Credit card debt is the most common type of debt in the US, with 191 million people having at least one credit card account. Unfortunately, late payments can sometimes follow, leading to debt in collections. This can harm your credit score, making it difficult to apply for loans or buy a home. However, there is a dangerous financial phenomenon known as "zombie debt" that can repeatedly hurt your credit report.
"Zombie debt" refers to debt that has been paid, had the statute of limitations expire, or was never owed in the first place, but still reappears on your credit report as a result of collections attempts. This happens when the old or expired debt resurfaces due to changes made to the credit report. For example, if a creditor changes the date or deletes information from the credit report, the debt could return instead of being properly suppressed.
Tampa attorneys Sami Thalji has been helping consumers fight zombie debt for over two decades. He says that zombie debt often occurs when a debt is not properly suppressed, allowing it to reappear on a consumer's credit report. The reality is that this is by design due to a debt collection market that uses intentional and illegal tactics to take money from unsuspecting consumers. This can lead to an uphill battle against multiple collection agencies.
U.S. Air Force veteran Jesse James is one of many people who has fallen victim to zombie debt. He found himself battling this issue after returning from a tour overseas. His wife had taken over their finances while he was away and made a payment on a credit card bill that James never even knew existed. Despite trying to argue with the credit company, James was told he owed the debt, and it eventually went to collections. A court ruled that the debt belonged to another person named Jesse James, but the debt still reappeared when James tried to purchase a home. It took four years to resolve the issue, putting James' livelihood and job at risk.
It's crucial to be aware of the dangers of zombie debt and the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). The FDCPA is a federal law that regulates debt collection practices and protects consumers from abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices. If you believe a debt collector has violated the FDCPA, you should contact a consumer lawyer for assistance.
In conclusion, protecting your credit report from zombie debt is critical to your financial success. If you're a victim of zombie debt or believe your rights under the FDCPA have been violated, don't hesitate to reach out to a consumer lawyer for help.