Sucker Born Every Minute

The web communications revolution has provided many unprecedented opportunities for commerce – and unfortunately, quite a few opportunities for swindlers to prey on the gullible. This is just as true for debt consolidation as for anything else. Here are some debt consolidation scams to stay away from:

1. “Free Debt Consolidation Services”

Why are these guys doing it for free? How are they making money? Do be aware, though, that cheap debt consolidation services are not always a rip-off, although it would be a good idea to take a second look at anything that sounds too good to be true.

2. Consolidate Your Debts Using Free Government Grants

Yeah, right. The woods are thick with companies that offer information about “free government grants”. Haven’t you heard? Uncle Sam is giving away money like candy (which explains our high taxes!). And you can use this money any way you like – for example, to consolidate your debts. It’s true that the government gives loads of grant money, but I have yet to hear of a Citizen Lifestyle Enhancement Fund. It’s not easy to qualify for government grants, you have to spend the money for a particular purpose, and using it to consolidate your bills might just win you a free bonus – a five-year vacation at the Club Fed.

3. “No Repayment Necessary”

I don’t quite know quite why I included this one, except for entertainment value – if you can read then you’re probably too smart to fall for it. Anyway, here goes: Did you know that banking laws prohibit the charging of interest, and that the Supreme Court has backed this up with several decisions? You can borrow money, fail to pay it back, and then retain a smooth attorney to get you out of paying it back – after all, they had no legal right to lend you the money. Would you like to know how? Well, for the low, low price of $69.95…

If you fall for this one then I’ve got some swampland in Florida I’d like to sell you sight unseen. Oh, and by the way, even if banking law DID prohibit the charging of interest, you’d still have to pay back the principal.

Most debt consolidation swindles are see-through because they aim to take advantage of somebody in financial and emotional distress. As P.T. Barnum said, “There’s a sucker born every minute”.