Jeff Duntemann's Contrapositive Diary Rotating Header Image

A Letter from NCTUE

Carol and I got a letter this afternoon from the National Consumer Telecom and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE), a subsidiary of Equifax based in Atlanta. As best I can tell (I’ve never heard of it before today) the NCTUE is a way for phone companies and utility companies to exchange data on deadbeat customers, so that when a guy who owes three grand to the phone company moves to another state, the phone company there can examine his application with a more critical eye and possibly deny the account. In that it’s a lot like a conventional credit reporting firm, albeit a vertical-market one.

The letter was very plain, not on any sort of letterhead, and relatively crude by my standards. (I could have set up a mail merge like that using a spreadsheet twenty years ago.) It did not come with a glossy explanatory flyer, as I would expect. The key message in the letter is this: According to Colorado law, a consumer reporting agency (like NCTUE) is required to send a free report to consumers who receive either:

  • Eight credit inquiries (no indication of a timeframe) from a telecom or utility firm; or
  • A single report that adds negative information to someone’s NCTUE file.

To receive a “free disclosure copy” of our report, it suggests that we either call the number 1-866-349-5185 or fill out the bottom third of the letter sheet and send it to:

Exchange Service Center – NCTUE
PO Box 105161
Atlanta GA 30348

The phone number is a robot that immediately asks for your social security number, and provides no option to speak to a human being. The sheet requires your social security number and date of birth, along with a signature. Needless to say, they’re not getting it. Carol and I have an autopay system for all telecom/utility payments, and we keep the autopay account well-stoked. Our use is fairly predictable, and nothing has changed in a long time. The account has plenty of money in it, and no bills have failed to be paid on time. (We checked.)

Interestingly, the NCTUE Web site is not accessible right now. When I try to go to nctue.com, I get a “Bandwidth Limit Exceeded” message. What this suggests is that NCTUE is engaging in some shady marketing. If they recently dumped several million of these letters in the mail, their web site may well not be able to handle the traffic. I doubt that we got the letter because of some mistake in our own payment management. I’m guessing that gazillions of people got the same letter, and they all arrived today, and everybody is trying to go up there at once and see WTF is going on.

Either that, or they’ve pissed off enough people to earn a DDOS attack…but somehow I doubt it.

It’s unclear what NCTUE is trying to sell, and I’ll keep investigating. I’m guessing Equifax (their parent company) is trying to hawk some kind of credit protection plan, but since I won’t hand them my SS number, it’s hard to tell. In the meantime, I’d be interested in hearing if you’ve received this letter and what, if anything, you’ve done in response.

UPDATE 3/11/2012: One thing I forgot to ask people to mention in their comments: Are you in Colorado? I’m trying to determine if this effort on NCTUE’s part (whatever it turns out to be) depends on some quirk in Colorado law, or if it’s national in scope.

Also, read my next entry, for 3/11/2012!

363 Comments

  1. Susan Peters says:

    Never heard of the b******s. Have clean credit and will report to the secretary of state in Colo.

  2. Mark says:

    CO resident as well. Dated 1.13.14. I have never been late on a bill, ever. My recent credit rating is 800. Just checked. My only thought is related to the Target issue, they are resending this as a scam thinking you may have issues. I did the free Experian monitoring via Target and thought they might be related. Regardless I will not be giving my SS#.

    1. LEILA says:

      I too received a letter (March 11, 2014), live in Colorado, never been late on a bill, have a credit score of 790 and was a part of that Target security hack (even had my credit card company replace my card without me knowing). I will not be replying to this letter and will just assume its crap.
      thanks for all the info :)

      1. LEILA says:

        I just got off the phone with Equifax & they told me they aren’t associated with NCTUE & there’s only been 1 credit check in the past 6 months to my account (which I was aware of) and there has been no negative marks or collections that they could see…he then told me to disregard the letter. Hope that helps you guys too :)

  3. Debbie says:

    I also received a letter dated January 13th, 2014….same thing…I have no lates, great credit. I also used Target, but not sure it’s related, or just coincidence. I work at a bank, and have not seen any issues from clients yet.

  4. Mark says:

    I recieved one toady and I believe that its a scam of some sort. I just recently did an Xcel energy account but did not request a credit check. I’m going to contact the Colorado State Attorney General’s Office.

  5. Richard Crow says:

    If I want to know what caused a problem I would go directly to Equifax and not to a second party. I am in Colorado.

    1. sandy says:

      I got a letter dated 1/13/14. Also in Colorado. Called a number on the internet and did get a person, after trying the number in the letter, no person. I asked the lady where she was located, she said she could not give me that info, but she wanted my SS #. I told her I had no idea who or what they are, never heard of them, I was not giving my SS #. I have never missed paying a bill, never, so this really upsets me. The last time I checked my credit I had nothing on it that was negative. I also have Verizon, but have for years and never missed a payment. Doing more checking also.

  6. Mae says:

    I received this letter January 20 2014, I did not shop at Target. I have perfect credit. My bills are not late, not sure what its about. I will not be sending my ss#. I am in Colorado.

  7. Maria Ash says:

    I live in Colorado and was suspicious of the NCTUE letter as well.

  8. colo resident says:

    Got notice and after much digging found that Verizon had erroneously submitted a 30 day late notice to nctue/equifax. Contacted equifax who submitted a dispute. Verizon investigating cause of error. (Whole process took over two hours contacting both Verizon and equifax.) Almost threw the notice away as never having seen one from them before. Check with your telecom and utility cos. for incorrect credit info reporting to this agency. Was told nctue is legit by equifax, although there could be copycats. Did not return form to nctue. Call equifax directly and select prompt for ‘are you a telecom or utility co,’ otherwise you’ll have trouble speaking to anyone.

  9. Colorado resident says:

    Received a notice last week. Just read the last post from another colorado resident and I will follow their advice and contact Equifax directly as I am a Verizon customer and have never paid late.

  10. bARB says:

    Received the exact letter today (1/27/14). I also have excellent credit, and auto-debit on everything I can. Appears to be a scam. Thanks for posting.

  11. Colorado Resident says:

    Colorado Resident. I received the NCTUE letter dated 1-13-2014. My son received one as well. I find it suspicious that both of us received a letter on the same day. I will not be furnishing them my SS#.

  12. sam (Colorado rsident) says:

    dittos to all. I too rec’d the ltr and figured it to be a scam particularly since they wanted my ssn up front. I too plan to contact the Colorado Sec’y of State’s office. I also plan to contact someone at U.S. Postal Office since this appears to be a case of postal fraud. l think Equifax should be found culpable and penalized since they presumably have the trust of all consumers in their care. If we as consumers don’t act, who will.

  13. Kj-Colorado says:

    Add me to the list. Colorado Resident, received my letter dated January 13, 2014. I am on autopay for my Telephone (comcast) and Electric (MVEA), and have not been late on my Gas (BHE). That takes care of all my “utilities”. The State Attorney General (Colorado Secretary fo State) needs to review this process of group notification of false information.

  14. BJE OHIO says:

    I did not get a direct letter from Exchange Service Center, but a letter from Dish Network L.L.C. In short, Dish was apolgizing that they couldn’t give me there best cost for TV. Our decision was based on information obtained from the consumer reporting agency listed below, i: Exchange Service Center. Unable to verify credit references with information provided. Scared the Hell out of me, as I have all my bills paid thru Check Free for years, I quickly checked my bank account online, no problem there. So I call this E S C, 866-343-2821, They wanted my Soc. Sec. , phone number, address, DOB, reluticantly I gave them all that, what a fool I was. Then I requested a report, was told I had to fax or mail them a copy of my drivers license and Soc. Sec. card, told them no way Am I doing that. I then was informed I would get no report until I did that, End of conversation. I did get my three free credit reports immediatly after that, no adverse reports, only 3 inquires. Credit scores of 726 to 760. I’m just glad I got on the net and seen this article, mind is at easy now.

  15. BJE OHIO says:

    In regards to my previous letter. I will be sending a nasty letter to Dish Corp. Hdqtrs. In the first place they got my name wrong on all there billings plus the letter to E C S. After 210 minutes of cell phone use to Dish from day one, they still haven’t got my last name right. They are even worse to do business with DirecTV. They sure are cordial when signing up, after that, nothing but hell,

  16. CW3 -- Colo says:

    Colo resident, too. Received a flyer in January and immediately responded by snail mail requesting a full report. Now I have a letter from them dated 1/29/14 telling me they need SS# and proof of residence.

    BUT: This “letter” is on plain paper in a plain envelope. Nothing preprinted at all. Screams, “Careful! I am a scam!)

    No way will I respond to them.

    Later today I will mail this with a nice letter to the Colo AG’s office.

    SURE GLAD I FOUND THIS WEBSITE!

  17. Amos1 says:

    Colorado resident. I too recieved this letter 3/17/14. Thanks for the info. I was born in a turnip patch but send name, birthdate and ssn, really?

  18. KNA says:

    My partner has received this twice now. The most recent was received 3/17/14/. We shredded the first one without doing any investigating (her mother stole her identity years ago and we had assumed the first letter was in reference to that). This time I actually did some digging and came across this website. We’re in Colorado and the letter now says that it is coming directly from Equifax. New address they request the information mailed to: PO Box 105891, Atlanta, GA 30348. It is postmarked from an 80222 address.

  19. BOB-Colorado says:

    Also a Colorado resident and got same letter, dated 3-11-12. Won’t be sending my information back. I have not applied for credit recently with utility or telecom (unless getting a phone upgrade from Verizon counts) and have not been turned down for credit during that time. I have a 724 credit score and have always paid my bills on time or early. This appears to be another way for Equifax to make money, as if they aren’t making enough already. Also a way for them to get more of your information.

  20. Ed Warrell says:

    I am in Colo and got same letter. Knew something was wrong as I have a FICO over 800 and never have had a dunning letter. Experian should be ashamed of themselves. Hopefully some action will be taken and we will all get letters that this was a “mistake”

  21. glen norby says:

    I’m in Co. for a short construction project. Never been a resident here, never hooked up utilities here. My home is near Seattle and likewise with all utilities. All my billing and this NCTUE letter go to my mailing address in Wa. The only tie I may have to this is I recently ( one month ago) started paying Co. state income tax!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>