How to Know That a Debt Buyer Owns Your Account

Debt buyers purchase charged off debts from creditors.

Debt buyers purchase charged off debts from creditors.

Tying the knot means tying your financial futures together. When your finances go bad, you may end up dealing with debt buyers. Debt buyers, or collection agencies, purchase charged off debts from your original creditor. Once this process occurs, the debt transfers to the collection agency who may use many different tactics to try to collect from you. Almost all debt buyers contact the debtor when they purchase a debt to arrange for payment. When this doesn’t happen, you'll need to find out who the debt buyer is that owns your account.

Obtain copies of your credit reports from all three of the major credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian and TransUnion. Your credit report shows your revolving credit, collections and judgments. You can obtain one free copy of your report per year through the AnnualCreditReport.com website.

Locate the debt or revolving credit account on your credit report. Look for terms such as "Charge Off" or "Purchased by Another Lender." These two phrases indicate that your original creditor sold the debt to a debt buyer to earn back some of the money lost when you defaulted on the account.

Locate the "Adverse Accounts" section of your credit report. Look for any new accounts listed as a "Collection Agency." Collection agency entries indicate the original creditor and the total amount owed to the debt buyer.

Call your creditor and ask them whether they have sold your debt. When a creditor sells a debt to a debt buyer, they maintain records. Call them to ask if they still own the debt or if they charged it off to a debt buyer. Ask the original creditor for the debt buyer's contact information if they inform you that they sold your account.


  • Check your spouse's credit report. The debt may be listed in their name.
  • The Fair Credit Reporting Act oversees the methods debt buyers may use to collect on debts.


  • Charged off debts are deemed uncollectable and are written off by the original creditor. This does not mean you do not owe the money to fulfill the debt -- it just means that the original creditor has given up on collecting it from you and written it off of its books by selling the debt to a third party.

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About the Author

Leigh Thompson began writing in 2007 and specializes in creating content for websites. She has been published online in various capacities. Thompson has an associate degree in information technology from the University of Kansas and is working on a bachelor's degree in business and personal finance.

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