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Dealing with "Zombie Debt"

How to protect your information and credit
Posted at 12:41 PM, Oct 31, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-01 01:24:28-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Zombie debt can catch up with you at any time, so it’s a good idea to know the guidelines especially if a debt is more than seven years old. KGUN 9 reached out to Denisse Alvarez with the Better Business Bureau of Tucson to find out how to handle aggressive phone calls from collectors.

"Zombie debt is a debt that’s been basically raised from the dead. That means it’s old debt that they’re trying to collect on. Basically, it's debt that’s past the statute of limitations but they’re still trying to get some payment from you,” Alvarez said.

If you’re not careful the caller might be a scammer with a list so don’t agree to pay anything no matter how small the amount until you do your research.

"Most people use pressure tactics like I’m calling you right now, you owe us this money. We’re going to send someone over to collect it, we’re going to get the police involved. They use all of these pressure tactics on the phone to get you involved while you’re on the phone,” Alvarez said.

According to, zombie debt has likely already affected your credit score and if you choose to pay the debt make sure it’s a real debt. Bad accounts fall off of your credit after seven years, but there are some that linger. If its past the statute of limitations in your state, it’s good to know in some cases you can’t be sued or garnished for payment

“Another thing they do is say it's going to impact your credit again and you have to know the laws of your state," Alvarez said.

Creditors drop the debt from their books and sell it to third-party collectors for pennies on the dollar

Another note is that information can also have errors. For example, you may have settled a debt, been a victim of identity theft or filed a bankruptcy and still get the call.

To find out if a company is authorized, check the Better Business Bureau website. By the way you can always double check your past and present debts for free and remember to get everything in writing.

“Look up their complaints their customer reviews. gives you one free credit report per year. It just gives you a credit report not your credit score,” Alvarez said.

Below include links for information about zombie debt: