Unless you’ve been under a sludge-soaked rock for the past several months, you are well-aware that the Gulf of Mexico oil disaster is taking a heavy environmental toll on the U.S. coastline and a deep financial toll on British-based global energy company (and chief blame-holder), BP. What you may not know is that this economic and environmental catastrophe is also reaping a boat-load of less obvious financial effects—economic landmines targeting average Americans just like you in the coming weeks, months, and even years.
For many the oil spill speaks to an opportunity—an opportunity to help the Gulf clean up while also becoming a part of a much-needed workforce in the wake of unprecedented unemployment.
However, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) warns that many slick, oil-spill scammers have begun targeting these very same job-seekers, preying on their willingness, and, in some cases, desperation, to become a part of the relief effort and the effort to relieve their own budget-busting joblessness. Signs of these “spill scams” include:
(1) Solicitations Online, In Print, and In Your Inbox: Savvy scammers are taking to print (newspapers), online media (Craigslist) and e-mail in order to fish for jobseekers interested in working in the oil spill relief effort. These “spam scams” are successful in hooking many willing workers especially since many of these offers appear to be from BP itself, claiming that they’ve been authorized by the company to train and hire cleanup crews and more. To ensure any job listing is valid, much less one offering relief to the Gulf (and to your wallet), do some research on the FTC website.
(2) Training programs and processes: Some scammers are willing to take you through an oil spill job application or training process, charging upfront fees to part you and your money with little to no return for your investment. As is always the case, be wary of any company that asks for money up front, before providing you with a substantive good, service or other materials.
(3) Paid and Unpaid Positions: These oil spill scams aren’t isolated to paid employment. Targeting those who want to help the Gulf Coast survive this second disaster, some scammers are “cleaning up” by charging certification, application or similar fees to potential volunteers. Instead of falling for these online scams, visit the FTC website for links to legitimate work and volunteer opportunities for those interested in contributing to cleanup efforts in the Gulf.
As a majority owner of the oil field that’s now home to the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history, BP is responsible for millions, and potentially billions of dollars in cleanup costs, preventative measures and even punitive damages for coastal townships, fisheries, and oystermen devastated in the spill’s aftermath. As a result, many are speculating as to whether the third largest energy company in the world could turn to bankruptcy to stem the financial tide.
What is almost a definite though is that many small business owners, and individuals who work for them, will be forced to turn to bankruptcy protection to plug the well of financial losses stemming from the Gulf spill. From those in fishing and tourism to workers in other oil fields and financial institutions, many average American workers and entrepreneurs up and down the coastline stand to face even tougher economic times as the effects of the spill spread throughout the region. Many will turn to Chapter 13 and 11, and even Chapter 7 bankruptcy, to end their spill-related suffering and get themselves on sturdier financial ground.
In this sign of the environmental and economic times, when everyone from wealthy oil and gas companies to mom and pop fisheries are feeling the effects of these unexpected emergencies, it is important to remember that if you’re feeling a financial squeeze you’re not alone. And watching the processes businesses like BP must go through when filing bankruptcy can provide valuable lessons of how the bankruptcy process might work for you.
So, if you are considering a bankruptcy due to a rising tide of bills, expensive emergencies or unemployment, address this fact with a knowledgeable attorney. Knowing a qualified bankruptcy attorney can also help you to conquer your creditors and face your financial fears, yielding the right kinds of support, information and insights—at a low cost. The bankruptcy experts at the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt offer a totally FREE debt consultation and now, more than ever, it’s time to take them up on their offer. Just call toll free to 1-888-234-4181, or during the off hours, you can make your own appointment right online at www.billsbills.com. Simply click on the yellow “FREE Consultation Now” button.