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A deceptive credit card interest rate reduction offer

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Monthly credit card bills can be a drag, especially when you’re feeling financially strapped. Finding ways to lower those bills — sometimes by simply calling your credit card company directly and asking for a lower rate — can save you lots of cash. So what about those companies that call with a “guaranteed” credit card interest rate reduction offer (for a small fee) and a promise to save you thousands of dollars? Most likely, it’s a deal designed to dupe you out of money.

According to a complaint by the FTC, three marketers behind the companies CSG Solutions and Second Choice Horizon targeted financially distressed people with illegal robocalls and telemarketing. Their goal, says the FTC, was to sell a bogus credit card interest rate reduction service. For an upfront fee, these companies falsely guaranteed zero percent interest rates for the life of people’s credit card debt. They also promised thousands of dollars in savings. But, says the FTC, people never got the financial relief they were looking for.

Instead, the FTC alleges that most people ended up paying extra balance transfer and other fees that they weren’t told about, in addition to the companies’ hefty fee. The companies also collected Social Security and credit card numbers, security codes, and other personal information over the phone. And, even when the people they called refused to use their service, the marketers used that personal information to apply for credit cards on behalf of those people, without their knowledge or consent. They also sent people invoices, charging them for those cards.

Here’s how to protect yourself from this type of scam:

  • The best way to get a lower credit card interest rate is to do it yourself for free. Call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and ask the company directly for a lower rate.
  • Don’t share your credit card, bank account or Social Security numbers, or any other personal information, with telemarketers who call you out of the blue. Once a scammer has your data, they can use it to commit other fraud against you.
  • It’s illegal for a company to charge a fee before performing a debt relief service, such as reducing your credit card’s interest rate.
  • Hang up on unsolicited pre-recorded sales calls. The best way to deal with a robocall is to hang up. You shouldn’t be getting these calls unless you have given the specific company that called you permission to make prerecorded calls to you.

Did you spot a credit card interest rate reduction scam, or get a robocall? Tell us about it at ftc.gov/complaint.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

am getting calls *which i don't pick up" about deducting $ from my acct. but doesn't say which acct. This is a scam call. Only see it on my caller id. Sometimes male or female leave message which i can listen to without them knowing it.

Why not go after the radio stations and television stations that allow these companies to advertise? If the stations did a little due diligence in the beginning, they could help prevent some of the losses that people are seeing.

What I just read about Credit Card scams, I don't trust anybody over the telephone, unless I call them myself. Right now, I owe "O" to my bank. When I keep enought money in my cking, I use my ATM
Card instead.

Once per month, over a period of 3 consecutive days, and then on a monthly repeat, I have been harassed by a "credit card service" that NEVER identifies itself by name, but allows promises to reduce all my credit cards with their special service. All are robo-calls, all use a different originating call number with each contact (which is "out-of-service" if you call back), and always promises a rep will be with you soon - big lie. I just hang up unless they give option to be put their "no contact list" - which lasts about a month to the day and we repeat this harassment all over again and again and again... Can't stop them. Just hang up.

I got a call offering to lower my credit card rate and I told the man that there is no way he could lower MY credit card interest rate. He insisted he can...I said "NO, you can't - I only have ONE card and I pay it each month - thus no interest rate." He hung up on me. I was planning to do the same to him.. :o)

We get 4-7 calls daily M-F claiming to be the 'alert system', or representing virtually all the MC/VISA and discover accounts or experian, or 'we've been trying to contact you, or 'this is your final notice', etc. Sometimes we hangup right away, sometimes we have the option to press'#' to not be contacted again, sometimes we press'1' to waste their time and money on the call, sometimes we ask 'what company do you represent' dtc. It is most annoying!!! Can anything be done to actually stop these calls? We have been on the 'do not call list' several times... it doesn't seem to stop them. HELP!!!!

We can pretty much count on receiving 2 or 3 calls a day for this credit scheme. They never say what bank. Therefore, we never listen any longer than the first few seconds and then we hang up. Same woman, same basic phone numbers, when will they get a clue and stop bothering us? The numbers are a local one with variations, one from fifty miles from here (the 3 numbers are telling) with variations... AND... we think from the state capitol, with variations. Sometimes these calls come fifteen minutes from each other, but usually several hours pass between the calls.

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