Beware Of Misleading Advertising From A Few Debt Settlement Firms

by Mark Brinker

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During the past several months, a number of our clients have received very official-looking notices in the mail regarding credit card debt relief, possibly suggesting that there might be some government sponsored program to assist people with excessive credit card debt.

Upon reviewing these notices they turned out to be nothing more than cleverly disguised direct mail advertisements from debt settlement firms. They used terms like “National Council For … ” and “The Department Of … “, complete with an official-looking seal and a mailing address in Washington, DC. Some even resembled an IRS notice or a W-2 form.

Some made mention of “program eligibility” and others made reference to the “Government Economic Stimulus Act”. At the same time, however, nearly all of these direct mail pieces had a disclaimer in the fine print that indicated that they are “not affiliated with or endorsed by any government agency”.

For the record and to clear up any confusion, we are not aware of any government sponsored program to assist consumers with credit card debt relief.

An interesting question that has come up is …

“How did these firms find out that I was
even having any financial challenges at all?”

The most likely way is they purchased your name and address from one of the major credit reporting agencies (i.e. Equifax, Experian and TransUnion). It’s completely legal for them to do this. If you’re a little surprised that information about you is for sale, here a link where you can confirm it for yourself:

Experian

Note:  We actually called these companies and did a little mystery shopping and asked if we could purchase a mailing list for people having financial difficulty such as drop in credit score, late payment history, etc. They said, “Yes, no problem.”  

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