Money problems are not something Canadians typically advertise. They may not want to talk about their financial troubles or reach out for help, and they may struggle with feelings of embarrassment and desperation. Unfortunately, being in this position makes them targets for debt relief scams.
Scammers use various schemes to get people to give them money or personal information, allowing them to do things like stealing their identities. To protect yourself from these people, it can help to know how to spot a debt relief scam.
Words to watch out for
Scammers use certain words that should set off alarms. However, if you don’t know what these are, they can be easy to miss.
If someone contacts you about your debt, a loan or other financial matters, pay attention to whether they are using words and making claims such as:
- “Repairing” your credit
- Guarantees of quick and easy debt elimination
- Aggressive requests for up-front fees
- Being able to erase negative information from your credit report
- Boosting your credit score
- Directions to lie to financial, legal or government institutions
Further, steer clear of anyone demanding payment or threatening to report you to authorities or other agencies for not complying with their requests.
These phrases and actions can signify that the party contacting you is not a legitimate enterprise and is not providing lawful debt relief solutions.
In general, be wary of anyone making claims that seem too good to be true. The fact is that handling debt takes time and work. Anyone suggesting otherwise should be viewed with suspicion.
Finding legitimate support
While it can be tempting to pursue relief options that seem like they could offer an easy solution, doing so could cost you money and further damage your credit score.
Instead, it can be more effective to seek out legitimate means of addressing debt. Some options include:
- Restructuring debt
- Filing for bankruptcy protection
- Negotiating with creditors
- Credit counselling
These measures can allow consumers to resolve debt issues properly, put this difficult chapter behind them and make a fresh financial start.