Empower Your Financial Savvy

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Beware of "Debt Relief" Scams

Debt can happen to any of us. If in debt, you are looking for a way out. But, proceed with caution, tempting offers of debt relief will only make your problems worse, while fraudsters are lining their own pockets. 

How It Works

  • Debt relief scams promise "guarantees" to get you out of debt quickly and easily.
  • You may be asked for advance payment, or to pay ongoing fees, for the "services" they provide.
  • You may receive an offer to enroll in a debt relief program without the review of your specific financial situation. 
  • You may be told to stop paying your creditors.

What You Should Know

  • There is no guarantee that any debt relief program will get you out of debt or stop collection calls or lawsuits. Anyone who makes these promises are lying to you.
  • Debt relief plans can only work if they are based on your specific financial situation. 
  • It is illegal for debt relief companies to seek upfront payment before they provide services.
  • In a scam scenario, you might be convinced payments made to the debt relief company are going directly to your creditors. If you follow the recommendations of the fraudsters to stop paying your creditors, those creditors could bring a lawsuit against you.

What You Should Do

  • Check with your state Attorney General's office before working with a debt relief service to see if it has been the subject of complaints. 
  • Consider negotiating with creditors directly or connect with your financial institution for options they offer to assist with debt relief. 
  • Report any debt relief scams to the Federal Trade Commission by calling 800-382-4357 or online at ReportFraud.ftc.gov. 


Knowledge is power. You have the power to protect yourself from scams. Please share these tips with friends and family.