Regardless of how you accrued it, having substantial debt has the capacity to keep you up at night. Maybe you are finding yourself deep in debt because of unanticipated medical bills, or maybe your car died, or you had trouble keeping up with bills or your credit card payments. Once you start to fall into debt, however, it can prove tremendously difficult to dig your way out, and regrettably, some for-profit companies may try to take advantage of your desperation.
More specifically, some debt settlement companies operate under unethical means, and they may engage in unsavory tactics in their efforts to get you to pay up. Therefore, before you sign on to work with one, it may prove wise to do your research. In some cases, signing on with unscrupulous debt settlement agencies can end up plunging you even further into debt. So, what can you do to avoid finding yourself involved in a debt settlement scam? The first step in avoiding potential debt settlement scams involves learning how to identify them from the get-go.
Think twice before you agree to work with a particular debt settlement company if its representatives do one of the following:
If a debt settlement agent tells you he or she can promise to take care of your debt for a set amount, run the other way. In all seriousness, though, tread extremely cautiously with anyone who makes a guarantee about paying off your debts because, regardless of a debt settlement company’s assertions, your creditors do not have to agree to its proposed terms.
Tell you to cease all communications with creditors
A less-than-ethical debt settlement agency may also advise you to cease all communications with your creditors and stop making all payments, but this is not necessarily good advice. In some cases, it can mean you wind up facing additional late fees and fines or other potentially serious consequences.
If a debt settlement company guarantees it can eliminate your debt, or if company representatives tell you to stop communicating with creditors, perform your due diligence before signing on. Their tactics may ultimately harm, rather than help you, and you may have alternative options available to you.