POINTS TO REMEMBER BEWARE OF DEBT DEBT ELIMINATION SCAMS ELIMINATION by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott Be diligent in paying bills and debts today REBUILDING A GOOD CREDIT RATING debts. Once a consumer paid off his debt, ultimately be the creditor’s decision if to ensure good credit in the future. For assistance after a hardship takes time and the “loan” would be forgiven. they wish to accept an offer made on with credit problems, education and counseling: good management. Credit counseling The $5,000 fee was actually deposited your behalf, including the renegotiated NATIONAL FOUNDATION services and debt repayment plans both to an account in the name of “Del amount owed and the timeline in which FOR CREDIT COUNSELING offer long-term, practical solutions to Sur International Holdings,” which it must be paid. (800) 388-2227 debt management. our investigators traced to Panama. And even if the creditor accepts the www.nfcc.org But where there are debt-weary Bankopp.com’s owner never offered any offer, they will likely inform credit consumers, there are fast-talking op- evidence in the case that a “bank” even bureaus that you did not honor your For assistance with credit problems that could portunists who promise quick relief and existed. original agreement with them. That result in mortgage default or foreclosures: “debt elimination” plans that are “100% In truth, Bankopp.com and its assoc- information could remain in your credit HOUSING AND URBAN DEVELOPMENT guaranteed” to erase your bad credit. iates were simply out to cash in on the history report for several years. (800) 569-4287 These types of claims are usually false or misery and vulnerability of overwhelmed Debt settlement will not prevent neg- www.hud.gov/foreclosure/index.cfm misleading. Despite what a credit repair consumers. ative marks against your credit history. company may tempt you to believe, there Legitimate ﬁnancial assistance in the If you fail to pay your bills in full and For a copy of your credit report: is no easy way to ﬁx bad credit. face of seemingly impossible debt is on time, this will likely make it more This summer, my Consumer Protection available. If you have a problem paying difﬁcult to obtain credit or, in some cases, EXPERIAN Division closed down a fraudulent a debt, immediately contact your creditor even future employment. P. O. Box 9532 “debt elimination” operation which tar- and ﬁnd out if you can make alternate If a creditor does not accept an offer Allen, TX 75013 geted victims of last year’s hurricanes as payment arrangements. Ask if and how from a debt settlement company on (888) 397-3742 well as other consumers facing ﬁnancial this will affect your credit history. Even your behalf, the creditor can continue www.experian.com difﬁculties. if creditors reduce the payments and to attempt collecting directly from you, Bankopp.com and its owner David give you more time to pay a debt, it most including through a lawsuit or other EQUIFAX Jason West promoted a scheme through likely WILL show up for several years on legal action. P. O. Box 740241 seminars in various states in which your credit report. Creditors are generally Know all fees a debt settlement Atlanta, GA 30374-0241 hurricane victims and others were willing to negotiate terms directly without company will charge before you contract (800) 685-1111 fraudulently promised the complete the need of a debt settlement company. with them, above the amounts that will www.equifax.com elimination of debt within a few Consider talking to an attorney before- be used to pay creditors directly. short months. hand and ask for an explanation of the If you are transferring money to a third TRANS UNION To become enrolled in the program, different legal choices available to you party to pay your creditors, be sure to check P. O. Box 2000 however, consumers were required to and the consequences of each before periodically with your creditors directly to Chester, PA 19022 wire a one-time $5,000 deposit to an you stop paying a debt. A debt settlement ensure that your debts are being paid. (800) 916-8800 unidentiﬁed “bank” that would initiate company cannot offer you legal advice or Remember, there are seldom quick www.tuc.com the debt elimination process and use the representation. ﬁxes to your credit history if it reﬂects deposit to defray the costs of the process. Do not trust a debt settlement company legitimate debts you did not pay. The Once the cumulative debt of applicants that “guarantees” fast results and assures key to rebuilding your credit is to reached $100 million, the bank would you your credit will not be negatively manage your debt and to consistently begin making loans to pay off individual affected by using their services. It will pay your bills on time.