Scam of the day – May 29, 2017 – FTC and Florida Attorney General shut down huge debt relief scam

Being in debt is a difficult situation faced by many people. Unfortunately, it can be made much worse when debtors are targeted by unscrupulous scammers posing as debt relief specialists who make matters worse. Recently, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Florida Attorney General obtained a temporary injunction shutting down an alleged phony debt relief scam operated by Jeremy Lee Marcus, Craig Davis Smith and Yisbet Segrea through eleven companies such as Financial Freedom National and Loans, Instahelp America.

According to the FTC’s complaint, the scammers posed as non-profit corporations and promised to provide guaranteed debt consolidation loans at very attractive interest rates to consumers having difficulty paying their debts.  The FTC says that despite collecting processing fees and monthly payments of as much as a thousand dollars or more, the scammers never provided the loans.  The scammers are also alleged to have contacted people already enrolled in debt repayment programs with legitimate debt relief companies and lured them into switching to the programs operated by the scammers.  In so doing, they induced the unwary customers to move their escrow money held by the legitimate debt relief companies to the companies operated by the scammers who then looted the money.

TIPS

There are many debt relief companies that may be able to help people with debt problems, however, credit counseling services may be a better and more economical choice for many people.  While there are legitimate debt relief companies, there also are many scammers who will take your money and provide little, if anything for your payment.  It is important to remember that it is illegal for a debt relief company to charge you a fee prior to settling your debts.

If you are considering using a debt relief company, you should check with your state’s Attorney General and your state’s consumer protection agency to see if there are any consumer complaints against them.  Finally, for detailed information about alternatives to consider if you are having debt problems, go to the FTC’s website at https://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0153-choosing-credit-counselor

7 thoughts on “Scam of the day – May 29, 2017 – FTC and Florida Attorney General shut down huge debt relief scam”

  1. I was one of the unfortunate dummy’s. I was enrolled in legitimate relief company. I was tricked into thinking my accounts were transferred. Im now in worse shape than before. Embarrassed and lost at what to do. I can find very little info on what is going on and what the affected consumers are supposed to do.

    1. Don’t be too hard on yourself. Anyone can get scammed. The entire idea behind Scamicide is to constantly provide people with the information they need to help them avoid scams and to assist them if they become victims. In this particular phony debt relief company scam, the legal case is in the early stages with the court, as I indicated in the Scam of the Day posting, just having issued a preliminary injunction stopping them from operating. But the case continues. I monitor this and other cases constantly and will report to you when there is a resolution and a possible program to return money to the victims. Meanwhile keep reading Scamicide.com to check for this information and to protect yourself from other types of scams. Also, let your friends know about Scammicide.com so they can protect themselves as well.

    2. Corey, I am sure you’re not the only one, since I am there with you. Is there a particular site we can go to get updates on this guy? Where do we go to say we were scammed ?

      1. This legal action is a joint action of the Florida Attorney General and the FTC so you can contact either of these entities for information. In addition, here at Scamicide.com we monitor all of the scam cases we report on so as new developments occur, we will report them to you here.

      2. Ive been trying to figure that out myself. Ive emailed and made a report to FTC through their site. Haven’t heard anything. I found out by chance. Otherwise i may still not know.

      1. It is easy to fall victim for these scams, which is the very reason that I write Scamicide.com to educate people about how to protect themselves from the myriad of scams that are out there. Please let your friends know about Scamicide.com too so they can be warned about scams as well. As for a civil suit, you probably stand a better chance of getting money back through actions of the FTC or your state’s attorney general. I report here on Scamicide.com when money is made available from governmental agencies for the victims of scams. You can check it out at the top of the page.

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