Credit Repair and Debt Relief Scams
Regardless of how the debt happened, when faced with mounting bills and difficult budget decisions, scammers who promise to repair credit or eliminate debt for a fee is simply a promise that cannot be kept. Victims are enticed with guarantees, such as a credit score increase or debt forgiveness, all for a charge upfront for their “services". If the fee is paid, the scammer takes the money, plus any personal information and disappears or simply fails to deliver all that was promised.
How the Scam Works:
Online ads, social media pop ups or unsolicited phone calls come through and when a person is faced with deciding between paying debt or buying necessities, the messaging to “guarantee” a better credit score, alleviate debt or promise a better financial situation, the temptation to pay the upfront fee to relieve stress might be a mistake.
The companies that are calling or advertising online frequently will promise – and charge for – impossible services. This includes removing past credit mistakes, such as late payments or a bankruptcy, from your credit report. They offer to provide a new "credit identity” or negotiate with lenders or credit card company to completely eliminate the debt. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recommends before providing any financial or personal information to check out the company first.
How to Spot This Scam:
Advance fees are a concern. Not all businesses promising to help you repair bad credit are scams, but if you are asked to pay in advance, that’s a big red flag. In both the U.S. and Canada, credit repair and debt relief companies can only collect their fee after they perform the services promised.
Do not believe guarantees. Nobody can guarantee to make debt go away or improve your credit score. In fact, they can’t promise you anything before they have even reviewed your personal financial situation.
Beware of the big promise. Other red flags are big promises, such as removing negative information from your credit report, or urging you to get a new identity or apply for an Employer Identification Number to use instead
of your Social Security number (that’s a crime, by the way). No contract or one that is vague is another warning sign.
Protecting Your Georgia United Account:
Maintaining the security of your personal and financial information is our top priority. Remember that Georgia United will never call, email or text you to request your account password or PIN. If you are prompted for this information, do not respond and contact us directly.
Source: Better Business Bureau. BBB Scam Alert: Credit repair and debt relief scams.
The information in this article for general educational purposes only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations. Please discuss your particular circumstances with an appropriate professional before taking action.