'Debt Settlement' Email Scam
You receive an email from a debt settlement company offering to help you out of your financial woes. They say they can set up a monthly payment plan to put towards your credit card debt, student loans, or medical bills — but only if you send them some money upfront. For example, the email might say that in order for them to take your case and start negotiating with your creditors, they will need $500 from you. This could be a scam! Read this post for the best ways to recognize and avoid debt settlement scams — and stay safe.
Legitimate debt settlement companies do not charge upfront fees. You should never have to pay a company to negotiate with your creditors. They should be paid by the creditors, not you. Besides this, such companies would never contact you via a random email to provide you with information about the situation or to ask you for money. If you ever receive an email message claiming to come from a debt settlement company looking for its money, you should never agree to their offer before you are 100% certain that they are not fake.
The scammers behind the 'Debt Settlement' email scam may have different approaches. Sometimes they will redirect you to a fake website, which poses as a company page listing their demands, or in other cases they will serve you all the information in the email's body. Typically, these scams work in two ways:
- Victims are asked to cover an immediate payment in order to avoid the case going to court and dealing with the authorities. This fear-mongering strategy may be very effective because the initial response of many people may be to do what they're told in order to avoid worse consequences.
- Victims are told that they can get a better payment plan if they make an upfront payment. The 'fear of missing out' may urge some users to agree to these terms in order to save money in the long run.
Needless to say, in both cases, users will end up losing the money once they send them out. Another way to spot such scams is that the con artists behind them will rarely use a reputable payment method – instead, they will ask to be paid via cryptocurrency or gift cards. The latter, in particular, is a big red flag when it comes to online payments.