In several recent articles and blog posts, I have taken a strong position against bogus “debt elimination” programs. Unfortunately, these scammers seem to be getting bolder by the day.
In the past few weeks, I’ve actually seen some of the perpetrators issue press releases. Talk about a fast track to getting on a “world’s dumbest criminals” show! It’s only a matter of time before authorities shut down these clowns like they did with the Dorean Group (see my blog post of April 10th), but in the meanwhile thousands of unsuspecting consumers are getting soaked for big money.
I won’t post the links to the press releases here in this blog because I don’t want to help the scammers by giving them free backlinks and thereby helping them obtain traffic from the search engines. This morning I surfed a link in one of the press releases, which took me to one of the cheesiest-looking debt websites I’ve ever seen.
Here’s what the website says: “Now you can discharge 100% of your Credit Card Debt without Bankruptcy, Consolidation, or Refinancing. Yes, actually walk away from this debt!” The site also claims that this is legal and ethical.
You know, maybe I’m taking the wrong position thinking that consumers are innocently being bilked in this scam. Maybe the scammers and the victims deserve each other. I mean, really, how dumb do you have to be to think it’s “ethical” to walk away from your debts? There’s an old saying: “You can’t cheat an honest person.” Perhaps the folks who get conned into this scheme have a little larceny in their hearts and deserve what they get.
On the other hand, I understand how vulnerable people are when they are buried in credit card debt. It must be really tempting to drink the kool-aid and believe the nonsense pitched by these kooks.
Anyway, I was interested to see that one of the scammers actually posted documents providing “proof” that the “no money lent” system really works in getting debts erased. These folks claim to have “eliminated” nearly $150 million of debt. So I took a look at the “proof.” It consisted of nothing more than a few documents showing that the creditor withdrew a case or that a case was dismissed. In a couple of instances, the “proof” was in the form of notices from arbitration forums. Leaving aside the fact that arbitration awards or notices are not formal legal documents (and therefore are equal in value to toilet paper in terms of proving anything at all), the remaining actual court documents prove exactly nothing. Why? Because there are numerous reasons why a collection lawsuit might be dismissed or withdrawn, and none of those reasons have anything to do with the bogus legal theories espoused by these clowns. Such reasons include prior settlement of the debt out of court, the creditor’s inability to locate the debtor, a debtor stipulating to judgment, and even instances where a legitimate dispute against the creditor was demonstrated by the debtor. In other words, there are lots of reasons why collection lawsuits do not always proceed to the point of judgment. But these documents of withdrawal or dismissal do not prove anything relative to claims made by the scammers for their magic “system” of erasing debts.
The boldness of these scammers continues to amaze me. I recently spoke with one consumer who had been pitched by a “debt elimination” scam sales agent. The sale rep actually suggested that the consumer (who was still current on her obligations at that point) OPEN A NEW CREDIT CARD ACCOUNT solely for the purpose of paying the scammer’s outrageous fees, with the intention of immediately defaulting and never making any payments at all. Folks, that’s FRAUD, pure and simple.
So, my message for the day to the con artists who peddle this scam is this: Keep it up! Keep painting a great big red bull’s-eye on your back by issuing press releases and encouraging consumers to commit fraud. It’s only a matter of time before some state Attorney General takes aim. I can’t wait to see the documents produced by the discovery process in such a case, which is sure to happen sooner or later. It should make for some seriously fun reading.
Of course, when that happens, the other scammers will have an easy answer. The inevitable attack by the FTC or state AGs will all be a part of the “banking conspiracy” to keep the “truth” from the American people, the government is part of the conspiracy, etc. That’s what those two ripoff artists from the Dorean Group are still claiming, while they sit in jail awaiting trial for wire fraud and other criminal charges …