Basically I have reason to believe that someone in my family may have used my information to open some sort of account or bill that affected my credit score before I even knew what credit was. When I turned 18 and tried getting student loans on my own (because no one in my family had good enough credit to co-sign) I was always getting denied for my credit and after finally obtaining my credit report I realized that something (that at that point had been removed from the account) had TANKED my credit score already and the several student loan inquiries I made weren't helping either. I had only made about 4 so I knew it couldn't only have been the inquiries. I eventually found a way to get my student loans but all that did was add debt to my credit report and I still had zero credit accounts open (I got denied for every credit card I applied for) so I started making student loan payments very early to work my credit score up. I've only been able to afford the payments on and off but when I can make them it helps! Anyway, I recently worked my credit score up to a high enough number to be approved for a single credit card with a pretty low credit limit for now (which I'm happy for) but that leaves me with a pretty low credit score, a large amount of student loan debt, and only one credit account open. While juggling all of this, I also (stupidly) let my roommate with the same phone company onto my sprint phone account about a year ago when I wasn't making a lot of money and having her on the bill would bring the payments down. I was the primary account holder and when she stopped paying her part of the bill in full and started racking up late payment fees that constantly had our phone lines disconnected, I asked her to get off of my account. And she did...but left all of her due payments (about $1200) in my account and switched phone companies completely. She said she'd give me the buy back check from her new company to pay it all off but after stealing from everyone in the house (from our wallets to my other roommate's car) we all just left and dealing with suddenly being homeless (staying with another friend now) and losing so much money getting out of the old lease, I completely forgot about the Sprint account. It went into collection on my account recently for a total of $1804 and dropped my score 84 points. There's literally no way I can do anything now. I was planning on maybe buying a used car a few months from now after working on my credit from where it was BEFORE but now there's no way it'll happen in the near future and I live in California now - I'm surprised I've lasted my two years here without a car so far. And I'm only 20 years old, and have already witnessed how impossible it is to get anything with bad credit. Theres no way I can wait this out, so any advice on what I can do about the account in collections? Maybe even what to do with that roommate owing me money? Or just how to climb out of a credit hole you didn't completely put yourself in in the first place? Thanks!