Debt relief scammers falsely claim government affiliation

What do you get when you mix a fraction of truth and a whole lot of lies? The FTC’s case against scammers who allegedly operated websites that promote a fictitious “Bill Payment Government Assistance Program” — a debt relief program claiming to pay consumers’ bills and repair their credit in exchange for an advance fee.

In its complaint, the FTC alleges that American Bill Pay Organization and American Benefits Foundation claimed to be non-profits affiliated with the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board (also known as the “Recovery Board”) — a real federal agency that was created as part of the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act of 2009 (also known as the “Recovery Act”) to detect and prevent fraud, waste, and mismanagement of Recovery Act funds. Lie number one: American Bill Pay Organization and American Benefits Foundation are not non-profit, nor do they have any government affiliation. In fact, representatives from the Recovery Board regularly fields calls and complaints from consumers confused by the scammers’ lies.

The FTC alleges that the scammers further deceive consumers by misrepresenting that — for an advance fee of $900 to $1,100 paid via wire transfer service — American Bill Pay Organization or American Benefits Foundation will pay up to $50,000 of consumers’ bills, including mortgages, credit cards, medical and utility bills, or student or automobile loans. More lies. Based on FTC interviews with victims, it appears that the scammers temporarily paid some consumer bills, but only to encourage payment of their fees. The payments were later reversed, causing consumers to incur overdraft fees, other additional penalties, and, occasionally, account closures.

The insult to injury lie: Not only did victims get no relief from their debts, these scammers also broke the law when it took advance fees. You see, federal law bars the collection of any money for credit repair service before the service is fully performed.

Many people face a financial crisis at some point in their lives. Whether the crisis is caused by personal or family illness, the loss of a job, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. But often, it can be overcome. Your financial situation doesn’t have to go from bad to worse.

If you need help dealing with debt, contact a credit counselor. A reputable credit-counseling agency should send you free information about its services without requiring you to give details about your financial situation or pay any money before they provide services.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

The scammers that are much worse are those that call themselves Card Services and try to get gullible people to give them bank account and credit card information. They always show fictitious numbers on Caller ID and constantly call my mobile and home phone numbers. I have taken to getting back at them by wasting their time but they really need to be put out of business. What is the FTC doing about them? They are real criminals!!!

Shoot there everywhere #scamartist #scamprofesionals #impeach

Banks personell goverments hidden regimen has to be behind it, #impeachbarackhusseinobama you have my #EP say-so

I am so sick of being scamed! These scamers belong in jail! They have abused me in everyway possible

These people have scamed me to no end! They belong in jail!

Is this Melvin saying he is with IRS Audit Dept at 203-701-1071?

I reported this scam once already and today received another phone call-from Fed Gov. Loyalty Grant Department- My reward was $9,000.00 today versus $75,000.00 last week. At least the caller id didn't bounce into anonymous [230 387-2014]

me too and then they called again and again,unfortunatley I gave into them once because coinsidently I did apply for a grant previously,and it made sense,but once they asked for an extra 500 I realized it was definitely a scam.were they Indian sounding by anychance?

Lisadf17: YOU have to be accountable at some point for ALLOWING yourself to be scammed. The first time it happens, we feel bad for you. More than that? You're an idiot. Nothing is free. If it's too good to be true, it IS! May I recommend internet dating? SMH

Cell phone call from "Loss of Funds" IRS. Mr. Reyner Jones 855-367-9375 ext 102. Will be sent to jail if payment is not made for IRS audit 23008-2010. total Scam. Thought I was being punked at first.

3 calls from 202 area code (Washington, D.C.)in last week telling me that I had been selected for "FEDERAL GRANT" of $9,000.00. I was given confirmation # and I would need to go to WalMart,Western Union and send $187.00 for taxes AND THEN THEY WOULD WIRE MY MONEY. I REALLY THINK THESE SMUCKS ARE SMOKING HARD ROCK COCAINE. HEAVY ACCENTS ALSO !!!!!

not sure if this is the right place but the government does give out money for public housing? if wrong can someone anyone tell me where to go this is a place that has gone from HEAVEN TO HELL!! TO ME waste of tax payers money and the GOVERMEMT. Thank You

How do I get a scam to stop calling? It's a recording that this is my final chance to take advantage of the economic stimulus. I've been getting this call for at least a year. I've asked to be removed from their list, I've blocked the # and the keep changing the caller ID #. I am totally being harassed, they call every day usually more them once.

Recently I received a curious white envelope in the mail decorated with official language and a phony reference to U. S Code offering consumer debt relief from unsecured credit card balances. The sender used "Non-Profit Org US Postage PAID" but inside the envelope, the service, it is explained, is sponsored by a Nationally Registered Company whose referrals are all fee based with no guarantee. It all looks very official. A hefty fine is momentously threatened and then a phrase appears: "Lord Heal Our Land." The mendacity.

The scammer name is Patrick Evans claiming to be from vcf or vfc attorney's office. Keeps telling me I owe a payday loan and if I don't pay him ASAP he is going to have police come to my job or home and arrest me. He calls my job and my cell literally all day. He has a middle eastern accent goes by Patrick Evans, mark Williams, Eric brown, or spencer. He calls either unknown or from 863-617-9961... Threatens the people I work with for my information and schedule. Claims to be a lawyer but can't find any information on him or his so called attorney's office. When you google his name or number you will see a lot of complaints from all over the USA from him. This needs to be stopped ASAP. Someone needs to arrest this guy. If you get a call from him contact the lakeland police station immediately and have them investigate it.

I have received numerous calls from American Credit Assistance or ACA out of Florida. The tele # is 321-209-6393 and 786-204-4348 claiming to help lower your interest rate on your credit cards. I do not know if they are valid or not. But they charge $1100 and promise to save you upwards of $2500 within 60 days. Their name where the credit goes to is LPS of FLA. I need to know they are legitimate or not.

Not legit.

I just got phone call from 786-204-4348. I did not answer. I have no credit cards but one a prepay. So they are just reaching.

They are scammers. Do not give out any personal information. End call. Period.

I have received two calls within the last week from someone claiming to be from the IRS. They said either I or my criminal attorney call immediately. There would be serious consequences if I didn't. Curiously, when I called back and asked him who he was and what company he worked for, he said that he had already gotten several phone calls. Someone was giving out his phone number. He sounded suspiciously like the original caller -- mid-Eastern accent and all. I told him that I was going to go to the police about this. The original caller gave his name as Mike. The calls are originating in CA.

I, too, have received two phone calls in as many days from someone named Officer Julie Smith with the IRS. The call originated from CA. I have a return #. Not sure of the accent but sounded computerized. Said I or my attorney needed to contact them immediately to avoid severe measures. I answered the second call and it was sent to a voice mail. I told them to not call me again unless they were legit. Haven't heard anything yet.
9/17/2014

I know NOTHEN about phone scams until I read these story's,so many,I got a call from a Indian man name Calvin,he says congatulaions the goverment is giving you ten thousand dollars to help you pay for your bills,he kept talking,I know he was scamming me,an SAID to get the money I would have to give him my checking account number an WOULD send it there,well I told him I don't have a an account,well I said you would have to send the money in a goverment check then I can open a account,with a bank check,he said nothing,but said a few moments later,I can't give you the money on less you have a checking account,I'm sorry to miss out on this but I'm poor,I only have a house phone I said,then my phone went off,well saying I was poor did it,an haven't got any more calls,if someone says your getting something for free no one has to give them nothing to get it,don't waste your time on the phone these people aren't worth it,don't BELEAVE anything they say.don't forget this they don't care nothing about you,they only want money,an don't care who they hurt,they don't see you over the phone,

Father contacted by a person stating they are from the FTC and the Comsumer Protection Department Division Bureau of comsuer's affairs Room H-480 State of NY. 305-704-7978 and a Cindy Maxwell who is to be with the FTC at 917-338-2947. stating he's won million dollars and has to send them $6570 to get it.

Received a threatening phone call from a guy calling himself "Steve" accusing some one here at my home with some debt which was going to the Grand Jury for a final verdict and possible arrest for outstanding warrants if I did not call back. I returned the call to find out WHAT this was about. The same guy answered the phone with another name "Anthony Cooper". I asked what this was about and the guy asked for my name which I did not give him. I asked again what this was about. He said he was calling from the US Treasury about a debt and it was a federal offense with possible arrest if not collected. He then asked if I was "K-------"! I said there was no person who lived here with that name and why would they just call someone and threaten them without finding out if the person lived at the number they called. I asked for a supervisor. He hung up on me. I called back. I told him I would file a complaint and suit against them since they were threatening me without cause. He hung up again! I called back. An answering machine picked up and the identification was for a person named Fan Long Jun, a FATZA USA loan officer. This is an outrage!!

A person calls and leaves as message saying she is "Ms. Johnson" from the IRS. The telephone number shows up as 202-241-0477. When you call the number back, you get a fake recording saying this is the "IRS and all agents are busy. Hold on for the next available representative". You are then hung up on. Quite annoying and I cannot find anyone to report this number to!

Scammers are using Job sites such as Careerbuilder and Monster along with a few others now to grab info. BE CAREFULL placing your phone number on your resume.... 786-204-4348 is one of the largest culprits...

A call on the weekend or late in day are sure giveaways.

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