By Robert J. Semrad | Published April 15 2015 |
Consumers Beware: Avoid Debt Elimination Scams with Due Diligence
If you are experiencing financial difficulties, the last thing you need is to be taken in by a scam. Unfortunately, debt elimination scams are an increasingly popular way for fraudsters in Illinois to take advantage of people when they are most desperate.
One of the most important things to look out for is the general credibility of the financial claims being made. Typically, fraudsters will promise to eliminate either all or a large part of your debt in exchange for an upfront fee. If a company or individual offers to settle your debt for significantly less than you owe, it’s a fairly good indicator that you’re being sold something too good to be true. After all, there’s no such thing as free money.
Another common scam involves companies or individuals asking you to sign incomplete financial documents, assuring you that they will fill the rest of them out later. The fraudsters then use your signature to file claims under your name for their own personal benefit.
If you believe a fraudster has approached you, take the following steps to make sure you protect yourself and your family:
- Demand that all fees are disclosed and laid out in writing.
- Perform your own independent research into the company’s history.
- Ask for or find online reviews from satisfied customers.
- Do not trust any company with a “one size fits all” approach to debt settlement.
- Never fall for claims that a company can reduce your payment by 50 percent or more, which is simply unrealistic.
- Seek the advice of a nonprofit credit counseling service over for-profit firms.
A helpful resource to refer to if you think you might be dealing with a fraudster is a listing of the State Attorneys General Consumer Protection Divisions. Any information you have about a company that is running a debt elimination scam should be brought to the attention of the office of the Attorney General in your state so that they can investigate if that is warranted.
To learn more about the bankruptcy process and managing your debt, speak with an experienced bankruptcy attorney as soon as possible. Contact Chicago Debtstoppers today to schedule a free consultation and debt evaluation. You will work with a qualified Illinois bankruptcy lawyer who can give you legal options for resolving your debt.