How much can one bad report on your credit report hurt your credit score?

I’m 26 and up until now have had impeccable credit — I have 4 credit cards that I’ve held for between 3 and 7 years, all always paid on time, a mortgage started 3.5 years ago always paid on time, and a couple of car loans that have been paid off. But recently, I was contacted about a bill that I never heard of before, and am being threatened to have a collections agency go after me and post a negative item on my credit report. The bill is $ 500 and I could pay it, but I feel like this is extortion and I shouldn’t play along. If they do post a negative item that I can’t get rid of, how much can it drop my credit score?

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