Does your inbox become filled with offers for debt relief? Unfortunately, these “offers” are almost always fraudsters trying to scam you. Here is what you need to know about debt relief scams and how to avoid them.
How the scams play out:
Debt relief scams target consumers who may have significant levels of credit card debt using any, or a combination, of the following false premises:
- Debt repair service that greatly increases their credit score in a short time
- Service to remove negative credit report information
- Promise to reduce credit card interest rates
The target, who is desperate to get rid of their debt, will pay any price for these services. The scammer demands a non-refundable upfront fee before getting started and happily pockets this money. The scammer then fails to come through as promised, leaving the consumer even deeper in debt.
In a variation of this scam, the bogus debt relief company will collect payments in small increments, promising to bring the target’s credit score up and their debt balance down over a short period of time. The target will continue making payments to the fictitious service until they finally realize it is a scam, which might ultimately cost them thousands of dollars in losses.
Watch for these red flags:
Debt relief scams can be difficult to spot because there are legitimate debt relief services available for consumers. However, there are several signs you can watch for to let you know when you are being targeted by a scammer.
- The service guarantees to bring your credit score up by a specific amount of points in a short amount of time.
- The service promises to get rid of factual credit report information that is on your credit file.
- The service demands an upfront payment.
- The service claims to be affiliated with a credit card company, but the card company does not recognize the service.
- The service advises you to cut off all communication with creditors.
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TIP: If you need help managing your debt load, take advantage of SeaComm’s partnership with GreenPath Financial Wellness! This trusted program offers SeaComm members free debt counseling, as well as debt management plans and a variety of resources to help you take control of your debt and reach financial independence. Click here to get started or call 877-337-3399.