With the cost of everything from gasoline to groceries rising, you might find your debt piling up. So, when you get a call promising to help out, it might sound like a dream come true, but beware! A Credit National Assist scam is out there trying to dupe consumers out of their cold hard cash.
Reports of fraudulent phone calls from scammers offering financial assistance are on the rise. Scammers particularly like to target seniors or those crippled with debt.
The phone calls reportedly come from unidentified phone numbers, and the scammer might even leave a voicemail urging you to return the call. The scammer will identify themselves as someone working for the Credit National Assist Company. They promise to offer financial assistance and help you settle your debts. They will ask you to provide personal information like your name, address, bank account information, and possibly your Social Security number.
Requests for upfront payment are a red flag.
If a caller with a so-called debt relief company asks you to pay upfront for their assistance, that’s a big red flag indicating you have a scammer on the other end of the phone line. It’s illegal to charge for debt relief.
“These operations often charge cash-strapped consumers a large up-front fee, but then fail to help them settle or lower their debts – if they provide any service at all,” states the FTC’s website.
What are other warning signs of a Credit National Assist scam?
According to AARP, other warning signs might indicate that the credit relief is too good to be true, such as:
The credit relief guarantees to eliminate your debt or reduce it by a specific deadline.
- The caller requests that you cut off communication with your creditors.
- The caller refuses to provide more information about the company and the services offered unless you provide your financial information.
Debt settlement companies are required to disclose all of their fees and services, so be skeptical if the caller isn't willing to provide you with that information.
Some scammers might even try to scare you into working with them by threatening you with lawsuits, arrest, or deportation.
Legitimate credit assistance companies do exist.
There are legitimate credit assistance and credit counseling businesses out there. If you're in crippling debt and need relief, you should research the options available instead of waiting for a legit company or a scammer to call you.
You can start by contacting your bank, credit union, or credit card company for recommendations on businesses that can help you get out of debt. Many financial institutions offer their own credit counseling programs. You might also be able to negotiate directly with your credit card company.
When you get a recommendation for a company that offers credit assistance, you can check with the consumer protection agency or your state attorney general’s office to see if the business is legit.
Report Credit National Assist scams to the FTC.
Whether you fall for a scam or not, you should report the fraud to the FTC at (800) 382-4357 or online.