As the saying goes, if something sounds too good to be true, it most likely is. As often as we all hear this phrase, however, sometimes it is too hard to immediately say no to an offer that appears as though it can save weeks, months, or maybe even years of struggle. People who are in mounds of debt are especially susceptible to accepting such offers because of the endless notices, emails, and phone calls that come with debt.
In order to avoid debt relief scams that you will surely come across at one time or another, know the signs that indicate an unsafe debt relief route and steer clear of the false promises. Remember, legitimate credit repair companies will have your back throughout the entire process and are there for your needs and concerns.
They Found You Via Email or a Robo-Call
If a company seemed to have fallen into your lap with the ultimate way to relieve your debt, it is probably a debt relief scam. No safe, reliable debt relief company will have your information to email or call you unless you previously provided that information to them. For example, filling out our form lets us know that you would like to be contacted to get real, trusted advice from a company that is A+ certified by the Better Business Bureau and certified by the American Fair Trade Council.
Any company that unsolicitedly contacts you in any way likely has a system in place that scours online databases for contact information and is just looking for people who will respond back to them. As soon as you respond to their email or phone call, you will begin getting spammed or even harassed with messages asking you to pay them for the services immediately. The rule of thumb here is that, if you did not inquire about a specific company and provide them with your contact information, there is no reason they should be contacting you.
They Charge Fees Prior to Services
Debt relief scammers are looking for one thing and one thing only — money. They want to look for people that are so desperate for assistance that they will overlook the terms and conditions of a service and will pay just about any price for quick and guaranteed help. Debt scammers will tell you that paying for their service is a kind of retainer to ensure that they continue working with you and can commit to your case, or they will say it is simply company policy.
In the U.S., however, paying these fees in advance is illegal, which is why Liberty Debt Relief does not charge you before assisting you. Debt relief and credit repair companies are only allowed to collect their service fees after the service has been rendered, and it is usually a percentage of the debt you owed. There is no way to know what that percentage would be prior to sitting down with you, looking over your financial situation, and working with your lending companies to come up with a total amount of debt you will owe.
They Guarantee Your Lenders Will Forgive All of Your Debt
Just like over-promised situations are too good to be true, so are company guarantees. There is simply no way for a debt relief company to guarantee that they can convince your lenders to forgive all of your debt, especially if you are one of the millions of people who owe several creditors thousands of dollars in unpaid balances.
A trusted organization will tell you upfront that there are no guarantees and they will pick through your finances with a fine-toothed comb to help you come up with a plan of action that will relieve your debt the best way possible. For most people, getting rid of debt does not even include debt forgiveness, but rather includes negotiating with the companies to reduce fees, setting up loan consolidation accounts, or even a combination of various debt relief methods.
They Promise Your Credit will Instantly Improve
Rome was not built in a day, and neither was your credit score. What most debt relief scams don’t want you to know is that even positive financial decisions take time to show up on your credit score. In most debt relief cases, people take part in a debt relief solution that actually causes their credit score to decrease for a certain amount of time. This is usually because, during negotiations with your lending companies, you will be advised to refrain from using your credit cards or making payments toward your outstanding balances. You will often be told to not open any new accounts and you may even have your total debt negotiated toward a lower score, which again makes your credit score go down. The boost in your credit score comes after starting your debt relief journey when you are closer to becoming or completely out of debt and you can focus on maintaining that balance.
There is No Available and Detailed Information on the Company
One of the biggest red flags that come with a debt relief scam is if there is no valid information on the company in contact with you. A legitimate credit repair company will have a published website with plenty of helpful information about their services, how they started, their location, and their contact information, all free to the public. Additionally, they will never ask for your personal information — other than perhaps a name they can call you by — when you have just a general inquiry.
The only time they should request any more information, such as your bank account information, social security number, or even your birthday, is in person or via an official document. If someone claiming to be from a debt relief company contacts you and demands some kind of payment before they will provide any information about themselves or the company, it is most likely a scam, and you should cease contact immediately.
Read the Signs and Remain Cautious
It is always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it involves money. If you need assistance getting out of debt, look for companies, such as Liberty Debt Relief, that are accredited by the Better Business Bureau and who are in good standing with the Federal Trade Commission. If you believe you or someone you know fell for debt relief scams, contact the FTC as soon as possible.