How to Avoid Debt Relief Scams
If you’re looking to get rid of the burden of your debt, the last thing you want to be dealing with is a scam from a company that promises to help. Watch out for debt help scams!
I hear from people all the time telling me about scams going on with so-called “debt resolution programs”. I often ask the question when someone comes to me after a nasty experience with one of these companies, whether or not they did any research on the company before they started working with them. The majority of the time, the answer is no. There are many debt help scams out there and if you don’t do your research you can end up falling victim to one of them and end up in even deeper financial trouble.
The Tayne Law Group Difference
I have been an attorney for over 15 years and concentrate solely in the area of consumer debt resolution. My goal with starting my own practice, Tayne Law Group, was to offer a different route in debt resolution and to use my legal training and expertise to help consumers get effective representation in resolving their debts. I wanted to repave a road without the cracks and bumps in consumer deceptiveness and focus of crystal clear, effective, trustworthy and most of all ethical, debt resolution solutions.
Unfortunately, I do believe there will always be fraudulent debt settlement and debt relief companies out there. These scammers are preying on consumers who are in a vulnerable place, stressed out, and overwhelmed by their financial situation. What this means for you as the consumer is that you have to DO YOUR HOMEWORK! Don’t just jump at any offer you get from a company making unrealistic claims about resolving your debt! Take your time to read the fine print or you could find yourself a victim of one of the many debt help scams out there! No two debt cases are the same. The company you are working with should treat you as an individual, know your short- and long-term goals, and be able to lay out a clear road to recovery.
Before working with a debt relief company, make sure to ask these basic questions:
- How long have you been in business?
- Where is your company incorporated and what is the address of your company headquarters?
- Are you licensed by the NYS Department of Finance (formerly the NYS Banking Department) (or the equivalent department in your state)?
- Do you charge any money upfront?
Here are some red flags to watch out for:
- They guarantee they can relieve your debt in an unrealistic length of time such as “6 months”
- They’re very pushy and unprofessional
- They ask you to pay them over the phone
- The company says they have special access to government assistance programs
- They ask for a large sum of money up front
- They guarantee they can make your unsecured debt go away
- The company tells you they can stop all debt collection calls and lawsuits
- They refuse to send you any information on their services unless you provide personal/financial information
A reputable debt relief company will:
- Not make you pay for services before they do anything to help you
- Won’t guarantee it can get rid of all your debts
- Won’t say it has special access to government assistance programs
- Send you free information about their program and services
- Be in good standing with agencies like the Better Business Bureau and the Consumer Protection Agency
- Be transparent about how their program works, the benefits and consequences, and how they make money
If you’ve come across or become a victim of a debt scam, report it to the FTC at www.ftc.gov/complaint