Don’t Let Zombie Debt Haunt You: Here’s What You Need To Know
You hear the word debt tossed around all the time, but do you know what it means?
Debt is an obligation that requires one party, the debtor, to pay money borrowed or otherwise withheld from another party, the creditor.
Debt may be owed by a sovereign state or country, local government, company, or individual.
There are so many different types of debts, but have you heard about Zombie Debt?
What Is Zombie Debt?
Zombie debt is a term used to describe debt that has fallen off your credit report but, for various reasons, someone is still trying to collect.
It can be debt that has been paid off, forgotten about or belonged to someone else.
Zombie debt can also be the result of identity theft, a computer error, or a creditor mistake.
Debt collectors purchase old debt from the original creditors and/or debt collection agencies for a minimal expense with the intent to secure the monies owed, even if it is only a portion of the original debt.
Here Are Some Key Things To Know About Zombie Debt
Statute of limitations: Generally, there is a six-year statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit to collect upon a debt, and a seven-year statute for reporting bad credit, but there is no statute of limitations on billing for bad debts
Validation: If you are contacted by a debt collector about a debt you do not owe anymore, or a debt you may have forgotten about, you can ask the collector to validate the debt.
This means that you can ask the collector to provide proof that the debt is yours and that they have the legal right to collect it.
Legal obligation: There is no legal obligation to pay back zombie debt, but debt collectors can be aggressive and unscrupulous in their attempts to get people to pay.
Making even a single payment on an old debt can bring it back from the dead.
Dealing with zombie debt: If you are contacted by a debt collector about zombie debt, you can take action to fight it. Here are some steps you can take
Know your enemy: Understand what zombie debt is and how it works.
Validate the debt: Ask the collector to provide proof that the debt is yours and that they have the legal right to collect it.
Don't admit to anything: Don't make any payments or acknowledge that the debt is yours until you have validated it.
Dispute the debt: If you believe the debt is not yours or that the collector is violating your rights, you can dispute the debt with the collector and/or credit bureaus.
Get help: If you are having trouble dealing with zombie debt, you can seek help from a credit counselor or attorney.
Hopefully, you never have to deal with Zombie Debt but if you do you'll know what you're dealing with.