"As the name suggests, zombie debt is debt that you thought was dead, but has come back to life," said Katie Bossler, GreenPath financial wellness expert.
"It could be a debt you already paid off, a debt that has passed the collectable statute of limitations, or is a debt that is simply not yours that a debt collector is targeting you to pay," she continued.
In the spirit of the season, Bossler put together five things you should know, to avoid getting bit by zombie debt:
- Review your records. Is this a debt that you agree you owe? Did you already pay it off? Having good records is key.
- Pull your credit report to see if it is being reported to the credit bureau. You can do so for free at www.annualcreditreport.com.
- Ask the debt collector to send proof in writing of the debt they are claiming you owe. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has sample letters you can send. Go to www.consumerfinance.gov and search "debt collector letter".
- Know your rights! Don't let the debt collector bully you. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act protects you against abusive collection tactics. Go to the Federal Trade Commission website at www.ftc.gov to learn more.
- If it is a debt that you owe, but believe it may be past the statute of limitations, you may reach out to an attorney or local legal aid agency for further assistance.
Bossler says if you have been contacted by a debt collector for payment on a zombie debt, you can file a complaint with your State Attorney General's office, the Federal Trade Commission or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.
Don't get bit by zombie debt! By taking a few steps, this Halloween can be filled with treats and no tricks!
GreenPath provides in-person credit counseling, financial education and debt management services in more than 60 locations in 17 states. The company also offers licensed services by phone and Internet throughout the United States. For more information about GreenPath, visit www.greenpath.org or call (866) 648-8122.
Keep up with GreenPath Financial Wellness online: www.facebook.com/greenpathdebt and www.twitter.com/greenpathdebt.
About GreenPath Financial Wellness
GreenPath Financial Wellness is a nationwide, non-profit financial counseling and education organization. GreenPath has been empowering people to lead financially healthy lives since 1961. Their financial experts partner with consumers to ease financial stress, manage debt, save for the future, make smart financial decisions, and achieve their financial goals. Headquartered in Farmington Hills, Michigan, GreenPath operates about 60 branch offices in 17 states. They also deliver licensed services throughout the United States over the Internet and telephone. GreenPath is a member of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC), and is accredited by the Council on Accreditation (COA). The organization has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. For more information, visit www.greenpath.org.
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SOURCE GreenPath Debt Solutions