March is Credit Education Month and a time to learn valuable information on credit and credit scores.
- Keep Records. Keep all copies of your credit reports (current and old). If you have made any late payments or have neglected to pay any delinquent accounts compare you old credit reports with your current credit reports to verify all information on your credit report and pay close attention to the dates for collection accounts, bankruptcies, accounts included in bankruptcies and other delinquent accounts.
- Verify. When you receive a letter from a collection agency verify the company is licensed to collect money or delinquent debts, verify the company is a reputable company and that the company has a legal right to collect money or your debt.
- Cease and Desist. You may request that the collection agency contact my mail only (use the term cease and desist). A collection agency's goal is to get the money owed paid as soon as possible. They will continue to ask why you can’t make arrangement today.
- Keep Your Word. Whatever arrangements you make with a collection agency stick to it, don't let the collection agency change your mind about what you can afford, use emotions, or scare you into doing something you don't want to do.
- Confirm. Confirm everything in writing and followup each phone conversation with a letter. Send all correspondence certified mail with a return receipt and keep the receipts. Keep a creditor log and get the names of everyone you talked to and their titles. Record the dates and times they called you and what was said. This is helpful in the future if you have to dispute the account or the company takes you to court.