If my sister recently received a collection notice for $400 for a gas credit card account created 15 years ago by her ex-boyfriend, does she pay?

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If my sister recently received a collection notice for $400 for a gas credit card account created 15 years ago by her ex-boyfriend, does she pay?

My sister recently received a collection notice for $400 from a collection agency for a gas credit card account created 15 years ago. However, the account was created by my sister’s ex-boyfriend at that time and he had used her name as a co-account holder. They have long separated and she has no idea of his status. What do we do with this bill since my sister has no idea and had never use this account.

Asked on March 8, 2012 under Bankruptcy Law, Texas

Answers:

B.H.F., Member, Texas State Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

If your sister had no idea that her ex-boyfriend was using her personal information to open an account, she needs to advise the collection company that this is a fraud case.  Some collection agencies are more helpful than others, but all are required to provide you a form that you can use to dispute the charges and learn more about the account.  Once she receives this information, she should go talk to the law enforcement agency in her area to report an offense called "fraudulent use of identifying information".  If your sister did know that he was using her info to open an account, she may still want to go through the dispute process and see how active this account has been.  If this debt is fifteen years old, then the statute of limitations have run-- more than three times over.  Some agencies will send notices to unsuspecting consumers and try to get them to reconfirm (or recommit) to a debt to avoid statute of limitations issues.  If the collection agency is not responsive to the issues raised by your sister, she should either contact the Attorney General's office or a private consumer attorney to get more specific guidance.


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