You may see an ad on TV, or receive an email, or they may call you. They claim that they can lower your monthly credit card and loan payments. They’ll guarantee that they will reduce your debt for a nominal fee.
This kind of “help” might be enticing if you are struggling with debt. But beware! Here are some hints that the “help” is no help at all. The scammer:
- Charges large upfront fees before he or she settles your debts.
- Guarantees that he/she can make your unsecured debt go away.
- Tells you that he/she can stop all debt collection calls and lawsuits.
- Won’t send you free information about their services unless you provide personal and financial information, like your credit card and bank account numbers.
If you received a call with a recorded sales pitch, and you have not given permission for that company to call you, hang up. Do not press 1 to talk to a live operator. Do not press any number. Your phone number may be added to a phone call list that can be sold to other scam artists. And then you may receive all kinds of calls for many other scams.
If you become a victim of any scam, file a complaint with the Washington State Attorney General’s Office (http://www.atg.wa.gov/) or the Federal Trade Commission (https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1).
If you do have large debt you can find legitimate credit counselors. The place to start is the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (http://www.nfcc.org/CreditCounseling/counseling_01.cfm).
You can find more information about credit and debt from the Washington State Department of Financial Institutions at http://www.dfi.wa.gov/financial-education/resources-credit.htm