The Debt Menders site promises to clear your debt today, offers guaranteed credit repair, and will lower your payments instantly. You probably know the general type of site I’m describing already if you’ve been on the internet for at least ten minutes searching for debt help.
But this site is definitely different from all the rest. You see it’s a total scam, and they even admit it.
The Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs contacted me to share the site with you. They created the site in an effort to help educate consumers about internet scams.
There are two components to this website: the first is a “teaser” page that appears to sell the consumer a debt relief service that guarantees results no matter the situation of the individual consumer. It has been modeled to look very much like many of the websites that promise guaranteed results, but in fact deliver nothing in return for the consumer’s money, or result in identity theft of consumer’s personal information. On clicking any of the links to find out more information, the consumer is directed to a second page that reveals that the first page is an example of a scam and is brought to the consumer by the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs. Most importantly, there is information about spotting fake debt relief advertisements. The website also contains valuable information about how to protect yourself as a consumer, and a number of resources to consult if a consumer has become a victim of a scam.
But you must visit the Debt Menders site and click on the apply now button. The graphical design is worth the effort. Now that’s what I call a smack in the face.
Debt Menders does an excellent job of laying out what to avoid in debt relief opportunities.
- Charges upfront fees
Any service that charges upfront fees should be an immediate red flag for you. According to the Federal Trade Commission’s regulations, it is a violation of the regulations to solicit an advance fee for debt relief services. You are not required to pay a fee until the company you are working with has successfully performed the services it guaranteed.
- Guarantees to reduce or eliminate your debt
No legitimate service can guarantee to reduce or eliminate your debt. Debt reduction is a negotiation process involving your creditors, and the outcome ultimately relies on your creditors’ approval of the terms put forth by the company. If you see words or phrases such as “guaranteed,” “no problem,” or “100 % money back,” you should be suspicious immediately, of the claims being made.
- Guarantees to repair your credit
Again, no service can guarantee to repair your credit without even looking at your report to begin with. Some fake advertisements also make claims to “erase bad credit.” If you see these claims remember that no one has the authority or means to erase anything from your credit report, as long as it is accurate.
- Claims to make debt relief instant
Another sign of a scam is when advertisements use phrases like “instant,” “quick and easy,” or “fast and effortless.” There is no such thing as instant debt relief. It is a process that requires hard work, time, and patience. Be cautious of companies that make such claims – they are more than likely not legitimate.
- Does not disclose the cost of the services up front
- Advises you to stop communicating with your creditors
- Attempts to enroll you in a debt relief program without reviewing your financial situation or spending a significant amount of time doing so
- Requires you to provide your personal financial information, such as credit card and account numbers in order to send you information about the services it provides
- Instructs you to make “voluntary contributions”
- Tells you it can stop you from receiving debt collection calls
- Uses names with “federal” or “national” in them, claiming to be affiliated with government agencies
Well here is a hat tip to the Massachusetts Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation. Excellent job!