An unfortunate fact of living in a big city is higher crime rates. When you think of crime in New York, violence might most often come to mind. It is important to remember white-collar crime causes people grief too. One of the worst types of criminals is those who prey on already vulnerable people, such as children, the elderly and those seeking debt relief.

Criminals know that when you seek debt relief options, you are eager to get out of a difficult situation. This may cause you to let your guard down, so keep an eye out for the following.

  1. It charges upfront fees

The Federal Trade Commission advises consumers to avoid any debt relief or credit counseling service that charges fees before settling debts. Any pressure to make voluntary contributions should also raise alarms. Another approach they may take is to try to force you to make payments under the threat that creditors will not accept you in their debt management programs.

  1. Make wild guarantees

When people are facing collection calls and direct harassment from creditors, any promise to make it all go away sounds good. However, as the old cliche goes, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. The company may try to justify this by saying there is some new government program. If there was, you probably would have already heard of it.

  1. Moves too fast

If the company then offers to enroll you in a program without even taking a good look at your financial situation, something is really wrong. They may also offer to enroll you in a program but never give you any counseling on money management. These are all red flags.

When trying to resolve debt, be wary of companies making big promises. Many of them do not care about consumers and their needs. Their aim is to make a quick buck at your expense and move along.

This article shares information from the FTC on debt relief. It should not be used to replace legal and financial advice.