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Beware of scams focused on eliminating your debts

When an Ohio resident is overburdened with debt, he or she will often go to great lengths to remedy the situation. Many will attempt one or more debt relief programs before determining that personal bankruptcy is the best possible option. While there are certainly some reputable debt relief programs available, the debt relief industry is rife with scam artists who are eager to prey on your commitment to eliminating your debts.

In fact, at least one state's attorney general has spoken out against these phony debt relief companies, claiming that debt relief scams are the top consumer complaint. That state has launched an initiative aimed at educating consumers about the risk of debt relief scams and helping them to identify better paths for overcoming overwhelming debt. The office of the attorney general has also filed suit against one company that is believed to be operating a scam.

Many of these scams target people who have hefty student loan debt. The programs offer to provide student loan debt relief by deferring payments. However, consumers are not properly informed that deferring student loan payments will cause the interest to rise, making the overall debt higher in the long run. These clients are also not informed about other, often free, programs that can help borrowers gain control over their student loans.

For those in Ohio who are considering debt relief programs, it is important to do the legwork to determine if an offer is coming from a valid and legitimate debt relief organization. Scammers target consumers who are in difficult scenarios. Many believe that student loan debt scams are among the fastest growing rip-offs in the debt relief industry. Eliminating your debts is a worthy goal, but it is important to choose a wise path when working toward becoming debt-free.

Source: Chicago Sun-Times, "Consumer debt still No. 1 source of complaints", Andy Grimm, March 7, 2016

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