Phony Debt Assistance one of top ten scams in 2009

The Better Business Bureau makes this case and reports on the scams.

The scammers are especially clever at preying on people in trouble and they have come up with many ways to convince you they can help pay down or eliminate your debt when all they actually do is take your money.

The BBB describes three common debt help scams at their web site.

In brief the three scams are as follows:

Debt Negotiation or Settlement in which companies promise, for a fee, to call your creditors and get them to reduce your debt.  They almost never succeed.  But they do take your money.
Debt Consolidation.  The honest organizations in this business get your debts partly under control by getting your creditors to reduce or stop interest and late fees in return for regular payments (on which they are paid a commission).  You send them one check a month and they spread it out to all of your creditors.  There is one organization in this business that we trust,  It has affiliates all over te country that usually operate under the name “consumer credit counseling” agency or service.   If you do not use this organziation, be vey careful.  Fees are often exorbitant and many of the organizations in this business simply do not pass your payments along.
Debt Elimination.  These companies promise to gove you documents that you can use to elimante your debt based on the argument that it is illegal.  You get the paper (maybe); and they get the cash.  You debts are still there when the dust settles.

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