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Should I worry (junk debt buyer)

New Contributor

Should I worry (junk debt buyer)

So on top of my BK, about 3 weeks ago, I started getting phone calls from random numbers. Robo calls that were asking for me by maiden name and giving me the same call back number. Figured it was spam/scammers. Looked into the return call number and it came up as a number of differnt names but apparently they buy junk debts. 

 

The company that called me was Source One. I answered the call and was told that I owed like $1k for a credit card that I never had (Chase) and gave me an account number to a really old card that had long since been settled with the orginal creditor and dropped off my credit report. I told the agent to send me a debt validation, gave him my current mailing address and my junk email (they asked for this because they said they would also send me the validation through my email).

 

Calls stopped coming for about 2 days, when they started back up again using a different number, but the same call back number and case number. I answered and the girl I spoke with was so combative. This time she told me that the card in question was a Capital 1 Visa and would only give me the last 4 digits of the card (which did sound familiar). Never had any Cap 1 except the two recents that were included in my current BK and the last 4 didn't match either of those cards. She was not so friendly and told me that they were not required to send me any debt validation (um... yes you are honey LOL) and of course threatened me with a law suit, etc., then hung up. 

 

It's been about a week and they haven't called back since. Should I worry that this could be something other than an old junk buyer who some how got a hold of really old settled debt or could this be Identity Theft? The first agent didn't throw any red flags other than of course, not having the right card name, and I have never received any validation to either my email or mailing address, but the second agent clearly threw red flags with the threats and trying to tell me that they did not have to send validation, I mean clearly against the law and all. I am worried now because they did have an account number that I used to have and the second agent had the last 4 of some old card that I clearly remember, I just can't place which card it was. 

 

What should I do, if anything? 

Message 1 of 15
14 REPLIES 14
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)

Welcome to the myFICO forums!

 

To answer your question about "junk debt" or "zombie debt" is this. Junk or zombie debt is simply debt that has exceeded the statute of limitations for winning a lawsuit against you. That does not mean some idiot junk debt buyer won't try to file a lawsuit in small claims court hoping you will not show up to defend yourself. It is zombie debt because, if it is yours, you still owe on the debt and the debt collector can still attempt to collect it. They pay pennies on the dollar for the debt in hopes of a payoff in the end. The debt owed will not die, hence zombie.

 

A junk debt buyer might pay 1% to 3% of the cost of the original debt. So a $1000 debt cost them $10 to $30 and if they can settle it for half  $500 or even a quarter $250 of the original $1000 the zombie debt buyer has made his money.

 

Reading through your post, my concern is that this may be an attempt to social engineer information from you. I suggest a way to defend yourself is to 1) write down the time and numbers when you receive a call and a brief note of the conversation of what company called you, who you talked to, agent ID,  and what was discussed and actions they proposed or threatened. 2) When you ask them to validate the debt, tell them to send it to your current address on your credit report. If they are a legitimate collection agency they will have access to your credit report and if they don't have your current address and access your file, it will create a soft inquiry which will further identify the collection agency. If they threaten to sue you, be sure to tell them to have to process server go to the address on your credit report. If they are legit they have access, and if they do sue you, you want to be served so you can answer the sue and not get a summary judgment against you.

 

My credit report is clean as a whistle now. I have several soft inquiries on my credit reports from collection agencies that pop up each year and attempts by zombie debt collectors trying to collect on very old accounts. They simply can't give me enough information to even identify the debt to satisfy me that it is even mine. I have an old WaMu CC that defaulted in 2008 and Charged Off in early 2009. A zombie agent kept trying to tell me it was a Chase credit card account. I never had a Chase credit card. Chase inherited the debt when they took over WaMu. I just keep telling them, sorry I just can't help you, that isn't mine. They too can't or won't validate the debt, nor have they served me a lawsuit. But they keep popping up on my credit report as a soft pull every three to six months checking my credit.

 

Just be diligent and wary of social engineering. Don't admit to the debt, and don't make it any easier for them to attempt to collect on the debt. 

















Your FICO credit scores are not just numbers, it’s a skill.

Message 2 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)

To add to Medic's response, I would let them know you filed BK, give them your attorney's contact info and tell them to cease further communication directly with you.







Message 3 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)


@ScooterMcDoodlebutt wrote:

To add to Medic's response, I would let them know you filed BK, give them your attorney's contact info and tell them to cease further communication directly with you.


Unfortunately, the accounts that the supposed CA is trying to collect on, the OP doesn't know about which is why I am suspicious of social engineering by the callers. Besides, if the accounts are not yours, you can't IIB.

















Your FICO credit scores are not just numbers, it’s a skill.

Message 4 of 15
Established Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)


@Medic981 wrote:

@ScooterMcDoodlebutt wrote:

To add to Medic's response, I would let them know you filed BK, give them your attorney's contact info and tell them to cease further communication directly with you.


Unfortunately, the accounts that the supposed CA is trying to collect on, the OP doesn't know about which is why I am suspicious of social engineering by the callers. Besides, if the accounts are not yours, you can't IIB.


True, but either way let them deal with the attorney. He can advise them that the debt is incorrect and to quit harassing their client. Just my 2 cents.







Message 5 of 15
New Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)


@Medic981 wrote:

Welcome to the myFICO forums!

 

To answer your question about "junk debt" or "zombie debt" is this. Junk or zombie debt is simply debt that has exceeded the statute of limitations for winning a lawsuit against you. That does not mean some idiot junk debt buyer won't try to file a lawsuit in small claims court hoping you will not show up to defend yourself. It is zombie debt because, if it is yours, you still owe on the debt and the debt collector can still attempt to collect it. They pay pennies on the dollar for the debt in hopes of a payoff in the end. The debt owed will not die, hence zombie.

 

A junk debt buyer might pay 1% to 3% of the cost of the original debt. So a $1000 debt cost them $10 to $30 and if they can settle it for half  $500 or even a quarter $250 of the original $1000 the zombie debt buyer has made his money.

 

Reading through your post, my concern is that this may be an attempt to social engineer information from you. I suggest a way to defend yourself is to 1) write down the time and numbers when you receive a call and a brief note of the conversation of what company called you, who you talked to, agent ID,  and what was discussed and actions they proposed or threatened. 2) When you ask them to validate the debt, tell them to send it to your current address on your credit report. If they are a legitimate collection agency they will have access to your credit report and if they don't have your current address and access your file, it will create a soft inquiry which will further identify the collection agency. If they threaten to sue you, be sure to tell them to have to process server go to the address on your credit report. If they are legit they have access, and if they do sue you, you want to be served so you can answer the sue and not get a summary judgment against you.

 

My credit report is clean as a whistle now. I have several soft inquiries on my credit reports from collection agencies that pop up each year and attempts by zombie debt collectors trying to collect on very old accounts. They simply can't give me enough information to even identify the debt to satisfy me that it is even mine. I have an old WaMu CC that defaulted in 2008 and Charged Off in early 2009. A zombie agent kept trying to tell me it was a Chase credit card account. I never had a Chase credit card. Chase inherited the debt when they took over WaMu. I just keep telling them, sorry I just can't help you, that isn't mine. They too can't or won't validate the debt, nor have they served me a lawsuit. But they keep popping up on my credit report as a soft pull every three to six months checking my credit.

 

Just be diligent and wary of social engineering. Don't admit to the debt, and don't make it any easier for them to attempt to collect on the debt. 


Thank you! This sounds exactly like what is happening. Since they have stopped calling, I am a bit worried they might try to file suit and hope I don't see it since they clearly didn't update my address with the first call (the second agent verified my old address again) and wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise. Based on the account number they seem to have, it was an old debt that had gone to collections, but I had settled with the orginal creditor, so it's entirely possible that the original collection agency sold that debt off in a big old bundle. 

 

Do soft inquires show up in the same place as hard inquires on my credit report? Under Credit Karma and Experian, I don't see any inquiries out of the norm. 

 

Sounds like maybe I should keep a close eye on the courts locally just in case these bottom feeders try something. From the way the second agent was acting, it seems like it could be something they could try to do. Unfortunatly my maiden last name is a very, very common last name, so if they use my many years old address and my maiden name, they could have easily slipped it past me.

Message 6 of 15
New Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)


@ScooterMcDoodlebutt wrote:

To add to Medic's response, I would let them know you filed BK, give them your attorney's contact info and tell them to cease further communication directly with you.


So I did try to call them back after the second agent to tell them this exactly, seeing that might scare them off, especially since they the second card they said it was, was a Capital One, but the phone number they give you to call is not answered and goes to a voicemail box that is full!

Message 7 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)


@Ge_Gi29 wrote:

but the phone number they give you to call is not answered and goes to a voicemail box that is full!

This screams scam to me. A legitimate collection agency would want you to be able to call back and work with them so they can collect their money. I have a feeling that this is either a zombie debt collector working on a shoestring budget or someone who does not want you to be able to get back with them, such as a scammer. Tread very cautiously with these folks.

















Your FICO credit scores are not just numbers, it’s a skill.

Message 8 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)


@Medic981 wrote:

@Ge_Gi29 wrote:

but the phone number they give you to call is not answered and goes to a voicemail box that is full!

This screams scam to me. A legitimate collection agency would want you to be able to call back and work with them so they can collect their money. I have a feeling that this is either a zombie debt collector working on a shoestring budget or someone who does not want you to be able to get back with them, such as a scammer. Tread very cautiously with these folks.


Yeah, sounds eerily familiar to the "IRS" scamming folks..

They may offer to let you "pay your debt" via ITunes cards. /eye-roll

 

OP- Be careful and follow the advice above.

Do NOT give them any personal info other than the name & number of your attorney! 




Message 9 of 15
Valued Contributor

Re: Should I worry (junk debt buyer)


@Ge_Gi29 wrote:

Do soft inquires show up in the same place as hard inquires on my credit report?


As a resident of one of the Magnificent 7 States, that grant it's residents an additional free credit report from the 3Bs, I request a free CR every two months rotating through the CRAs. It is on the hard copy CRs that I see the soft inquiries that CAs are making. I googled any requester who I did not recognize. Boy, are there a lot of nosey people looking at my credit reports!

















Your FICO credit scores are not just numbers, it’s a skill.

Message 10 of 15
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