You have so much debt that you're not sure where to turn. It all feels overwhelming. You start looking into your options, but you don't actually start the process through debt consolidation programs, bankruptcy or anything else.
Then you get a phone call. The person on the other end tells you that they are there to help if you need them. They'll assist you in consolidating and even eliminating your debt. They make a lot of promises that sound really good, and you're excited about the idea of putting these financial issues behind you.
At the same time, you're wary. Is that a scam or a legitimate offer?
According to the Federal Trade Commission, which works to stop scams and spread information to consumers, there are two major signs that the call may be a scam. They are:
- The company makes guarantees that no one should be able to make, such as promising that the people you borrowed money from will absolutely forgive that debt. Your creditors may do so, but it is impossible to guarantee it right away.
- The company asks you for money up front. They say that, after you make the payment, they can start helping you. Not only is this a red flag that they may be trying to scam you, but it is illegal. Hang up the phone right away.
Scams exist, unfortunately, and government efforts to shut them down can never eliminate them all. Make sure you know how to spot them. At the same time, you may want to look into legitimate debt relief options and steps you can take.