AVOIDING DEBT RELIEF AND COUNSELING SCAMS IN TEXAS
Jan. 22, 2019
Credit Repair Service Scams make False Promises and Increase Your Debt.
Reputable credit counselors provide advice on managing your money and debts and help you develop a plan to deal with your financial problems. For people who are drowning in credit card debt, this help is invaluable. But all across Texas, vulnerable people who are anxious to eliminate their credit card debt are being victimized by debt relief and credit counseling scams.
These scams promise to negotiate with your creditors to settle or reduce your obligation to creditors. They may charge you a large up-front fee and claim to improve your credit report while providing you with no real services at all.
How to Spot Debt Relief and Credit Counseling Scams
The Texas Attorney General’s office suggests two key ways to spot a debt relief scam:
They contact you first. Legitimate debt relief and credit counseling services do not call without you contacting them first. If you get an unsolicited call, email or other contact that offers to help you eliminate your debt, there’s a good chance that you have been contacted by a scammer.
They ask for fees upfront. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) rules prohibit for-profit companies from receiving money before they reduce your debt and requires these companies to make specific disclosures to consumers. If the person/company offers to help get rid of your debt after you pay them a fee, you have probably been contacted by a scammer.
If you have been approached or victimized by a debt relief and credit counseling scammer, you should contact the Texas Attorney General’s office and file a complaint.
Getting Legitimate Help Managing Your Credit Card Debt
Before working with a debt relief and credit counseling service, check with the Texas Office of Consumer Credit Commissioner to find a credit counselor licensed in Texas. Ask potential counselors what they offer, if they charge a fee and how long it will take to reach your goal. Many of these licensed counselors provide free or low-cost services. You should ask these questions:
What services do you offer?
Do you have free educational information?
Can you help me solve my debt problem and create a plan to avoid problems in the future?
What are your fees? Do you charge monthly? Is there a set-up fee?
Can you help me if I cannot afford to pay?
Are you licensed in Texas? What training do your counselors have?
Will my financial and other personal information be kept confidential?
How are your counselors paid? Does their compensation increase when you sign up for additional services?
An experienced debt management attorney may recommend a legitimate counseling service, You should also ask your attorney if you should consider alternatives such as a debt consolidation and management, debt settlement or bankruptcy to help you wipe out your debts and get a fresh start.
A Texas Bankruptcy Attorney at Oliva Law can Help You Avoid Debt Relief and Credit Counseling Scams
Don’t become a victim of a credit counseling scam. If you live in Brownsville, McAllen, Harlingen, Corpus Christi or anywhere in the Rio Grande Valley, Oliva Law can discuss the best option for dealing with your credit card debt. Before you get scammed, contact us today.
About the Author: Marcos Oliva Marcos Oliva is the principal attorney at Oliva Law. He is admitted to practice law in the State of Texas, the United States District and Bankruptcy Courts in the Southern District of Texas, and the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
Jan 22nd, 2019