s illegal, and victims can sue collectors for sizable damages when a block party is conducted. A similar tactic, when used to call a debtor’s workplace, is sometimes called an “office party.” That’s also illegal.

Third parties who believe they have been harassed – if stop contact requests aren’t honored, or if they are contacted at inconvenient times – can potentially have their own cause of action against collectors, in addition to potential legal action by the debtor.

The Federal Trade Commission makes the full text of the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act available in brochure form on its website.

Remember, a debt collection account can damage your credit. You can see how any of these accounts may be affecting your credit score by viewing your free credit report summary, updated each month, on

More on Managing Debt:

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Debt Collectors Calling About a Debt You Don’t Owe? You’re Not Alone


It’s no surprise that consumers don’t like debt collection companies very much. It is a surprise, however, that complaints against them keep mounting, even after federal regulators sue firms for the very things consumers complain about — trying to collect on debts that don’t exist, calling at odd hours, contacting workplaces, and so on.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regularly files reports about its complaint database — which has now logged 834,000 complaints overall. This month, the bureau highlighted debt collection complaints.

More than one-third (38%) of all debt collection complaints involved attempts to collect a debt consumers claim they don’t owe. In fact, when asked what type of account the debt collection firm called about, the most common entry after “other” was “I do not know,” at 24%. Credit cards were next at 14%. Consumers also said collectors frequently didn’t share enough information for consumers to verify the debt exists.

The CFPB said consumers complain frequently about debt collector tactics, too.

“Consumers complained about receiving multiple calls weekly and sometimes daily from debt collectors,” it said. “Consumers often complained that the collector continued to call even after being repeatedly told that the alleged debtor could not be contacted at the dialed number. Consumers also complained about debt collectors calling their places of employment.”

Complaints grew fastest during the final three months of 2015, compared to that same period in 2014, among residents of Indiana (38%), Arizona (27%) and New Hampshire (26%). On the other hand, complaints dropped in Maine (-34%), Wyoming (-26%) and North Dakota (-23%). Among larger states, Illinois saw a drop in complaints (-4%) while California saw a large increase (10%).

The most-complained about debt collectors were Encore Capital Group and Portfolio Recovery Associates. Both companies averaged more than 100 complaints each month between October and December 2015. And both have been the subject of enforcement actions, now settled, in which the firms admitted no wrongdoing but agreed to refund millions to consumers.

Portfolio declined to comment on the report, but Encore’s Sheryl Wright, senior vice president for corporate and government affairs at Encore, said the following in an email:

“Like any business, complaint volumes tend to be proportional to a company’s size, so as we look at the CFPB’s statistics, it’s important to remember that Encore has millions of interactions with consumers each month,” Wright said. “Despite being the leading purchaser of consumer debt we are only 2% of CFPB’s debt collections complaints. We also have more than double the accounts of the next largest company, yet we have significantly fewer complaints in comparison. … It’s also important to note that some of what’s listed as ‘complaints’ are not actual complaints but questions or disputes from consumers about their accounts.”

Among collection firms attracting the most complaints, Transworld Systems Inc. showed the largest increase – 84% during the last three months of 2015, of compared to the end of 2014. The firm did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“Today’s report shows that inaccurate information about debts continues to be a source of frustration for many consumers,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray. “We will continue to hold debt collectors accountable for ensuring that they are collecting the right amount from the right person.”

How to Deal With Debt Collectors

If you’re receiving calls from debt collectors, especially if they’re about a debt you don’t believe you owe, it’s a good idea to check your credit report for any errors. You can get your free annual credit report from You can also see how any collection accounts – accurate or not – are impacting your credit scores by getting your two free credit scores every 30 days on

And remember, not all debt collection calls are legit. Two tip-offs that you’re likely talking to a fake debt collector are that they won’t mail written confirmation of the debt or that they threaten dire consequences (jail, arrest, imminent lawsuit) if payment isn’t made immediately. Before you pay a debt collector, ask for written verification of the debt. Collection agencies, by law, must send this within five days of initially contacting you. Insisting on this is just one way to stop a scammer.

More on Credit Reports & Credit Scores:

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A ‘Freddy Got Fingered’ VHS Rental From 2002 Landed This Guy in Handcuffs


A North Carolina man found himself on the wrong end of a 14-year-old VHS rental gone wrong this week.

As local news station WSOC reported, James Meyers was pulled over for a broken tail light, but when the officer ran his license, it came back with an arrest warrant for failure to return rental property from 2002 — a VHS tape of Tom Green’s “Freddy Got Fingered” from a since-closed video rental store, to be exact. Failure to return rental property is a misdemeanor in North Carolina and can carry a $200 fine, according to WSOC.

The officer let Meyers take his daughter to school and go to work before returning to the police department to deal with the warrant later that day. Meyers ended up arrested and in handcuffs when he returned, and spent a couple of hours dealing with the warrant before being released and given an April 27 court date. Green even called Meyers after hearing about the incident.

You may have heard before that old debt can come back to haunt you. It’s rare that an old debt results in a criminal charge, like in Meyers’ case, but even small charges like overdue library books or movie rentals can end up in collections, hurting your credit scores for years. Collection accounts can remain on your credit report for 7 years plus 180 days from when the debt originally went into default. You can get copies of your free annual credit reports on to see if you have any old debts haunting you. You can also get a free credit report summary on every month to see how debts are impacting your credit scores.

And you can do a few things to get old debts off your credit reports as well:

There is also a statute of limitations on collecting old debts in most states — you can check out our map of the statutes across the U.S. to see what your rights are.

More on Managing Debt:

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