I recently received a letter from this debt collection company claiming I owed $400 to AT&T and that I was under collection. Since I had never had an account with AT&T, this perplexed me. I reacted by calling Cavalry. They were very evasive, and kept urging me to "work with them" and not contact the Credit Reporting Agencies or AT&T. I told them unequivocally that I was not the person they were looking for, so they responded by sending me an "identity theft" packet. Since I knew that I was not the victim of the identity theft (and that they just had the wrong person), I pretty much ignored this. (Good idea on my part--Don't play this game with them).
Anyway, I called AT&T, and long story short, they did not have the account number listed by Cavalry linked to my name or any former address.
Fortunately, I am a law student (currently taking Bankruptcy law--lucky me), and I did some research on this. Essentially, what CPS is doing is called "fishing." They bought uncollected debt from AT&T wireless, and are now attempting to collect on it . . . totally legit so far. What is not so legit is that they are doing very little research as to whom actually owes the money. If you have a common name, they are basically "fishing" by sending collection notices to pretty much everyone with that name in that state/county and hoping that 1 out of 3 will settle for the VERY KIND terms in the settlement agreements they send out. This way, they don't have to do any research, and they can still get paid on the claims (since most people would rather just pay the relatively small amount than take the credit hit). This is very illegal, and I have no doubt they will soon be sued for big $$.
So now for the good news and the bad news:
The GOOD NEWS is that if you have received the notice within the last 30 days, you can get rid of this problem pretty easily. If you even have any doubt in your mind whether you are the person they are seeking, you need to send them a written demand that they verify the debt in accordance with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act within 30 days of receiving notice. Make sure you tell them (1) that you are disputing the debt, (2) that you are not the person they are seeking, (3) that you have never had an account with AT&T, (4) that you are demanding verification pursuant to the Federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, and (5) that you expect a reply within 2 weeks. Make sure to reference the account number they gave you, send it certified mail with return receipt, and keep a copy for your records.
If you do this, they will cancel your "account." You will still likely have to notify the Credit Reporting Agencies to dispute the debt that is likely already listed on your report, but it's better than having an active collection notice. Fortunately, I sent my verification demand 25 days after receiving the notice, so I avoided a big headache.
Oh, and one last thing, DO NOT call this company under any circumstances. Do all of your correspondence in writing. Calling them will just be a waste of your time, and you will come away VERY frustrated.
Now, for the BAD NEWS. If, at the time you are reading this, you received your notice over 30 days ago, your options are considerably more limited. You can still get relief, but it's going to be much more difficult. If you think it is worth your time to get this thing off your record and have the "debt" forgiven, then you need to contact an attorney. You are going to have to bring suit against the company, probably by joining an existing class action. Your damages are pretty much capped at $1000 unless there is obvious bad faith, so it is up to you to decide whether it is worth the trouble. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news.
I hope this helps.