I wrote before about zombie debts. Now Clark Howard posts this on his useful website:
“SCAM ALERT: Zombie debt is a lucrative and illegal part of the debt-collection world that Clark wants to warn you about. Scavenger collectors buy up expired debts that can be up to 30 years old for as little as 1 penny on the dollar. Then they unleash vicious collectors to try to collect, and frequently violate the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act in the process. They may be going after debts set aside in bankruptcy; stemming from ID theft; or that have passed the statute of limitations, which is typically 4 years on credit card debt. There is no legal way they can collect these debts, but that doesn’t stop the scavengers from trying to intimidate you.
This is not a discussion about whether or not you should you pay your bills; this is about what your rights are on old debts. The scavengers are so good that they typically collect about 13 cents on every dollar. Many of them also engage in illegal activities by wrongfully putting old debts back on your credit report; harassing you over the phone; or secretly taking money out of your account. If you’re being harassed by a zombie debt collector, send them a certified letter stating the debt is invalid and instructing them to stop contacting you. But beware that scavengers don’t care if the debt is valid. They’ve declared war on your wallet and will use any tactics. Be tough and know your rights.”
Clark is right: Know your rights and, as David Horowitz used to say, fight back!