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Certified Debt Reduction Notice – Utter BS

Written by Steve Rhode

So this Certified Reduction Notice arrived in the mailbox of one of my amazing readers. I have no clue what make this notice “certified.” Certifiable is more like it.

The sales letter, that’s what it is, arrived in a plain envelope with little identifying information The letter inside doesn’t even say who the company is behind this.

The claims made in the bold and large print are interesting. In big red numbers is the amount of unsecured debt that is past due. In this case, $19,236. That creates a problem for a couple of reasons. If this is a true reflection of the current debt past due for this reader then how did the company obtain this information to send the mailer? Others have been sued for accessing credit reports fraudulently to get debt information.

Or maybe this is just a number to scare you and has no bearing on reality. The fine print at the bottom says, “Any financial information contained herein is for example purposes and does not reflect any actual debt you may or may not owe.”

certified_reduction_notice

So if are to even begin to believe the letter, the records which may or may not be accurate or pulled out of thin air, say the reader owes some debt to “several credit card agencies.” Now what in the world is a credit card agency. I know what a credit card company is or a debt owner, but how do you owe credit card agency?

Next we get to the claims and promises. You have to love this line, “it has been determined you may resolve this distresses debt for $6,732.” So the potential fictional debt can MAYBE be resolved? When will the bedtime story stop?

Again back to the fine print. The important information says “Consumer may be referred to a non-profit or for profit debt relief agency upon detailed analysis of current financial state.” That tells me this is just a sales letter from a possible lead generating company.

So knowing that, how would a lead generating company have a freaking clue what the performance results expected are from a company they don’t yet know who the consumer will be referred to? More logic defied.

So now lets turn to the benefits section. The most likely companies a consumer would be referred to would be a credit counseling program, debt settlement company, or bankruptcy attorney. But the benefits sold to the consumer don’t apply to all options. And I am totally lost in how someone would avoid “costly debt management programs” when consumers are to be referred to a “debt relief agency.”

Now the only program that most likely meets the benefits of stopping collection calls is bankruptcy. But the mailer says bankruptcy will be avoided.

From a consumer point of view I can see how this sales letter might look like something they’d call, but from the point of view of anyone who has experience in the debt relief world it would be recognized as pure BS.

My best advice to anyone who gets one of these letters would be to do a little homework. I would recommend that anyone considering using such a company should read the following free guides.

  1. The Ultimate Consumer Guide to Checking Out a Debt Relief Company Before You Sign On the Line
  2. 10 Must Do Steps to Find the Best Credit Counseling or Debt Settlement Company for You
  3. How to Check Out a Business or Company to Avoid Getting Scammed or Ripped Off

Oh, and here is the generic envelope.

Screen Shot 2016-03-31 at 9.30.48 AM

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About the author

Steve Rhode

Steve Rhode is the Get Out of Debt Guy and has been helping good people with bad debt problems since 1994. You can learn more about Steve, here.

22 Comments

  • I got the same letter and with the numbers and amount today, mailing envelope are the same as above, Please be careful and don’t call or give any of your info

  • It just hit Katy Texas. Got it. Looked up Certified Benefits Statement and found you guys. Thanks for the post and saving me from running a free credit report. (I only have one left for the next 6 months, and it would have been a shame to waste it otherwise).

  • I got the same number and was given the name John M. Thompson – who is a great attorney who practices in this field – however, he is in Oklahoma. I did receive a direct line to “Brenda”, but she never answers or returns calls. I obviously told them I wanted some time – I will probably never hear back from them again. It sure looks too good to be true – which means it probably is. They said once you pay this off in 2 years your credit would be restored – just doesn’t make sense.

  • Thank you for saving me the time in figuring out what this was!! Got the EXACT same letter dated offer for October 12, 2018.

    • I actually got an attorney’s name that actually handles the debt. Told the caller, (from a call center), I’d have to call him back in an hour just to get off the phone. I looked up the offices of the attorney and actually found him in Los Angeles. Called the firm and talked with a paralegal. It’s legit. It’s not a “credit consolidation” program. Believe it or not, it’s a validation program that just started in 2017. He’s licensed in California and Nevada with the State Bars. Take it for what it’s worth. I dug a little deeper. I’m not really knowing until I process it more. Just my thoughts. ~~~Matt~~~

      • When you talk to the attorney, you might want to ask him how in the world the mailer complies with attorney advertising rules. So you must live in California or Nevada, right? Otherwise, he can’t represent you as an attorney.

  • Today is June 5, 2018 and my wife got the EXACT same letter…same $$ amounts and even the same phone number as described here. Be careful folks, these scammers are still on the prowl!

    • I also received a letter with the exact same dollar amounts 1and looked exactly like the one above – except with my name and address. Stop the scam!

  • As a point thanks so much to all for sharing, pretty clear this is 100% a scam. I received the exact same letter – no markings of company anywhere, “total unsecured debt = $19,236 with a total reduction of debt = $6,732”, “Failure to respond may affect your program rights.”
    Worst part about this is it looks fairly “official” these types of tactics should be completely stopped.

  • I just received this exact same letter. Same numbers, different date, and a different phone number. I knew something was wrong the minute I couldn’t find a name of company.

  • I got the exact same letter with the exact same dollar amount. I have only one credit card that I know of, not several, and I pay it on time every month, it is not past due.

  • I got the same letter with the same $ amounts, different expiration. I googled it and found you. So glad I didn’t pursue tbe letter

  • I received the same letter but with a different number to call and expiration date. I thought something was off as soon as I opened it and was just going to throw it away; the lack of an agency/company name was the biggest red flag. Was curious if it’s already been “debunked” online or not and here I am. Thanks for making such a post for people to find.

  • I received this exact letter today in the mail with the exact same amount and every thing. I decided to google it and found you.. This can be real bad for someone who is not diligent.

  • Hi, It’s November and I got one of these identical wording everywhere and identical debt values (both old and new). Only difference is phone number probably because disposable phone. Same envelope too. Googled the phone number first because no company name. Nothing but Chinese writing results. Googled “certified benefits statement” because that was the boldest writing on the mail and your page came up and confirmed my suspicions. Thanks. Just a heads up its still around.

  • Steve, I received a letter IDENTICAL (including the amounts) to this one today. I’m so grateful that you have this site to keep the general public aware. I am pretty knowledgeable when it comes to legit vs scam and this one immediately seemed like a scam but I wasn’t completely sure. Thanks again!

  • Steve,
    When one of these mailers has a telephone number, run a search on the number. http://www.800notes.com probably has the most numbers with postings, some of which will have the company name. I searched this mailer’s # and came up with zilch.

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