The plaintiffs in many collection lawsuits cannot prove anything. In many cases, the plaintiffs are debt buyers that pay five cents on the dollar or less for the right to collect debts. If you never dealt with the company that is suing you, it is probably a debt buyer.
Debt buyers play a numbers game. If 5% of the people they sue defend and win, they don't care. They know that 75% will have default judgments entered against them, followed by wage deductions and bank account garnishments.
If you are sued by a debt buyer, the question is not whether you might owe money to someone, but whether you owe the amount claimed to the debt buyer suing you. Never assume that you owe someone money just because they are demanding money from you. We have had cases where the same debt was supposedly sold to two different buyers, or where a debt was settled and the “balance” then sold. In other cases, the amount claimed is inflated.
It is important that you do not default (fail to appear in court), and that you vacate any defaults that exist right away. Debt buyers count on your defaulting in order to win. Once they have a default judgment, they will try to garnish your wages and bank accounts. As a federal court recently pointed out:
The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act seeks “to eliminate abusive debt collection practices by debt collectors.” 15 U.S.C. § 1692(e) . . . Consumer debts covered by the Act are usually too small to justify a lawsuit unless the suit is promptly defaulted, thereby enabling the debt collector to obtain—without incurring significant litigation cost—a judgment that it can use to garnish the debtor’s wages. Given “the costs of litigation and the difficulties establishing the debt, when a debt collector cannot get payment through phone calls and letters and it has to go to court, the debt collector will often rely on default judgments as the last resort. . . .