If you haven’t been watching The Walking Dead on the AMC TV station on Sunday nights, you have been missing some great drama. The action takes place in the 21st Century after a weird virus infects human beings causing them to become zombies when they die. I personally am not crazy about the use of the zombie genre, but the storyline and cast of characters are great. The producers of the TV drama have made a comic book series out of the production and no one can better make use of a writing hook than comic book writers. That is, unless of course, you are Junk Debt Buyer (JDB) who has bought zombie debt. Everyone in bankruptcy circles knows JDBs are masters of hooking debtors into paying off zombie debt.
Zombie debt is a relatively new colloquial term. The term usually refers to debts that have passed the legal statutes of limitations for collection purposes, been discharged in bankruptcy, or have been falsely associated with a debtor the debt does not belong. A zombie debt is considered a dead debt. The debts come back to life when new owners of the debt places them back in collection. Hence, giving the name zombie to the debt.
JDBs are a new breed of agencies that buy new and old debt in package deals for pennies on the dollar. Many times, some of the debt bought ends up being zombie debt. The new owners spend the time investigating to see if the zombie debt can be collected. The collection process can be time consuming, stressful, but very rewarding for the persistent collection of debt.
Most zombie debt is not accompanied with a lot of supporting data and evidence concerning the original debt. Sometimes, these debts can be falsely obtained through illegal means such as identity theft. A JDB would not have this information, and the only information they have concerning a debt is related to your name and maybe a credit card number. This type of zombie debt can create huge problems for an innocent consumer. Just like zombies, zombie debt can be very hard to kill.
Filing for bankruptcy protection effectively kills discharged debt, but JDBs sometimes bring the debt back to life in order to haunt you by trying to collect the debts anyway. Most JDBs are counting on the fact you do not know your legal rights when it comes to collection. Just like in the TV show, when the zombies surround a victim, the victim panics and plays right into the zombie’s hands. That is exactly what a JDB wants you to do, panic and play right into their hands.
A JDB cannot legally collect a debt that has been discharged in bankruptcy and is in violation of the law if they try. They cannot collect a zombie debt that has passed the statutes of limitations in their state if you do not acknowledge you owe the debt. The zombie debt can only be brought back to life legally if you acknowledge you owe the debt, and the debt has not been discharged in bankruptcy.
Your best defense against the walking dead of zombie debt might be to file for bankruptcy protection to make sure the debts cannot legally come back to life again to haunt you.
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