Hi FSU, I need some advice.
This past weekend I got a letter in the mail from our university hospital (I'm a grad student) telling me that I owe them money for lab tests - that this is the final notice and that if I don't pay up within 15 days they're going to send it to a collection agency/adverse effect on my credit score, etc.
Since I have zero recollection of having any lab tests done with them recently, I called to ask about it today. They're charging me for an EKG for atrial fibrillation done back in January - which, unless I developed amnesia, I did not have done. I told them this and the guy said they would "look into it" and couldn't give me any more information.
It doesn't seem like a scam - the number I called was our university hospital billing agency, and they did confirm that this bill exists. How it got under my name, I don't know... and that's what's worrying me, since several classmates suggested that they would have had to have my social security number to bill me. The guy on the phone did verify my name, address, phone number, and date of birth. I know my name and information is in the system for previous visits but I did not have this procedure done. Is it as easy as punching in the wrong record number to accidentally bill the wrong person?
Also weird - they said they've been sending me letters since June, but this is the first time I've gotten one.
I've put up a fraud alert on my credit reports for the next 90 days. As of last time I checked my credit report (August 8) there was nothing abnormal.
So my question is... the original letter (in all caps, very urgent sounding, mind you) informed that if it doesn't get paid off within 15 days then it will be send to a collection agency and would affect my credit score. The guy I talked to said that he would look into it but couldn't promise me anything as to when/if it would be taken care of. Several days have gone by already (weekend) and I'm worried about what would happen if they don't get it processed in time. I'm planning to keep calling the billing office until we get close to that deadline - but if it doesn't get taken care of (and I'm not that sure that it will, guy didn't sound so convincing), should I go ahead and pay it? It's $32 - not the end of the world. I would rather not pay for something I don't owe, but I'm thinking that might be easier than having to worry about removing incorrect reports on my credit score later.
There was also a huge hullabaloo in the past few weeks about a breach of the university's electronic system, but I'm thinking that might not be related if they've been sending me letters since June.
Help? I've never dealt with anything like this before so I'm awfully worried. Thanks!