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1. The first important tip is to check to make sure that the creditor has not already been "charged" or "written" off. Send the creditor a verification letter to make sure the debt has not been already paid.
2. The second tip everyone should follow is to check the statute of limitations in your state. Once the statute of limitations has expired, the debt collector cannot take you to court to collect on the debt. You still owe the money even if the statute of limitations has expired.
3. The final thing everyone should do is to make sure you have reported the income from your debt settlement properly on your income taxes. The IRS regards any debt amount forgiven as part of a debt settlement to be income to you. If you are worried about reporting your debt correctly you should consult a tax professional. One should verify what is the Statute of Limitations (SOL) are in that state, before you try to arrange the pay off a debt. Collectors only have a specific period to collect on a debt so you need to find out if the statute of limitations in your state has passed credit score.