When a debtor informs you that they are a victim of identity theft, you must stop your collection efforts and follow certain procedures. However, the debtor must do the following first before you have to stop. They need to provide the following:
- They need provide you with a copy of the police report filed by them alleging that they were a victim of identity theft, and
- A written statement that they claim to be a victim of identity theft with respect to the specific debt at hand
Upon receipt of these documents, you must stop your collection activities until you are done reviewing all the documentation. The debtor written statement can be in a form of a affidavit attested to under penalty of perjury under the law. A person submitting the declaration who declares as true any material matter that he or she knows to be false is guilty of a misdemeanor.
Under federal law, a debt collector who knows that a debtor is represented by an attorney regarding the subject matter debt and has knowledge of or can readily ascertain the attorney’s name and address may not communicate with anyone other than that attorney unless the attorney fails to respond to the debt collector’s communication within a reasonable period of time.
You can legally try to collect past due bills by calling the debtor. But you cannot legally call them on the phone over and over again. It is also against the law to threaten them with harm or contact them at work after they tell you not to. In addition, the law says that if they write to you and ask that you not contact them at all, you must stop. At that point, you can only contact them to let them know that you are suing them. So it is a good idea to keep records of your calls and written communications to them.
If the debt is not a commercial debt, you are not supposed to contact their employer, except to verify their employment.
You should never send anything that is meant to look like a legal document when it is not.