Send letters to the bureaus
If the debt really is too old be reported, it's time to write the credit bureau(s).
While email is allowed, this is one time you're better off with snail mail, says Hendricks.
"If you do (email), that can mean that no human being ever sees it," he says. "So I recommend people do not do it online."
When you dispute an old debt, the bureau will ask the creditor reporting it to verify the debt. If it can't, the debt has to come off your report.
What you want to do: Make a case so strong that the creditor will have to acknowledge that it's correct or present tangible evidence to the contrary. So include copies of anything that supports your claim, such as copies of court filings that show the correct date for a judgment or bankruptcy, or a letter from your original creditor showing when the account became delinquent.
If a collection agency is reporting an account as a different (and newer) debt, include any paperwork that shows the two accounts are really the same debt.
Send this letter certified with a return receipt requested so that you can prove when it was sent and that it was received.