One of the top rules of managing debt is that all consumers should regularly be checking their credit reports for mistakes and inaccurate information. Mistakes by credit reporting agencies and creditors are common but typically it is minor information that is being reported incorrectly. However, there may be a rare time that a consumer is very conscious of an outstanding debt that doesn't seem to be listed on a credit report. While it is likely not to happen to most consumers in a lifetime, there is a possibility that a true debt is missing from a debtors report.

Sure, it may seem like a wondrous time in the life of a debtor to seemingly be rid of a debt, especially a large one, the reality is that it can come back to haunt you. One reasonable explanation as to why the debt is not on a person's credit report is likely because it is on someone else's. If that consumer were to check their credit report and report the mistake, chances are very good that the debt will find its original owner. Creditors who are owed large sums of money will not hesitate to take the actions necessary to pursue the money.

Beyond the Limitations of Your State?

If you have found that your credit report is missing some information, there are several things you should do. The first step would be to check the statute of limitations on debt in your state. If the statute of limitations has passed, a creditor can still contact you regarding the debt; however, it will be no longer legal for them to collect on it. If you are confident the statute of limitation has passed, the creditor will likely stop contacting you if you can prove your are right and that you, in fact, know your rights.

If your debt is not outside the limitations of time set by the state in which you reside, it is advisable that you start putting money away toward paying off the debt. Do not contact the creditor until you are ready to deal with the debt. The only way you will be able to propose a settlement is if you have the money upfront to do so. Settling for a lesser amount or paying the debt in full will be the only two ways to be rid of a debt that has not exceeded the statute of limitations.

Start Preparing for The Payoff

You can start saving and play the waiting game to see if the creditor contacts you first, especially if the statute of limitation time is close. However, for consumers who want to make good on the debt, it is advisable to have enough money to offer at least 50-60% of the balance before making contact. If a debt is really far gone and has been outstanding for a long time, creditors will probably not be very willing to accept any kind of monthly payments. If the balance is high enough, a creditor may be inclined to take you to court if you are not ready to settle outright.

In most cases where a debt is erroneously attributed to another consumer or missed from a credit report by mistake, the mistake will be noticed and very rarely will a creditor miss an opportunity to collect on monies owed. By taking proactive measure to settle on the debts you owe, you'll be ready to face up to the financial obligations you have created and not further harm your credit or future financial life.

This is a guest post from Tisha Tolar. Tisha is a writer for, where she provides information about credit card consolidation, debt relief and how to get out of debt.


  1. John DeFlumeri Jr // September 30, 2009 at 9:40 PM  

    I'd be glad to have that happen to me!