Debt Relief Help- Watch Out For Fraud

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Attorney General Bill McCollum's office is investigating over 1,700 complaints against debt relief companies. McCollum stated that preying on Florida residents in distress will not be tolerated.

His office has filed 5 lawsuits so far and is reviewing over 30 more lawsuits that they might file. debt relief fraud

One of the companies, Outreach Housing LLC, a Broward County company does business in Palm Beach County. There are over 600 homeowners who filed complaints against this company. About 100 of these homeowners said that Outreach told them to make partial mortgage payments of 60% to the company who then would work with the lenders to reduce their payments, and never did according to the Attorney General's office.

This scam is commonplace of debt relief fraud. They advertise on bus benches, the Internet, newspapers and telephone solicitations. Just because you see it in an advertisement does NOT mean it is true! These companies offer to reduce interest rates, modify loans, set up reduced payment plans and settle debt for pennies on the dollar.

Clients get charged large sums of money upfront and then have to make monthly payments to the debt relief company. Most of the time nothing is done in behalf of the clients, they take the money and leave the clients with more debt, worse credit and higher taxes.

If it sounds TOO good to be true, it is! GO with YOUR gut instincts. Saving your credit is not worth getting ripped off only to find that your credit is ruined!

There is even a law firm in Broward county that scammed over 1,900 Florida Residents and told them that they would have their debts cancelled for only a fraction of what they owe. This law firm was in violation of many counts of the Fair Credit Billing Act. This company would then tell the clients to stop making payments on all of their credit cards and other debt. Many of these people ended up with judgments and defaults on their debt. Debt does not just go away.

Do your due diligence before you hire someone to help you with your debt relief items. You can do a lot of searches on line on any business, check with the Better Business Bureau. You can check licenses at the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation's website.

Help on the Web:

Florida Attorney General's Office

Florida Office for Financial Regulation license research.

Federal Trade Commission- File a complaint with the FTC. Here you can also get a list of questions to ask a debt relief counselor.

Go to the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act by clicking here. You can learn what your rights are here.


The Florida Attorney General's Office says:

Beware of companies that:

  • Guarantee they can remove your unsecured debt or that they can be paid off for pennies on the dollar.
  • Claim that they are working for the Credit Bureau or that using their services will let you avoid bankruptcy.
  • Require upfront fees of more than $50 and monthly fees more than $40 per month.
  • Tell you to stop talking or writing to your creditors or that you can't get sued by your creditors.
  • Do not provide a monthly accounting of your payments to your creditors.
  • Promise no negative impact on your credit reporting or that they can create a new history for you.
  • Say they represent your credit card company.
  • Do not require a written contract or don't have a guarantee or refund policy.


If you are behind in your mortgage payments and would like to see if a short sale may be the right choice for you instead of foreclosure, contact Nestor Gasset or Katerina Gasset as soon as possible.


Contact Nestor Gasset and Katerina Gasset, CIPS, Realtors®, International Properties and Investments, Inc. Licensed Realtors® in Florida at 561-753-0135 to list your property for sale or to purchase a property in Wellington, Royal Palm Beach, Loxahatchee, Lake Worth, Hypoluxo Island, Lantana, West Palm Beach and the rest of Palm Beach County Florida and Port St Lucie Florida. We are accepting referrals.

Call us today at 561.753.0135 or Toll Free 800.444.3316. Contact us by email if you prefer by clicking on email me on the right side of this page under our profile.

To view all the Wellington Florida Luxury Homes For Sale Click here and then click on Search For Homes We know Palm Beach County and St Lucie Country; we will help you get your home Sold if you need to Sell your home and help you buy your Wellington Home or Land ; call us today.

Disclaimer:The information provided herein is supplied by several sources and is subject to change without notice. Wellington Homes Blog does not guarantee or is any way responsible for its accuracy, and provides said information without warranties of any kind, either express or implied. Entries on Wellington Homes Blog represent the opinions and ideas of the author(s). Wellington Homes Blog does not express the views of International Properties and Investments, Inc or those of the broker.

P.S. If you are listing your home as a short sale in Palm Beach County Florida and Port St Lucie Florida make sure you hire an agent who knows how to do short sales and has the experience to get the job done. We are doing successful short sale packages. Call us at 561-753-0135 to find out more about Palm Beach County Short Sales and Port St Lucie Short Sales.

Copyright © 2008 By Katerina Gasset, All Rights Reserved.* Debt Relief Help- Watch Out For Fraud *




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Jennifer Fivelsdal
JFIVE Home Realty LLC | 845-758-6842|162 Deer Run Rd Red Hook NY 12571 - Rhinebeck, NY
Mid Hudson Valley real estate connection

Katerina it is such a shame that the most vulnerable are always taken advantage of.  Good to remind the public how to protect themselves.

Oct 29, 2008 03:50 PM #1
Fran Gatti
RE/MAX Integrity - Medford, OR
Managing Principal Broker - RE/MAX Integrity

I had a colleague tell me that she has a client who is using a loan work-out company who is charging her $4500 just to talk to her about the possibility of a loan work.  The client is elderly and doesn't fully understand what she is getting into.  The agent asked her client to have her son look over the documents before signing and to call her if they have any questions she could answer.  These companies that are abusive are sickening.

Oct 29, 2008 03:56 PM #2
Rebecca Levinson, Real Estate Marketing and Online Advertising Consultant
Real Skillz-Clear Marketing for Your Real Estate Vision - Lake Geneva, WI


Great post- bringing this to light.  Many Debt relief and payday companies both should be shut down....they are legal con artists as it stands today.

Oct 29, 2008 04:15 PM #3
Barbara-Jo Roberts Berberi, MA, PSA, TRC - Greater Clearwater Florida Residential Real Estate Professional
Charles Rutenberg Realty - Clearwater, FL
Palm Harbor, Dunedin, Clearwater, Safety Harbor

Katerina - another great post informing us of what is going on!!! You are always on top of these things!!! Super job once again! I have to agree with Rebecca that these debt relief and payday advance companies should be shut down!

Oct 29, 2008 05:35 PM #4
Lenn Harley
Lenn Harley,, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate - Leesburg, VA
Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland

These opportunistic scam artists seem to crawl out from under their rocks whenever there is a downturn in the economy and large numbers of consumers are in financial trouble. 

One would think that the consumer arms of the government could anticipate these scams and investigate them earlier than after they get many complaints. 

Geez.  We all see the ads.  Can't the government??????  We need a Federal Bureau of Crime Prevention.  Unfortunately, what we have is a Federal Bureau of Investigation.  They do nothing until after many consumers are drained of what little they have and the consumer is never compensated.  The money is gone. 

There's something wrong with this picture. 


Oct 29, 2008 10:16 PM #5
Heather Goodwin
Licensed by the Louisiana Real Estate Commission - Shreveport, LA
GoodWin Team Realty

This is sickening, and it happens throughout the country.  Very sad that they prey on the people who have the least to give and the most to lose.

Oct 30, 2008 01:58 AM #6
Esko Kiuru
Bethesda, MD


The crooks are now taking advantage of distressed homeowners. A good rule to go by is to avoid debt relief firms that ask for money up front for whatever purpose.

Oct 30, 2008 08:14 AM #8
Scott Cowan
RE/MAX Professionals - Olympia, WA

Katernia- It criminal the way that the people that need the help are being taken advantage of. We need to keep getting the word out to everyone so that these sleazebags cannot continue to take advantage of the innocents.



Oct 30, 2008 01:26 PM #9
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