Top Debt Relief Scams to Avoid

Guest Post by Alan Winkler

Getting out of debt can sometimes be a long and arduous process under the best of circumstances. Between the complexities of debt legislation and the various competing demands of debt collectors and consolidation firms, someone working to relieve their debt has several obstacles to overcome. Unfortunately, there are nearly as many shady, untrustworthy, and downright fraudulent collection and consolidation services out there as there are honest firms that genuinely try to help consumers. In order to avoid being taken advantage of, it's important to understand some of the most common debt consolidation scams out there.

Watch Out for Hidden Fees

One of the most common forms of debt consolidation fraud is the time-tested tactic of charging numerous hidden fees. All debt consolidation firms charge a fee of some type or other in order to stay in business, but reputable firms are up front and very open regarding their fee payment structure. If you have started to notice reoccurring charges from debt consolidators that defy explanation, you might be in the grasp of scammers. In order to avoid this, check out a debt consolidation company thoroughly before beginning a business relationship with them. Companies that pressure you to sign contracts right off the bat may be trying to conceal hidden fees or service charges until it's too late for you to back out.

Consider Your Debt Plan Carefully

Debt relief plans are also ripe for exploitation. These plans set the structure for how you'll repay your debt and what the time frame for doing so will look like. Ethical debt consolidation companies provide an excellent way to plan your debt relief and satisfy creditors, but all too often, unscrupulous debt collectors with no concern for customers will offer plans that do not meet creditors' needs, leaving the customer in the lurch. This happens for a variety of reasons: the scammers may be better able to hide an exploitative fee structure in longer-term, slower payments, or they may have lured customers in with false promises of far lower interest rates that the creditors have not actually offered. These scams leave the individual in terrible trouble, as their financial situation worsens and the scammers make a profit.

Know Who to Trust

While it's not a scam, it pays to be aware of the fact that many false debt relief organizations will attempt to portray themselves as something more trustworthy. Common examples include so-called "Christian" debt consolidation firms, which prey on the trust that many feel for their co-religionists; the "non-profit" label is also frequently employed by these charlatans. The FTC has filed suit against several so-called "non-profit" debt collectors in the past few years for advertising their status as non-profits falsely in order to generate trust. Choose a debt consolidation company on their track record and user reviews, not on the basis of their attempts to portray themselves as more honest than the other guys. When it comes to debt consolidation, a little skepticism can go a long way towards keeping you safe!

Remember, the debt consolidation firm is working for you, not the other way around. Avoid companies that are too eager to talk you into a commitment, and if they're too forceful, ignore them. Many other options exist. Likewise, be sure that both you and your creditors understand and approve of the consolidator's plan. Preparations such as these can save hundreds if not thousands of dollars on top of the extreme aggravation that debt scams can cause. Get out of debt today with honest and ethical debt consolidators.

About the Author: Alan Winkler is a professional debt advisor and regular writer for Debt Consolidation Advice, a credit card debt relief blog. He also covers the debt relief industry as a whole and provides money saving tips.


Adrian Chikwanha said...

Thanks for the article, it's very helpful. It is important for people to do a thorough research before signing up for a program. It's also best to signup up with reliable companies like curadebt.

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