The term “zombie debt” might sound funny, but its implications are quite serious. Put simply, zombie debt is debt that comes back to life—it’s debt that’s resurrected, even if you no longer owe it. Here’s what you need to know about zombie debt and how you can bury it forever.
What Is Zombie Debt?
If you’ve been contacted by a debt collector about a debt you don’t owe anymore, or—worse yet–see these incorrect debts on your credit report, you may be plagued by zombie debt. This type of debt appears when you least expect it, and it can include:
- Debts resolved by bankruptcy
- Debts exceeding their statute of limitations
- Previously settled debts with original creditors
Zombie debt typically involves debt that’s over three years old, has been forgotten about, has already been paid off, or belonged to someone else. It can also come from identity theft, computer errors, or fraudulent attempts to collect on debts that don’t even exist in the first place.
In many cases, the original creditor gives up on the debt and sells it to a debt collection agency. These agencies can be very unscrupulous, often making harassing and threatening phone calls. If a debt collector contacts you, always do your research to ensure it’s a legitimate claim. Old debt usually falls off your credit report after 7 years, and—in some cases—you may inadvertently take actions that actually revive the debt.
Protecting Yourself From Zombie Debt
If you’ve been contacted about a debt you don’t owe, you need to do your research and be clear on your rights. Here’s what you must do to protect yourself from zombie debt:
- Research the Debt. Determine who owed the original debt and who was responsible for it. In some cases, unscrupulous debt scavengers will try to charge you for a debt that isn’t yours. If the debt seems unfamiliar, you may have been contacted by mistake.
- Request a Debt Validation Letter. If you don’t know whether a debt belongs to you, request a validation notice from the creditor detailing the amount of the debt, when the debt was incurred, and who the original creditor is. Again, refer to your records to determine if the debt is yours and send a dispute letter to the creditor if it isn’t.
- Determine Your Next Steps. If the debt was yours and you paid it off, send a dispute letter to the creditor. In some cases, the zombie debt may be listed on your credit report, and disputing it involves contacting the three major credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Bury Zombie Debt Once and for All
If creditors are contacting you about debt, you know is non-existent, or if you’ve noticed any incorrect debts on your credit report, you need to correct it quickly—it won’t just disappear. The team of expert attorneys at Boss Law can help you leave zombie debt in the past once and for all, removing these incorrect debts from your credit report so that they no longer impact your life. Call us today at (727) 877-3188 for your free consultation.