Desperate times call for desperate measures, and this desperation may sometimes make you do things that you would not normally do or preferably digging a little deeper before committing yourself. In these times of financial desperation, a lot of individuals are turning to other companies and individuals to help sort out the mess they are in. This has resulted in scammers disguising themselves as the real deal, and the end result is you finding yourself in more debt than before. Before you start entrusting someone else with sensitive information about yourself, check out the following details as highlighted in the following article by Justin Narin.
Many debt relief services are there to help, but there are some that really just want to take advantage of your vulnerable situation. Understanding the difference between a real debt relief service, and one that wants to scam you can save you money. The following are four scams to watch out for when seeking relief for your debt.
Debt Relief Services – Credit Counseling Scams
First, it is important to know that there are legitimate credit counselors that can truly help you reduce your debt. But it is equally important to understand that not all credit counselors have your best interests at heart. Knowing the signs of a scam will protect you from ending up in even more debt.
What Credit Counselors Do
Credit counselors take a look at your financial situation, and help you find ways to manage it. This may include creating a reasonable budget, prioritizing your bills, and developing money management skills.
What Credit Counselors Don’t Do
Now that you know how credit counselors help you reduce your debt, it’s important to know what they should not be asking you to do. Any credit counselor that asks you for high fees for signing up with them, typically anything that exceeds $50, is probably more interested in your money than actually helping you. Monthly fees that are over $30 should also send up a red flag.
A credit counselor who asks for your vital financial information, such as your account numbers, before explaining what debt relief the company can provide, is probably not entirely legitimate. A counselor should be willing to explain how he or she works before asking for your important information.
Debt Negotiation Firms
Wouldn’t it be great to find a company that can approach all of your lenders, and negotiate lower payoff amounts for you? Owing less money means paying off your loans faster. But the truth is that companies that claim to do this don’t really have that power. Not only do they charge you a high fee for this service, but they may also ask you to stop making your monthly payments. In the end, you’ll end up with late fees, higher interest rates, and more debt. And that lower payoff amount will never materialize.
Debt Management Plans
These plans are sometimes an option offered by credit counselors or other debt relief firms. They require you to give a certain amount of money to the company each month, and that money is then used by the firm to pay off your various bills. These firms may or may not be able to negotiate lower rates for you on some of your loans. While some of these are legitimate, you have to be very careful. Whenever you trust someone else to pay your bills for you, you want to make sure they are doing what they say they are, rather than taking your money and creating more debt for you.
When Debt Consolidation Loans Are Scams
Like credit counseling, a debt consolidation loan is a real solution to reducing your monthly payments. You consolidate all of your high interest bills into one loan at a lower interest rate, lowering your monthly payment. However, there are some scams to be aware of. Some will charge you high fees to sign up for the loan or have hidden fees that make the actual total larger than you realized. Others may use your home as collateral without making you aware of it. Make sure you understand the true terms of any debt consolidation loan before you sign the papers.
Debt can be both overwhelming and scary, but don’t let other people prey on your fears. When you understand what your true options are and whom you can trust, you are one step closer to reducing your debt.