If you’re a fan of the AMC series The Walking Dead, then you know just how bad zombies can be. However, we guarantee you that we know another kind of zombie that is worse than a horde of walkers and often harder to kill: zombie debt.
What Is Zombie Debt?
Zombie debt is the nickname given to debt that is old and shouldn’t be owed any longer. Generally, the term refers to debt that was sold to debt buyers by your original creditor for a fraction of the principal amount. Then, when you’re least expecting it, your debt rises from the dead to bite you (the debt collector who bought your debt tries to make you repay it).
The types of collectors that typically buy old debt for pennies on the dollar before coming after you for repayment can be pretty sleazy. They are notorious for using any means, even if it’s illegal, to force you to repay. They may try lying, intimidation, scare tactics and even threats in some cases.
The scariest part about zombie debt though, is that it probably isn’t even debt that you really owe. People who have been targeted by “scavenging collectors” commonly find that the debt they are being pursued for is either well beyond the statute of limitations for collection, has been discharged in bankruptcy, has been repaid already, or wasn’t even their debt to begin with.
How Do Scavengers Collect Money?
Because these scavengers paid pennies or even less than a penny on the dollar for the old debt, they can make a profit by collecting even a small amount from you. That can make these predators bold and uncaring. Some of the many tactics they employ to take money from you include:
- Threatening a lawsuit
- Verbal abuse
- Misrepresenting themselves as government agencies or law firms
- Promising to leave you alone in exchange for a small payment
- Calling your family or even your boss
Many of the tactics scavengers use are lies, and some are even illegal. Here’s what you should do if you’ve become a target.
- Don’t talk to them
- Don’t make any payments (making even a small payment will reset the statute of limitations)
- Don’t ignore a lawsuit (chances are it’s not real, but if it is, ignoring it may mean you can’t fight it later)
- Keep an eye on your credit report
- Send a letter to the scavengers telling them to stop contacting you
- Talk with a bankruptcy attorney
If things get out of hand, you may want to talk to an attorney about what you can do to make scavengers leave you alone. Constant harassment from collection agencies is hard to deal with and can be a great burden on anyone’s life. You shouldn’t have to tolerate it, and with some help from an experienced attorney, you may not have to.