Credit Counseling

Thanks for sharing this!

You’re in debt and struggling to pay what you owe. You’ve heard there are tax-exempt credit counseling services that can help you manage your finances.

Beware! Not all of these organizations are legitimate. In October, the Internal Revenue Service, Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and state regulators issued a consumer alert about certain tax-exempt credit counseling operations. And in November, the FTC initiated a lawsuit against a national organization. Of concern are companies that use tax exempt status to get around consumer protection laws, then take advantage of you by offering “quick fixes” to your financial problems.

Here are tips for protecting yourself from a possible scam.

  • Make a list of the services in your area. Then check with your local Better Business Bureau to find out if any of them have complaints on record.
  • Call the services and ask how they’ll go about helping you. Are they courteous? What are the fees? The FTC provides a more detailed list of questions to ask. Make sure you’re comfortable with an organization before you set up an appointment.
  • Once you’ve selected the company you plan to work with, READ the contract. NEVER sign an agreement until you read the fine print. If you don’t understand the contract, contact your state bar association. They may be able to provide the name of a lawyer who will agree to a brief, free consultation.
  • If you set up a payment schedule with the counseling service, take time to contact the businesses you owe money to. Make sure they’re being paid according to schedule.

Believe you’re a victim of credit counseling fraud? File a complaint with the FTC online at: www.ftc.gov, or call their toll free number: 1-877-FTC-HELP.

You might also like these posts

Article – Preparing for Hurricane Season Image source: By Nilfanion , via Wikimedia Commons. The map shows the tracks of all tropical cyclones which formed worldwide from 1985 to 2005.The Atlantic hurricane season begins June 1. While the 2014 season is expected to be a mild one, mild doesn’t mean storm-free. Getting ready early is a good idea—and early preparati...
Article — Locked Out Image source: UK, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons What’s on your computer? Your manuscripts? Work? Photos? What would you do if you were denied access to those files—if you were locked out by rogue hackers? If you’re shaking your head because you think nothing on your computer is of value to hackers, consider th...
Article — Tax Identity Theft Awareness Week Image source: ftc.gov Taxes are scary enough, without adding tax identity theft to the mix. The costs—$3.6 billion a year according to an estimate by the US Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration—are scary, too. Unfortunately, both tax ID theft and the costs are on the rise. The US Federal Trade Commission...
Article — Your 2013 Federal Income Tax Return Image source: IRS.gov Whether you’re a part- or full-time freelancer, receiving income means filing a tax return. Here are three things to keep in mind as you look back at your 2013 business activity. Dates: The IRS will begin accepting 2013 business returns on Monday, January 13, 2014. For individual returns, the da...

We write. Visit us in Carpenter Country, a magical place that, like our stories, is unreal but not untrue.

Posted in Articles Tagged with: ,