Zombie debt haunted You don’t owe something? Right here's find out how to eliminate it

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Brains. Braaaaaains.

I'm sorry, I only channel my inner zombie. But if you're in the mood to chop off your head, forget about the fictitious walkers and consider whether to beat the zombie debt.

Zombie debts are much less fun than it sounds, but may be more frightening than undead. It's the debts – maybe a medical bill or a credit card you've never paid for – that are so old that you can no longer be accused of paying them. But debt collectors buy up the debt and then try to cheat or persuade you to make a payment for what the clock on the debt reboots and allows them to track you again.

In the United States, 71 million adults – or about 31.6% – had debts in collections reported on their creditworthiness according to a 2017 study Urban Institute study, Even with a penny on the dollar, this is a lot of money that potential zombie debt collectors – also called debt collectors – have to deter unsuspecting victims.

And it's not just that zombie debts are annoying. Negative items, such as unpaid debts, must be removed from your credit report after seven years Fair Credit Reporting Act, When your debts are resurrected, they can be reported to the credit bureaus again and affect your creditworthiness.

So use your old gadgets to stop the debt collectors using these strategies against zombie debts – no machetes required.

How Zombie Debt is born

Debts begin their lives if you do not pay your bill – it does not matter if you can or not.

After a claim has been received 180 days after the due date, it will be withdrawn. This means that the original creditor can sell your claim to a collection agency to get at least some payments for the bill. The agency will in turn contact you (often repeatedly) to recover as much debt as possible.

But debts are rarely sold, paid off and buried. A collection agency may sell your debts to another, and the next collection agency will resell them. This could take a while.

Zombie debts are not necessarily old debts – they might be debts that you have already paid, that have been wiped out in a bankruptcy or that have been misidentified and belong to someone else.

Depending on your state and your type of debt, debt will be deemed barred after three to six years without payments or activities, which means you can not be sued for it. But collectors can pay special rates for debts that they know to be old, hoping to recover even a small portion of the money.

Even if the debts exceed the statute of limitations, collectors can still contact you. If the collection agency only asks you for a small payment, you can restart the watch for your debts.

And so the zombie guilt is born.

How to ward off Zombie Debt Collectors in 3 easy steps

When a collection agency calls you for an unrecognized bill, it is important to develop a clear attack plan to avoid paying you money not owed. Do not be a victim: Here's how to fight back.

1. Request a Debt Validation Letter

As unpleasant as it may be, answering a debt collector is the first step in getting zombie debts from your back.

Yes, it can be overwhelming and scary, but this is your chance to take control of the situation. Instead of being harassed and intimidated, ask the collection agency to send you one debt settlement letter,

Professional tip

If you still have debts and want to pay them off, request a secure website where you can make your payment and keep the receipt as proof – in case the debt is later zombified.

A debt verification letter is a legal document that is published in the Law on fair collection practices (FDCPA), a federal law from 1977, which provides consumers with legal protection against abusive collection practices. Third party debtors are required by law to send you the letter on request. They must include how much you owe, who you owe them to, and what options for action you have.

Read the letter carefully for errors. If you have the information in writing, you can begin with your attack.

2. Submit a debt verification letter

They sound similar, but here's the difference between checking debts and verifying debts: A collection agency sends a confirmation letter stating what you owe while you send a letter of confirmation stating why you do not do.

By law, you have 30 days to respond after receiving a confirmation letter from a collector.

This is about explaining exactly what is in the letter of confirmation. It's not time to override financial information or try to explain your situation. If you are not sure where to start, we have one Template for a debt verification letter You can add your Zombie Combat Arsenal.

After you have sent the letter, the collection agency must stop the collection until you have been sent a debt information check or a copy of a court verdict. You then have the opportunity to negotiate the case in court or to make a payment agreement.

If you do not get an answer, there is a good chance that the debt collector was a fraudster.

But keep all your records in case another agency buys the zombie debt and tries to track you again.

3. Fight Back: Know your rights

If you've done your best to prove that you are not responsible for a debt, but the collection agency continues to persecute you, it's time to escalate the fight with the undead.

Here's what you can do and who to turn to if you're a victim of unfair collection practices:

If you still have debts and can not pay the amount owed, contact the collection agency for a repayment schedule. By Dealing with the collection agency You can negotiate a lower amount directly because the agency has not paid the full amount for your debt anyway.

If the collection agency is not prepared to make an offer that does not yet meet your needs, contact us credit consultants – The member organizations' directories can be found at the Financial Counseling Organization of America or the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC).

With a little diligence, hard work and meticulous recording, you can bury these debts once and for all.

Tiffany Wendeln Connors is author and editor of The Penny Hoarder. Read her bio and other work here, then she starts on Twitter @TiffanyWendeln.

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