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It May Not Be NCTUE

I think we’re starting to get a sense for the scam here, as mentioned in my entry for yesterday, 3/10/2012. The scam involves NCTUE, but may have have been initiated by one of several collection agencies, including the AFNI collection agency of Bloomington, Illinois. (AFNI is by no means the only one.) It works like this: a debt collection agency “re-ages” an expired debt (that is, a debt that is older than the statute of limitations) and attempts to collect it. They send notification of the debt to credit reporting services like Equifax, and then attempt to collect the debt, using the bad credit mark as a sort of threat. Enough people apparently send such agencies money to keep the business model alive.

That sounds illegal to me, but it can get worse: Some collection agencies have been known to invent debt from whole cloth and then attempt to collect it, which, of course, is a species of fraud and should be prosecuted.

I’m not sure what happened in our case, since Carol and I have never let any bill go unpaid. Nor am I sure (yet) that this is what happened. We’re still looking into it, and as you might expect, not much is going to be resolved on a weekend.

There is evidently some connection with Verizon Wireless, which Carol and I contracted with for the very first time ever last fall, when we bought new smartphones. Needless to say, we haven’t missed any payments. AFNI apparently bought some ancient debt from companies that Verizon later purchased back in the 1990s, and has been trying to collect on it. (More here.) The number of accounts purchased by AFNI is immense.

I’m seeing a lot of reports of letters received in Colorado over the past couple of days, so whatever agency is doing this may be mounting an effort on a state-by-state basis, and this week it was just our turn.

What this may mean (again, we don’t know yet) is that some collection agency may have submitted a mass of fraudulent debt notices to credit reporting services (like Equifax’s NCTUE) which is now dutifully notifying people that a negative entry has been added to their credit reports. If that turns out to be the case, NCTUE is not scamming at all, but just doing what they’re supposed to do, and may be required to do by law. We may object to how they do it, but it may not be NCTUE engaging in malfeasance, but the collection agencies.

Be sure to read up on how to deal with collection agencies generally, and send no money to any of them unless you’re absolutely sure that you owe it. Fight them like a cornered animal. Here’s one report from a person who did it successfully.

Good luck.

70 Comments

  1. anon says:

    The letter is scam. NCTUE is legitimate. The P.O. Box on the letter is different than the one on the NCTUE website.

  2. Sharon says:

    I live in CO and got the letter today. There is zero chance that we have anything negative on our credit report, so I was pretty sure it was a scam. Another good post I came across on the topic can be found here:

    http://denver.cbslocal.com/2012/03/15/consumer-reporting-letter-causes-confusion-concern/

    The post itself actually wasn’t very helpful, but the comments were. Someone pasted an email exchange they had with Equifax where Equifax states that they did not send the letter, that it may be a phishing scam and not to give out any info.

  3. Chris says:

    Your mention of Verizon Wireless got my attention. Coincidentally (or maybe not) the same day I received the NCTUE letter I also got the following letter from Verizon Wireless:

    Dear Customer,

    Your Verizon Wireless statement is now available for viewing online.

    Our records indicate that all wireless lines on your account have been disconnected. While you can still view and pay your disconnected account online using My Verizon, you will need to log on using your user name rather than your former Verizon Wireless phone number.

    Please note that any future bills will be sent to you in the mail.

    We appreciate your business and hope to be able to serve your wireless needs again in the future.

    eServices and Support
    Verizon Wireless

    Although I canceled my Verizon Wireless service several months ago,I continue to receive bills from Verizon for $0.00. Naturally, I haven’t been paying them $0.00. I have no idea why they continue to do this. Could there be a connection?

  4. Chris says:

    Sorry, I forgot to comment on the “you can still view and pay your disconnected account online” part of Verizon’s letter. I can view–and pay– my disconnected account? Huh???

  5. mel says:

    CAUTION! I also received a letter from NCTUE today at my COLORADO residence. It stated that I have negative information on a report. Thankfully I new to be concerned. Do not send them any information!

  6. Joanne says:

    Received a letter today from NCTUE location Colorado. Looks like a scam probably is. I’m not falling for it and probably will turn it over for investigation by the postmaster for mail fraud or something along that effect

    NEVER GIVE VIA MAIL or EMAIL or electronically to somebody your not absolutely sure of – your SS# and your birth date all in one sentence

  7. Poppo says:

    I got one (Colorado Notification) today (4-13-13), dated 4-3-13. There is NO WAY we have been even late on a utility bill. The ‘return’ portion of the inquiry asks for my DOB and SSN. NO WAY I am going to send someone that info. PERIOD.

  8. AJ says:

    I just got one this week and just moved here a year ago. I didn’t know what to think until I saw the first thing they wanted was my social security number. Having lived in another state my whole life I had never received a letter for a negative report like this so I figured something was up. I would encourage everyone to “google” these things first like I did so you know for sure not to respond. What is most upsetting is that my elderly parents get stuff like this all the time and they are almost always taken in at first. They seem to target those people the most!!

  9. MARK SHIMODA says:

    I received a letter from NCTUE and it stated that I had “at least one report that added negative information to my NCTUE file.” I have all my utility bills on automatic payment so this was suspicious. Since they requested my social security number,I was suspicious. I am sure that all consumer rating companies already have my social. I did some googling and found this site and was glad to hear that so many others were suspicious of this letter. I think it is a scam. I emailed NCTUE to that effect.

  10. George Hardy says:

    Got letter today, 08-02-13, it had been forwarded from our Arizona winter address. Letter starts with, “As required by Colorado law,”.
    How on earth was this connection made? Information requested looks fishy to me. Never late on any utility bills, much less any others. Glad to have found this site. Will be requesting my annual free credit report shortly and see what it has to say (from the three major credit reporting agencies).

  11. Corinna says:

    I recently moved to Colorado (2 months ago) and today received this letter. I panicked and called the number, entered my SSN, and ordered my “free disclosure” after dutifully checking annualcreditreport.com to find spotless reports–then after an hour of worrying over this I googled it and found this blog information. Should I worry that I gave them by SSN over the phone? I didn’t give them any credit card info or my DOB. Just my SSN.

    1. It’s unlikely. I’m still less than sure precisely what these guys are up to, but my guess is that you’ll receive a pitch for services of some sort in coming weeks. The favor you could do us all here is to let us know what they eventually send you. Read the rest of the entries in this series, and beware of “ghost debt.” Whatever you do, do NOT pay any bills that they say you owe. These could be completely fabricated, but zombie debt laws could put you on the hook for the whole thing. If there’s nothing on your actual credit report from the real credit report agencies, you really don’t have anything to worry about.

  12. Debra Soucy says:

    I received a letter from NCTUE stating I had a negative credit report. The letter was dated the same day I discontinued service on my cell phone. I called the cell phone provider and they did not issue a negative report. I suspect this is a marketing gimmick. They could see I disconnected and thought they could scare me with their letter and generate some business!

  13. John says:

    So I came across this website as a result of the search on NCTUE. I am also in Colorado and also a Verizon customer. Even though this is an old thread it seems to be an ongoing situation. After reading through the comments and checking other websites I decided to call.

    Well it seems that Verizon reported me late on a payment in November…. I have never been late on any Verizon payment, and my account shows paid in full. So I filed a dispute.

    I think the issue may not be with NCTUE but with Verizon and their deceptive practices. I have been a Verizon customer for almost 10 years now and always have been in good standing. Not sure what is going on though.

  14. […] “It May Not Be NCTUE” by Jeff Duntemann on March 11, 2012 on Jeff Duntemann’s Contrapositive Diary website. […]

  15. Jag says:

    I received the same letter in Nov 2016 from NCTUE and I DID get the credit report – turns out its verizon. I say we all pursue a class-action lawsuit against verizon ruining our good credit for no reason. l am sending a letter to the FTC and to Tom Martino – Denver’s Consumer Advocate. This IS fraudulent and wherever it is manifesting from we need to address and correct it – not be complacent and ignore it!!

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