young man shocked at his credit score after falling victim to a debt help scam

Don’t Get Ripped-Off: How to Recognize a Debt Help Scam

Have you seen ads for debt help companies and consultants on the rise in Ottawa? We’ve compiled a list of the top 5 tactics to help you stop scammers in their tracks.

Some companies make unrealistic promises about how much they can help, going as far as to suggest they can reduce unsecured debt by up to 70 percent.

Unfortunately, these false promises are meant to lure desperate clients into a trap during a vulnerable moment in their lives. Here are five indications that you’re being scammed so you can kick them to the curb.

 

  1. They use high-pressure sales tactics
    One sign that something’s amiss is that the company contacted you through cold-calling or, worse, recorded calls or voicemails. These can be very insistent and try to get you to agree to a package upfront without even discussing your situation.

    Licensed insolvency trustees (LITs) won’t try to prospect for potential clients, so if you receive frequent calls from a company promising to help you eliminate your debts, be careful.


  2. They charge fees upfront
    The main hallmark of any debt help scam is that you’ll be charged a fee upfront before your creditors are even contacted.

    In comparison, most LITs don’t charge for the initial consultation. More importantly, LIT fees are only payable upon filing and approval of the consumer proposal or bankruptcy. This means that any company asking for money upfront, before they take any action on your behalf, likely has dishonest intentions.


  3. They make unrealistic promises
    If a company promises that they can negotiate a settlement with your creditors for pennies on the dollar, be careful. These are usually untrue claims that are made to convince struggling clients to sign contracts and pay upfront fees.


  4. Their contracts are intentionally confusing
    Since they aren’t making a good faith attempt to provide a service, it’s common for these companies to describe their services in vague and unclear terms. For example, it’s very common for them to omit any information about the impact their debt settlement approach could have on your credit score. Make sure you review any document you sign carefully.


  5. Their tactics are underhanded
    Another tactic used by some duplicitous companies is to delay making payments to creditors, even if they have the money to do so. This is in the hopes of negotiating a better repayment plan for you, but they may not be honest about how it can negatively impact your credit score in the process.

 

When You Need Reliable Debt Help, Find A Licensed Insolvency Trustee

If you’re in the Ottawa area, don’t hesitate to contact D. & A. MacLeod Company Ltd. Our team has worked with thousands of individuals since 1952 who have considered filing for bankruptcy, and we have the expertise to discuss your other options as well. We can help you overcome your personal financial difficulties by providing reliable debt help services throughout the Ottawa region. Contact us today to schedule a free consultation near you.

 

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