I wanted to take this opportunity to address a false report, titled the same as this one, about me on a site called Scam Checker. – Source. Unfortunately the site does not allow me to post a rebuttal on the site, so I’m posting it here. If you look at the source file the rebuttal link is an ad to pay for a service to remove the complaint.
It’s not a surprise that some people would attempt to discredit me, after all I spend a lot of time writing and exposing scams, frauds, and dangerous organizations that appear to only want to take financial advantage of consumers. That bad actors don’t like my work and want me to go away.
First – The B.S. Scam Report
I am a consumer from the Washington, DC area, and I came across what I consider one of the typical fraudsters that you find on the internet these days that I think needs to be exposed. This guy seems to have a national audience, which makes him even more dangerous.
First, some background. I am 48 years old. I work in the federal government (I’m not writing this at work, by the way). I am in debt. Like many people, I Googled “get out of debt” since I would like to get out of debt. Pretty basic, huh?
As usual, there are various results in the Google search, and I am a pretty skeptical person. So, I click on a few links to see what I can find. One link was from the guy on CNBC at night that’s always talking about how he was bankrupt. Another was a link to a site called getoutofdebt.org. Another was a link to Lending Tree (you know the company with the commercials about banks competing?).
Anyway, after browsing the aforementioned links for a few minutes, I decide to spend a few more minutes on the getoutofdebt.org site. It looks pretty good, and it seems to be relevant. The first thing that I notice about the site is that it’s written by a guy named Steve Rhode. I don’t know him from Adam, so I Google him, too. As I’m browsing the results from the search, everything looks legit. Lots of quotes from Steve in various news organizations, etc. Of course, Steve, just like the CNBC, claims to have gone through bankruptcy, which is why he is an “expert” now. A few pages in, I find that Steve has written a book on the topic. Okay, so now I know that Steve is using his website to drive book sales. Typical, but, the man has to make a living, I guess, even if he is just using his “free” website to sell his books.
So a little further in to the search results, I notice that Steve is linked to an organization called Myvesta, which claims to be a non-profit. So, I Google “Myvesta Steve Rhode”. And there it is…exactly what I expected to find, since nearly every so-called “guru” is not really that and usually has a shady past. As it turns out, Myvesta, which used to be known as Debt Counselors of America, has a cease and desist order from the state of California, which is known for aggressively pursuing fraudulent activities by companies such as this. Turns out our “guru” is out peddling debt advice and California has shut him down for not complying with California law. And, our so-called “non-profit” is apparently selling a $200 per month “debt payment” plan. What a complete and total fraud! Thank heavens for Google!
So, yet a little further in to these search results, I learn that Steve and his co-founder were forced to resign from the company in late 2003. Ah, but this gets better. Steve resigned and appointed his wife as the President…so, Steve commits fraud, the state of California pursues him, and then he appoints his wife to run his company. Yeah, things have really “changed” at Myvesta, the non-profit charing a $495 enrollment fee and a $200 per month “maintenance” fee.
Needless to say, after figuring all of this out, I decided to keep looking for a reputable site, so if you find one, let me know. I hope this helps expose Steve Rhode, Myvesta and getoutofdebt.org for the complete and total fraud that it is!
Whoever posted these false accusations on Scam Checker didn’t do much fact checking. They were later reposted on RipoffReport.com where I had a chance to respond to them.
Here is my response to that original bogus report that I posted there on March 28, 2010.
Allegation 1: “Okay, so now I know that Steve is using his website to drive book sales.”
Answer 1: Any visitor to my site GetOutOfDebt.org will find that I give all of the books I’ve written to help people with money issues, away for free. Any visitor can download them for free. The books are not available to purchase, they are free.
Allegation 2: “I notice that Steve is linked to an organization called Myvesta, which claims to be a non-profit.”
Answer 2: Myvesta was a fully approved and registered IRS non-profit organization I founded in 1994 as Debt Counselors of America and latter changed its name to Myvesta. It closed it in 2006.
Allegation 3: “Turns out our “guru” is out peddling debt advice and California has shut him down for not complying with California law.”
Answer 3: I have publicly spoken about the “interesting” interaction we had with the State of California late in 2002. It’s no secret and in fact I outed myself on this. Anyone can read the whole story and how we resolved the very confusing and bizarre issue with California by reading my article at getoutofdebt.org/16877
Allegation 4: “I learn that Steve and his co-founder were forced to resign from the company in late 2003.”
Answer 4: Not true. If anything, my temporary departure as president of Myvesta could be best described as a sabbatical. I did take one year off as president but continued to serve as chairman of the board. I took the year off because I realized that over the years of founding and growing the non-profit group I had spent more time with the organization than with my daughter who was soon to graduate from high school and go off to college. I wanted to spend more time with her. I returned to my position of President of Myvesta a year latter.
Allegation 5: “the non-profit charing a $495 enrollment fee and a $200 per month “maintenance” fee.”
Answer 5: At Myvesta we had a number of programs that were offered. They ranged from simple debt advice to the first ever inpatient treatment center for compulsive spending issues and money disorders. We helped people from finding a job to dealing with tax issues and managing their finances. We had a talented and special staff of experts to assist debtors with professional services. Mediations, Negotiators, Attorneys, Tax Experts, CPAs, Financial Planners, Psychologist, Lending Experts, Human Resources, etc. Some programs had fees for these professional services but no program I remember ever had a $200 a month maintenance fee.
Summary: I think you will find the free advice that I provide at GetOutOfDebt.org to be valuable. You can read testimonials from people who know me and have used the site at getoutofdebt.org/testimonials
The complaints posted about me online are a naked attempt to anonymously post false information in an attempt to discredit and scare me into stop writing to protect consumers.