By John Ostapkovich

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It’s one more thing to worry about, if you are concerned about foreclosure on your home: the so-called “zombie” foreclosure.

Like a zombie back from the dead, a “zombie” mortgage occurs when a homeowner believes he or she has lost the battle and leaves the home to the mortgage holder.  But somehow the process is never completed.

Beth Goodell of Philadelphia-based Community Legal Services, which fights to prevent foreclosures, has some advice for those whose debt has come back to haunt them.

“If I could afford a lawyer, I would contact a lawyer, because the mortgage company’s actions in threatening foreclosure and indicating that foreclosure was going to be completed led me to leave the house.  And the fact that they’ve not yet taken over the property has caused me harm,” she says.

Victims of zombie mortgages may only learn of them when they get a tax bill or a similar charge for a home they no longer inhabit.