Avoiding Debt-Relief Scams
If you’re looking for a way to manage your debt, the last thing you need is to get ripped off by a company that promises to help. According to the Federal Trade Commission, that’s what happened to people who paid hundreds of dollars each to Southeast Trust, LLC. The company contacted people through illegal robocalls and claimed it was a non-profit group that could get them credit card interest rates as low as zero percent. The FTC recently got a $2.7 million judgment against the company and banned it from making illegal robocalls and providing debt- and mortgage-relief services.
There are signs that a company that promises to help you manage your debt may not be on the up and up. Avoid any organization that:
- charges fees before it settles your debts
- guarantees it can make your unsecured debt go away
- tells you it can stop all debt collection calls and lawsuits
- won’t send you free information about its services unless you provide personal and financial information, like your credit card and bank account numbers
You can work on managing your debt by talking with a credit counseling organization. A reputable credit-counseling agency should send you free information about its services without requiring you to give details about your situation or pay any money before they provide services.
And by the way, about those robocalls? If you hear a recorded sales message and you haven't given your written permission to get calls from the company on the other end, the call is illegal, and the pitch may be a scam. Hang up. Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator or press any other number. If you do, you’ll just get more robocalls.
Got a minute? Listen to this audiotip about robocalls: