The reason the credit card scam letter you received in the mail sounds too good to be true is because it is too good to be true. The letter falsely states that is is a “Balance Reduction Notification.” The truth is there is no government funded program that will pay for your credit card debt.
Just this past week, I was helping my bankruptcy client in Rome, GA get prepared for her 341 Meeting of Creditors when she pulled out this scam letter. “Is this real?” she asked. “Should I cancel my Chapter 13 bankruptcy case and pursue this opportunity?”
On its face, the letter looked official. The scam company has a Pennsylvania Avenue address in Washington D.C. The company name makes it sound like they are a division of the United States Government. The letters says it is “Personal and Confidential.” It states that a case number has been assigned to the recipient.
The scam letter states, “Your Revolving Consumer Debt and Credit Card Payments are eligible for hardship programs benefiting from the enactment of the Economic Stimulus Act of 2009.” (FTC testifies on efforts to stop fraud). The scam continues, “this program is not associated with bankruptcy, credit counseling, or debt consolidation; it has been specifically designed to assist consumers eliminate up to 50% of outstanding credit card debt and secure one low monthly payment. This program is available for a limited time so please call as soon as possible.”
With a quick read of the letter, I immediately knew it was not real but I asked her to let me take it back to my office and do a little investigation. After I got back to my Rome office, I googled the name of the company. In the search results, there was story after story about the scam that this company is trying to pull off.
These scam letters really make me angry. You may hear about the promises of these letters and think to yourself, “Who would ever actually believe this stuff?” When people are under the stress of debt pressure, they are often easy prey for con artists. What surprises me is how bold these crooks have become. Using the United States mail system to perpetrate a crime will eventually land these con artists in jail.
If you receive a similar letter, let your bankruptcy attorney review it with you. If your bankruptcy attorney agrees that its a scam letter, let him forward it to the United States Trustee. In Georgia, the U.S. Trustee prosecutes these types of scams.
3. How much does it cost to file?