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Amy Nickson On 20th Sep,19
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Zombie debt: What tricks do debt scavengers apply and how to cope up
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You can be tricked into repaying some old debts that might have been crossed the SOL (Statute of Limitations) or have been written off. Many debt collectors are tricking consumers to snatch the money. You could be one of them if you don’t know how to deal with the zombie debt and fraud debt collectors.

What does zombie debt mean?

It is a debt that has been long forgotten, no longer owed and has crossed the SOL. But that debt can rise again if a debt collector attempts fraudulently to collect it by going against the law.

How can the debt scavengers trick you for a zombie debt?

Debt scavengers often use many illegal tricks to collect an old debt from consumers. They try many tricks in the hope of collecting at least a small part of the debt.
Below are the tricks they use:

  • Debt scavengers target the debt that has crossed the SOL period

    For an unpaid debt, creditors or collectors have a limited time depending on the state’s rule during which they can sue the debtor. The duration when the creditors or collectors can sue a debtor is called SOL (Statute of Limitations). The SOL period can be 3-7 years depending on the state’s rule where the debt has been taken.
    If the creditor and debt collectors don’t try to collect the debt during the SOL, then they lose the power of filing a lawsuit against the debtor. So, according to the rule, the unpaid debt becomes forgotten or uncollectible debt.

    But, some debt scavengers or zombie debt collectors often buy debts in which the SOL period is over. They try to scare the debtors by the name of the debt to snatch money from them. Due to lack of knowledge regarding the FDCPA law, many debtors get scared with these kind of illegal debt collection practices. They give money to the debt scavengers for an old zombie debt.

  • Debt scavengers can call you for a debt that doesn’t belong to you

    You can get a call from debt scavengers for a debt that is not yours. The debt might belong to a different person with the same name. The debt collectors can now get your name and other data from any place and can haunt you for a debt that simply does not belong to you.

  • Debt scavengers can make a monetary deal with you for a zombie debt

    Sometimes, fraud debt collectors can call you for a long-forgotten debt and try to make you believe that the debt still exists and you can get sued for it.
    Once you get scared, they can console you by making an agreement of a small payment for the debt.
    Unfortunately, once you agree for the payment, the SOL gets applied again for the debt and collector will come again for the full payment.
    Remember, as per the law, the SOL will be reapplied once a debtor recognizes a debt that has crossed the SOL period.
    Thus, you shouldn’t react with such kind of trick that debt collectors might apply to you. If you recognize the debt as yours, the SOL time will start again and you have to make the full payment including the interest charges.

  • Debt scavengers can make a false promise not to report the debt to credit bureaus

    Usually, the listing of an unpaid debt remains on your credit report for 7 years. Once the period is over, the debt collector cannot report the debt to the credit reporting agencies.But, debt scavengers can make a fake promise that they wouldn't report the debt to the credit reporting agencies. In return, they can ask for money.
    You should avoid these debt collectors who make fake promises about unauthentic subjects.

  • Debt scavengers can abuse verbally or threaten you

    In most cases, fraud debt collectors can try to scare consumers by giving threats of filing lawsuits. For a time-barred debt, they can’t sue a debtor. But, with this tactic, they often snatch money from debtors.
    Debt scavengers also often use abusive languages and harass consumers for the money that they shouldn’t do; the law prohibits them to do so. If this happens to you, then you can file a complaint against them. Here’s what a debt collector can’t do with a debtor.

How to protect yourself from zombie debt collectors

The best way to avoid zombie debt collectors is knowing the rules and regulations implemented by the FDCPA. You should know how to respond to a debt collector. There are some ways you can avoid debt collectors who are harassing you for a zombie debt.
Here you go:

  • Ignore the suspicious phone calls from debt scavengers

    If you get phone calls regarding a debt that you believe is not yours, then ignore the calls. The debt scavengers are trying to trick you by calling you repeatedly.

  • Respond to a letter or an email from debt collector carefully

    If you receive a letter or an email from debt collectors regarding a long-forgotten debt, then don’t respond to the letters immediately. You should respond to such letters if there is a good legal reason to do so.

  • Don’t recognize a debt over the phone

    As I have said earlier that recognizing a time-barred debt can restart the SOL clock, so you shouldn’t recognize or acknowledge a debt over phone or email. If they are forcing you to pay off the debt, then ask them to validate the debt first.

  • Ask for their address

    If you believe that the calls are from debt scavengers, then ask for their address and ask them to send you a certified letter regarding the matter. Unless you get any written proof, don’t talk to the collector about any settlement.

  • Respond to a summon carefully

    If you receive any legal papers from a debt collector, then respond to the letter. If the debt has passed the SOL, then the judge will dismiss the case. However, you should appear in court, otherwise, the case can turn in to the collector's favor.

  • Seek help from an attorney

    If you are getting harassing and threatening calls from some debt collectors, then seek advice from an attorney to know what to do in this situation. FDCPA has formulated laws to protect consumers from debt scavengers. So, the lawyer can guide you to get over this situation.

Lastly, debt scavengers know that the common people are rarely aware of the rules and regulations. Thus, they take advantage of the consumer’s ignorance and run the zombie debt business. To get protected, you should know what is the SOL period in your state. You should also check your credit report from time to time. This kind of awareness can help you to avoid getting trapped for a long-forgotten zombie debt.

Last Updated on: Fri, 20 Sep 2019

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