Don’t Fall For a Phony Debt Relief Company – 5 Tips to Help You Decide

There have been numerous financial scams run on the unsuspecting public in recent times. There have been scams through email- looking to get your account information, mortgage loan modification scams, and even Wall Street scams run by the likes of Bernie Madoff. So, when you are in a financial bind, and you need help – how do you know who you can trust? How do you know if a company you are investigating is legitimate or just a bunch of debt relief scammers looking to take your hard earned money? The good news is that this article will help you separate the real from the fake. Take a look below for 5 helpful tips to help you avoid a debt relief scam.

Don’t Fall For A Debt Relief Scam – Tip 1 – Most Companies Are Real – But Be Sure They Are Effective

Most Debt Settlement, Debt Consolidation, and Debt Reduction companies are REAL – but that does not mean that they are effective. So – that means that if you give your business to a debt relief company – they are likely to TRY to help you – but due to poor staffing, lack of experience, and just not knowing what they are doing – your file may not be adequately worked. This means that your accounts may sit with very little follow up and your accounts may not be settled. Do not mistake a poorly run debt consolidation company for a debt relief scam. A poorly run company does not deserve your business – but they are not criminals. Scammers are criminals that take your money and never intend to perform the services you paid for. Most companies out there offering you settlement services are not debt settlement scams – but they may still be unprofessional and ineffective. Be sure to choose a reputable debt settlement company in order to avoid disappointment.

Don’t Fall For A Debt Relief Scam – Tip 2 – A Name Is Just A Name

Even though most debt relief companies on the market are NOT scams – some scam companies still exist. So, how do you know them? Many of the debt relief scams that are out there will use various tactics to gain your trust such as using terms like “Christian Debt Settlement” or “Exodus Debt Consolidation.” In other words – some debt relief scams use religious symbols and terms that are meant to make the potential victim more open to trusting them. This is by no means all companies that use such terms and symbols – but scammers will pick up on these things and abuse peoples’ trust.

Don’t Fall For A Debt Relief Scam- Tip 3 – Better Business Bureau

As you know, not all companies are created equal. Most people look at Better Business Bureau ratings to try to determine if a company is legitimate or not. This is a good FIRST STEP. Debt relief scam companies will probably not have any BBB rating at all, because scams do not usually register with the BBB. However BBB ratings do not tell the whole story. The truth is that the BBB rating may not tell you how well a company is run – because people that have complaints tend to be the only clients giving feedback. A BBB rating of “C” might not represent a bad company – but just having a BBB rating at all is a good sign that you are not dealing with a debt relief scam.

Don’t Fall For A Debt Relief Scam- Tip 4 – The Association of Settlement Companies (TASC)

TASC stands for The Association of Settlement Companies. This is an organization that has been established by the debt settlement industry to set norms for debt settlement practices. Make sure the company you are doing business with is a member of TASC and in good standing. There is really no good reason a company should not be a member of TASC or a similar organization.

Don’t Fall For A Debt Relief Scam- Tip 5 – Trust Your Gut Feeling

Really – avoiding a debt settlement scam, or ANY kind of scam, comes down to just trusting yourself to make a wise decision. Call the company, ask questions, see if the answers make sense to you, then ask more questions. Usually there are signs that an offer is too good to be true. Scammers use incredibly good offers to lure you in. If there is NO risk – it is probably a scam. Everything in life has a price and if you are promised the sun, moon, and stars – with no effort on your part – RUN! The truth is that it takes time to get into debt and it takes time to get out of debt. It can be done – in fact it is done every day – but be prepared for the process. If you are being promised that all your debts will be settled in 3 months for just 2 cent on the dollar – you are looking at a debt relief scam.

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Financial Transformation Through Christian Debt Relief

Many may think that Christian debt relief is a magic pill for overwhelming credit card debt when in fact these organizations will also employ most of the same options that other credible credit counselors and reputable debt relief agencies will use to help get a client out of debt. This is why; many debtors have been burned by dodgy agencies posing as Christian debt relief centers only to find out that the faith-based principles and assistance they seek are simply magical illusions propped by deceptive marketing.

True Christian debt relief will not make claims for a miraculous intervention for unsecured debt such as those owed from credit cards. Nevertheless, the miracle happens when those under a genuine Christian debt relief program transforms from a debt burdened and overspending complainant to someone who owns up to his or her obligations and dutifully settles them and from then on successfully manages their finances following true Christian stewardship teachings.

Following Biblical Principles

Unfortunately there are scores of scammers and hooligans who use the term “Christian” at will and at their own liberty. It is outright blasphemy and this has made the term Christian debt relief somewhat of a joke. Nevertheless, there are still legitimate Christian debt relief ministries that do provide free counseling and guidance to help debtors in distress get up from under their debts.

Quoting Bible verses is not the mark of a real Christian debt relief group. The Bible teaches about faith that works and truly Christian-principled debt help will result in meaningful efforts that lead to the reduction or elimination of debt without resorting to deception or illegal means. These debt relief programs are centered on Christian counseling, re-education as well as intensive budgeting and financial planning. This enriches the client to become good financial stewards even beyond the full repayment of the debt.

For Better, Not For Worse

With sham debt relief operations, clients are likely placed in more financial jeopardy than they already are. Unscrupulous debt management programs might reallocate your deposits for other purposes instead of repaying your credit card accounts. This would result not only in money lost but also to mounting fees and charges burying the debtor in worse debt than when he began.

In terms of costs, be wary of debt relief programs that ask for so called “voluntary contributions” from its clients. Others have hidden charges that cost an arm and a leg. Real Christian debt relief ministries are usually funded by church communities and similar non-profits to operate and rarely needs substantial fees. If at all, the fees will be marginal, even optional and should not deter Christian credit counselors from dispensing their mission and service to you.

True Christian debt relief services will help alleviate you from your burden of debt and will lead you to the way out of your slavery to debt and towards lasting financial transformation. Check your consumer protection groups and local churches to help you find a suitable Christian debt relief service in your community.

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To Get the Best Debt Relief On My Debts, Where Do I Start?

Living with excessive credit card debt or unsecured debt that is becoming difficult to service is not easy, and if this is you then arranging for the best debt relief possible is a must do.

You need to do it now before the situation becomes too drastic and harder to cope with, because often little or no progress is made in reducing the debt as the card merchants keep on adding their high compounding interest and other costs each month onto what you owe.

My research has shown that If you are paying the minimum amount each month it is going to take around 25 years to settle the debt, providing you don’t charge any further items on the card.

This is scary and all the more reason for you to arrange the best debt relief possible to reduce this debt burden.

Do your homework first and follow the simple rules below and you could expect to be debt free in 1 to 3 years, 5 at the very most.

To Get The Best Debt Relief Where Do I Start?

There are several ways of reducing debt, but as credit card and unsecured debt is what affects people the most I will talk about this, and what you need to do to ensure you get the best results possible in reducing your debt to a manageable level.

Arranging For The Best Debt Relief Is The Solution.

This is the best solution, get the best debt relief help available.

Spending some time now preparing for this will certainly pay dividends in the savings you can make on your debts, and shouldn’t take any more than 4 or 5 days part time.

Also you do need to be very careful when choosing the debt relief company to act for you, is essential you choose one who consistently acts in your best interests.

To Get Best Debt Relief Results Here Are 9 Tips To Guide You.

[1] If your creditors are pressuring you by telephone instruct them to communicate by letter only. Right now it is best to eliminate as many hassles as possible.

[2] Do not tell creditors you are considering debt relief, or any other form of debt reduction.

[3] Spend some time to accurately list all your credit card debts, and include any unsecured loans you may have. To get the best debt relief possible it is essential you do this accurately.

[4] Prepare a list of all your monthly living costs. Occasional expenses are estimated over a year and divided by 12 to give you a monthly amount. Include a realistic monthly amount for unforeseen expenses.

[5] Now edit this cost list, which items aren’t necessary? As an example the savings by cutting back on buying daily coffees, lunches and eating out regularly can be quite substantial.

Is that expensive holiday you are planning essential? Put it back for two or three years and budget on much cheaper ones meantime.

[6] Note your monthly net income. Is it possible to increase on this?

If you have a tax refund, bonus or dividend due could you put this towards the debt payment?

Include part of some savings you may have.

When negotiating debt relief for you an upfront or delayed extra cash payment certainly helps the debt relief company get you a better debt reduction result. Cash is king.

[7] Now note how much you can afford to pay each month to your creditors. Just the total as the best debt relief company will have you pay this to them, and they will distribute it onto your creditors for you.

So each month you make just the one payment to cover all.

[8] Make a list of items you don’t need and could sell on say eBay. Things like sports goods, household items, interesting books or manuals, tools and garden equipment, unwanted presents, toys, anything and everything related to music or entertainment. Items like this can and do fetch good prices and is an excellent way of getting extra cash to offset your debt.

I’ll sidetrack here briefly. Lately I have been doing the same to clear my workshop and some prices I got were quite astounding.

A tractor I considered $900 be top price sold for $2650, an old scissor lift I expected $150 went for $1004, a small box of specialty tools I bought earlier for $300 and no longer need I sold each individually and totaled almost $1900.

Not all items do this and generally most sell for about what I expect, but this shows the power of auction when you have 2 or more keen bidders, or list items individually rather than as a box lot.

[9] You now need to contact a company who specializes in negotiating for their clients the best debt relief possible.

Do your homework on finding the best debt relief company, and make your choice wisely.

My next article will have more advise on obtaining debt relief.

Bruce has a wealth of experience in successful business management, development and marketing, including credit and debt administration and control. He has been self employed for around 40 years and has always made his own way in the world.

In 2009 I investigated 17 debt relief companies searching for the best one in USA and Canada, and rated them on a list of essential criteria the company should have.

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