It was only a few days ago that I told you about recent Federal Trade Commission (FTC) actions against a scammer operating a phony debt relief business. Today, I am reporting to you about a bigger FTC judgment against another debt relief scammer who has been order to pay more than 23 million dollars as well as surrender his 55 foot yacht, luxury watch collection and other property. Kevin Guice had been operating a phony debt relief scam through misleading telemarketing until stopped by a temporary restraining order in 2016. Now Guice and the robocall telemarketing companies he operated have been permanently banned from selling debt relief services and ordered to make the substantial payments mentioned earlier in this paragraph. No process has been set up yet for the return of funds to victims of the scam, but as such plans develop, I will report them to you.
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. Guice and his companies Bank Card Services and Credit Assistance Program falsely claimed to be affiliated with the major credit card companies and authorized to substantially and permanently lower their customers’ credit card interest rates. These representations were lies. For his worthless services, Guice charged his customers upfront fees of between $2,500 and almost $26,000. These fees are illegal under federal law.
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
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