My present husband and I have been married since 2001. When we got married we merged our 2 households resulting in 8 children to care for. By 2003 we had collected $100,000 in unsecured debt. We were able to resolve this debt with the help of my father. My father loaned us the money and then wrote it off as a gift every year until it was repaid. His reason for doing this was that he could see that we were drowning and I was in very bad health, unsure if I would be able to continue to work.
We continued to pay on the secure debt, regularly. After paying off the credit card companies I closed all but 2 accounts. As a result of paying off this unsecured debt, my credit rating improved dramatically. We began receiving offers for additional credit cards. My health continued to be an issue for another 2 1/2 years, until I discovered what the problem was and then I had to enter into a program to manage it. I have to admit that I did not pay much attention to where our money was going and whether we were living within our means. I simply paid the bills and when there wasn’t enough money for the things we needed, those were changed to the credit cards.
Late in 2005, I became aware that someone was trying to open credit cards in my name. I reported the attempts to the FTC and began to watch my credit reports. I thought I stopped the attempts at ID theft.
In 2006, I made a decision to take a year off of work in order to get my health under control. early in 2007, I became very aware that we were once again in trouble. So, I consulted a Bankruptcy Attorney. I was told that it was too soon to file Bankruptcy and that I needed to let my credit cards go to collections before I filed. Even at that point I knew that we would not be able to handle the debt. I also wasn’t sure that I would be returning to work.
By 2008 I was being harassed by a number of collection companies and things were very stressful. I decided that the best thing to do was to get involved with a debt elimination company-CCDN, I did so early in 2009, to the tune of $7000 that I borrowed from my 403b. Initially, everything looked pretty good, but then I began to notice I was doing all the work and while the collection companies were not calling the ones that I had dealt with were passing the debt to other companies.
The people at CCDN kept saying to continue sending notices to cease and desist. In the process of filing my own notices, I finally looked at the debt statements from back 2003 to 2006 and noticed that there was more activity on those credit cards than I remembered. I shared my suspensions with the support team at CCDN only to be placated with a weak assurance that we would take care of that when they help me to re-build my credit.
Early in 2010, I discovered that I needed surgery and was going to have to be off work for another extended period of time. I attempted to resolve some of the outstanding issues with CCDN only to discover they had vanished.
After doing some research, I discovered CCDN was a SCAM program and that I had been duped.
Now I am sitting here with a PILE of collection notices, again. I am afraid that someone is going to sue me and that I will have to start trying to repay all these people at once, when we simply don’t have the means to do this. We have been living on an all cash basis since 2006, when I stopped paying the credit cards. We do alright, but there isn’t much left at the end of the month. I do feel like our spending is much more under control, but I do not believe that we could take 6-7 credit collection companies attaching my wages.
In addition, I learned that in 2009 my father joined my brother and myself to his irrevocable trust, we now earn money from this trust, but don’t get to touch the money, although we pay the taxes on the income that is reported.
As I am aware that you don’t believe that debt settlement or debt management programs are very successful, is my best choice bankruptcy at this point? Will I even be allowed to do this if my income tax reports are declaring additional income on a K-1? How do I sort out what is my debt and what is fraudulent, or do I just ask to be forgiven all the debt? It is a sure bet that the person (s) that stole my identity are beyond reach at this point, is there some concession for what was charged in my name?
Well hopefully your health has stabilized or improved and there is a silver lining in there someplace.
To address identity theft you need to notify the credit card company at the time it is noticed and file a police report to document your claim. The credit card company will begin an internal investigation and you will not be responsible for those charges. It is not clear to me if you did that when it appeared. You said you contacted the FTC, but that is informational only and the FTC does not resolve individual issues.
I’m sorry to hear you got snagged by CCDN. Many people wound up in bad shape as a result of that debt relief company.
You eluded to the fact you had looked into bankruptcy in 2007 but you were told it was too early to file. So that makes be believe you had previously filed. Has enough time now passed making you eligible to file again?
The bottom line is that some intervention is going to be required. I would suggest you first consult with a local bankruptcy attorney licensed in your state and then come back and post an update in the comments. Let’s approach this situation in stages. So that would be step 1.
Please post your responses and follow-up messages to me on this in the comments section below.