In an update of a Scam of the day from May 29, 2017 at which time I reported to you about the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and the Florida Attorney General obtaining a temporary injunction shutting down a phony debt relief scam operated by Jeremy Lee Marcus, Craig Davis Smith and Yisbet Segrea who used eleven companies such as Financial Freedom National and Loans, Instahelp America, the defendants have settled the claims against them. Pursuant to the settlement, the defendants are required to turn over assets worth approximately 35 million dollars and are permanently banned from the debt relief and credit repair businesses.
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. The particular scammers involved in this case 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.  Despite collecting processing fees and monthly payments of as much as a thousand dollars or more, the scammers never provided the loans.  The scammers also 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.
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
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