We have all been the victim of one kind of scam or another. There are the pop-up ads on computers telling us to complete a survey and receive an iPad, there are telemarketers, there are ads that get mailed to our homes offering free products if we just sell our firstborn. The newest scam that is going viral has to do with credit card interest rates and it is one of the scarier scams around.
Who doesn’t want their interest rate lowered? How tempting is it to receive a phone call that says for one small fee they can help make that rate drop below your highest expectations? With our economy the way it is today it is being a lot easier for these type of scammers to make an easy buck.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, says consumers who get these interest rate reduction robo-calls should listen to them with extreme skepticism, and delete them. Many are scams. (consumer.ftc.gov)
When you get calls from these ‘companies’ you have to be extremely leery about getting sucked in. These people know what they are doing and they know how to speak in a way that makes what they are supposedly trying to sell you sound completely legitimate. The companies behind these sales pitches claim that they have special relationship with several different credit card issuers.
They entice you by guaranteeing that the reduced rates that they are offering cannot be found elsewhere and that they will save you thousands of dollars in interest rates and finance chargers. These companies claim that by doing this you will be able to pay off your credit card debt three to five times faster than you would have been otherwise.
The Federal Trade Commission says that the companies behind these robo-calls truly cannot do anything for you that you could not do for yourself – for free! When it comes to your credit card companies you have just as much pull with them as these outside companies claim to, and you are just as likely to get turned down for a rate reduction.
These companies will make you promises and claim that they will negotiate with the companies on your behalf; however the odds of them getting any more leeway with these companies than you yourself could is not at all the case. In fact, FTC investigators have found that the people that pay these services do not get the touted interest rate reductions, do not save the promised amounts, and still do not pay off their credit card any faster.
Amendments to the FTC’s Telemarketing Sales Rule prohibit companies that sell relief services like these rate reduction scams on the phone from charging a fee before they settle or reduce your debt. If you do business with a debt relief company, you may be required to put money in a dedicated bank account, which will be administered by an independent third party. The account administrator may charge you a reasonable fee, and is responsible for transferring funds from your account to pay your creditors and the debt settlement company when settlements occur. (consumer.ftc.gov)
You must learn how to protect yourself from companies like this. Obviously the easiest and most surefire way to avoid this drama is to hang up the phone or delete the message. Do not let yourself get sucked into their schemes. These people can talk a good game, and why shouldn’t they? They have been able to convince tons of people to fork over money to them for a service that they know they are unable to complete. Easy money. Don’t let yourself be tempted into forking over money to these scammers.
- Never give out your credit card information. Once it is in the hands of a scammer, they are able to charge your card for any purchases they wish or sell your information to other scammers.
- Do not give out any other personal information either, such as bank account or Social Security numbers.
- Be skeptical of everything. If it sounds too good to be true that is probably because it is.
- To report violations of the National Do Not Call Registry or to register your phone number, visit DoNotCall.gov or call 1-888-382-1222.