Zombie Debt May be Lurking in Your Financial Statements

By KBJR News 1

October 5, 2012 Updated Oct 5, 2012 at 8:44 AM CDT

Think zombies only show up in a fictional apocalypse?.... think again.
They could be lurking in your financial statements.

Zombie debt is that old, old debt that you probably forgot you owned."

Much like something out of a bad horror movie, zombie debt is debt that comes back to life --even if it's been settled-- and can haunt you for years.

"Even though you may have resolved it, it may have gotten sold anyway. And the debt collectors make money if they convince you to pay," says Duluth bankruptcy attorney Yvonne Michaud Novak.

These debt collectors buy lists of names from banks, credit card companies, and the like, and then hunt down the person they believe matches the name on the list.

"There are often times cases where the person simply doesn't owe it, that they did pay it back," says Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson.

And that's when an otherwise legal practice crosses the line.

The Minnesota Attorney General is trying to get justice for victims with this lawsuit.

"We have one lawsuit pending right now against a debt buyer for targeting people who didn't owe the money, and pursuing the wrong people."

The best way to protect yourself from debt buyers is to not engage with them when they call.

"Get the address of the company that's calling you. Send them a letter that says you dispute the debt, and to cease and desist from contacting me," says Novak.

"Keep everything. In this day and age, keep your paperwork," adds Swanson.

If you are being targeted by debt buyers, or you think you may have unsettled debt, Lutheran Social Service in Duluth is a local organization that can help.

LSS provides free and confidential budget and debt counseling. Click here to visit their website. Or call (888) 577-2227

Courtney Godfrey
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