With rising foreclosure rates, escalating health care costs, recent credit card company schemes and unprecedented unemployment, most people would think they’ve seen it all in this unprecedented economic downturn.
But wait, there’s more.
In these tough financial times, scam artists are coming out of the woodwork to prey on the most hard hit by this decade’s Great Recession: persons needing the benefits of, or having already filed for, bankruptcy.
First and foremost, scam artists are in the habit of targeting debtors who are willing to do whatever it takes to avoid bankruptcy. According to the Center for Responsible Lending, common predators prior to your bankruptcy include even legal payday lenders and debt settlement agencies. Most experts agree, even in a financial meltdown, the fastest way to go broke is through payday loans. For example, if you’re like many Americans, you may be facing the economic crisis head-on, and whether that looks like a missed mortgage payment or hovering health care costs, a payday loan might seem like an easy way to weather the storm. But the opposite is true and the reason is simple: exorbitant interest. With interest rates equaling as much as 400%, these types of loans are a recipe for disaster, leaving desperate borrowers unable to repay.
In addition, you also have to mindful of other "credit repair" scams, including debt consolidation scams, mortgage modification scams, and foreclosure prevention scams in addition to outright identity theft through stolen credit cards and identities. Keep in mind, people who are in financial fix and seeking a commensurate “quick fix”—but who have not sought the advice of a bankruptcy attorney—tend to be most vulnerable to these scams and debt payment plans.
Also, many financial experts warn against "Nigerian 419" scams (email request to help get money from Nigeria into the United States, by accepting money into your own bank account in exchange for a share of the financial rewards) and common "Chain Letter" scams (a modern re-envisioning of a pyramid scheme).
Next, be wary of offers for a "free" credit report. In order to get these predatory reports, you are required to enter your credit card number, which opens the door to identity theft. Even in cases where an actually credit report is sent, sometimes charges can begin appearing for things you agreed to in the reporting site’s fine print. Remember, the only truly free reports come from the credit bureaus themselves and do not require a financial placeholder in the form of your credit card.
Unfortunately, you can find scam artists seeking your business even after your bankruptcy has been filed and fulfilled. These scam artists are often looking to provide benefits that are more difficult to find for bankrupt people. In addition to predatory “credit rebuilding services,” post-bankruptcy scammers will often offer low-balance credit cards to debtors emerging from bankruptcy, sometimes with activation and membership fees that can push borrowers over their credit limits before they've even had a chance to use the new card.
To avoid the pitfalls and pratfalls of scammers, the key is knowing resources that can actually help. A qualified bankruptcy attorney can assist proud, to conquer their fears of losing it all. Specifically, the bankruptcy attorneys 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. We’re here to help.