Routinely checking one's credit report can be a good habit to get into.
Sometimes, it will alert an individual to an unpaid medical debt that
may have been turned over to a collection agency. Knowing that fact allows
a person to take action before that bill potentially hurts that person's
credit score. However, there are times when an individual cannot remember
where an obligation listed on the report came from.
One way to find out where the debt originated is to contact the collection
agency that is handling the account. When doing so, it may be necessary
to supply the last four digits of a Social Security number or other identifying
information to give the collection agency confidence that it is divulging
the information to the right person. Requesting written verification of
the debt may help someone to figure out whether that debt resulted from
Once the information has been received, it is up to the individual to determine
how to deal with the debt. It may be possible to contact the original
provider to determine if the bill actually belongs to that person. If
the debt is legitimate, arrangements can be made to pay that debt or negotiate
a settlement to have it removed from a credit report.
Medical debt is the leading source of obligations that are turned over
to debt collectors. While creditors may only have a limited amount of
time to collect on that
medical debt, it may stay on a credit report for up to seven years. A person who needs
help resolving old unpaid debts may wish to contact a bankruptcy attorney
for assistance with the matter.
Source: Credit.com, "
How Do I Figure Out Where This 4-Year-Old Debt Came From?", Gerri Detweiler, June 19, 2014