Zombie debt collectors and debt scavengers sound like the villains in a
low-budget horror film. In reality, they are much scarier. These very
real people and companies specialize in bringing debts back from the dead
to haunt innocent consumers.
The term “zombie debt” refers to very old debts or debts that
are no longer collectible. These debts may be past the statute of limitations,
may belong to someone else, or may have been discharged in a settlement
or bankruptcy case. In essence, zombie debt is debt that a consumer probably
Zombie debt collectors, also known as debt scavengers, purposefully look
for these old debts and purchase them for pennies on the dollar. After
they own the debt, they attempt to revive them by harassing consumers
into making payments. Even if a consumer can prove that he or she no longer
owes the debt or that the debt is owed by someone else, these companies
maintain relentless harassment campaigns until someone pays them money.
For instance, zombie debt collectors may threaten consumers with lawsuits
even if the statute of limitations has run out. They may promise not to
report the debt on a person’s credit report, even if too much time
has passed to legally report the debt. They may also threaten to report
an old debt as a new debt on a credit report in order to hurt the consumer’s
credit. They may engage in verbal harassment or threats, or may misrepresent
themselves as attorneys or as part of a law firm. Finally, they may promise
to go away in exchange for a small payment. More often than not, harried
consumers give in and make such payments in exchange for being left alone.
If a debt scavenger or zombie debt collector targets you or your family
it is important to know what to do. First, never engage with a debt scavenger.
By speaking with a zombie debt collector, you may inadvertently provide
them with information that helps them collect the debt. Whatever you do,
do not admit to owing the debt, and do not make any payments until you
verify that you owe the debt and that it is still collectable.
Instead, request the collection company’s contact address and hang
up the phone. Next, send a certified letter to the company and ask them
to verify the debt. Additionally, you can also send a letter telling the
company to stop contacting you. The zombie debt collection company must
honor these requests or else they are in violation of the Fair Debt Collection
Practices Act (FDCPA) as well as Florida’s Consumer Collection Practices
Finally, contact an experienced debt defense attorney. An attorney like
those at Loan Lawyers can review the debt scavenger’s claims against
you and determine if you actually owe the debt and if the debt is still
collectable. If it is, our attorneys can help you negotiate a reasonable
settlement offer or payment plan. If the debt is not collectable or if
you are being illegally harassed, we can file claims on your behalf under
the FDCPA or FCCPA seeking compensation for the abuse you suffered.
To schedule a free consultation at Loan Lawyers, contact us today at (888)
FIGHT-13 (344-4813) and learn more about your legal rights.