If you get a robocall and a voice suggests a company can help settle your debt, modify your mortgage or resolve debt problems in any way, hang up.
The people behind the call are likely to have a history of scamming, do not have your best interests at heart and will lead you further into debt.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) just cracked down on two separate alleged scams and banned the people involved from participating in so-called debt mortgage and debt relief businesses. American Mortgage Consulting Group, Home Guardian Management Solutions was charged with offering false promises of mortgage-rate reductions to consumers in jeopardy of losing their homes.
The company promised to substantially lower monthly mortgage payments and asked for an upfront fee of $1,495 to $4,495. But the FTC alleges the company made false promises to consumers that made the offer appealing.
According to the FTC, it promised consumers would get a mortgage modification. If they didn’t, they’d get their money back. It also allegedly pretended representatives were from the government and could provide legal representation.
None of this was true. The head of the company Mark Nagy Atalla, is banned from conducting this type of business and faces a $514,910 judgment. The judgment will be suspended when he turns over personal property and proceeds from the sale of other assets. Another Case In another case, Southeast Trust, LLC (formerly known as The Debt School, LLC, also doing business as Financial Freedom Credit Counseling) and the company’s principal, Paul A. Wexler, allegedly promised consumers they could receive zero interest credit cards if they paid hundreds of dollars. Calls were routinely made to people who listed their numbers on the Do Not Call Registry, according to the FTC.
A settlement orders Wexler to pay $2.7 million to the government. But it’s suspended because he can’t pay. Again, these stories illustrate the way unscrupulous people take advantage and gives us all reason to be very cautious about dealing with people who make promises that sound great. The FTC offers four tips for recognizing a scam
- A company charges fees before it settles your debts
- It guarantees it can make your debt go away
- It tells you it can stop all debt collection calls and lawsuits
- It demands personal and financial information, like your credit card and bank account numbers, before it sends free information, or any information at all.