The Zombie Apocalypse seems to have taken over. If you’ve been to the movie theater, watched recent television, or read any Netflix “Must Binge Watch Now”blog posts, you know this to be true. Zombie shows are back. With shows like The Walking Dead, the comic book turned TV series, becoming the most watched show on television, the zombie genre has been brought back to life. But apparently zombies are not satisfied with just entertainment industry. Zombie debt collectors seem to be on the attack as well, and you should beware.
“Zombie debt” refers to debt that seems to have been laid to rest —an old debt, no longer owed. With the growth of third party collection agencies, it has become more common for credit companies to sell their old, uncollected debt for pennies on the dollar. These collection agencies, called zombie debt collectors, buy this debt in bulk and try to collect on it. Because they get the debt so cheaply, they have nothing to lose and plenty to gain. Since anything they collect turns into profit, Zombie debt collectors are as relentless as “walkers”from the Walking Dead.
To be clear, some of this old debt is legitimate and still outstanding, but great deal of it is not. This doesn’t stop agents from trying to collect on it. Here are a few types of debt typically found in a debt zombie collector’s portfolio:
DEBT THAT YOU DO NOT OWE
This is a debt that doesn’t belong to you. It may be an error, such as a debt that you already paid off but never got cleared. Sometimes it is debt resulting from identity theft. It could be a debt that never has been yours but belongs to someone with a similar name. In any case, they will try to collect these debts from you even though you don’t owe them.
DEBT DISCHARGED IN BANKRUPTCY
Another tactic they use is pursuing debt that has already been legitimately wiped away due to bankruptcy. Obviously, they cannot legally collect on this debt, but it doesn’t stop them from trying.
DEBT THAT IS TOO OLD
There is a limit on how long a collector has to sue for an unpaid debt. This varies based on the type of debt, but some of the debt they buy has already passed the statute of limitations. They buy this debt in hopes of tricking you into paying the debt anyway.
These zombie debt collectors are crafty, and they will try anything to get you to pay. They may threaten to sue you, promise not to report it on your credit report if you pay, or wipe out the debt if you pay a small amount. But once you make a payment, the statute of limitations is reset, and they will often come after you for the full amount.
If you are unsure whether or not you really do owe this money, there is a way to find out. Do not deal with the company over the phone. Instead, get their address and send them a notice that you are disputing all or some of the debt. This will buy you time and will force them to send you verification of the original debt. They have to leave you alone until you receive this verification.
If you or someone you know is being pursued or fallen victim to a zombie debt collector, we can help. At Grand Law Firm, we can help you determine exactly what you owe and help you make sure you don’t get scammed. For a free consultation, contact us today.