August 1, 2008

There’s more to the mess than just the mortgages

For several years we’ve focused on mortgage servicing issues, particularly on how to avoid being taken advantage of. After all, as Will Rogers said, “It’s easier to stay out than get out.”

But something we’ve discovered which really shouldn’t surprise most people is there are far more borrowers out there headed toward the brink of mortgage trouble than those already being harassed or foreclosed on.

And like millions of people, they’re carrying mountains of other debt, primarily credit card balances and other unsecured debt with astronomical interest rates.

Not exactly news, is it? What is, or needs to be news is some people are so desperate to stay in their homes that they’ll turn to almost anyone or try anything to get out from under their other debts so they can keep making the house payment.

Which brings us to a word of warning: Never pay anyone who says they can eliminate your debt for you – especially if it’s a web site offer or is being marketed through a network of referral participants. And we’re not talking about reducing debt via negotiation which anyone can do for themselves with a little knowledge. The dangerously expensive programs are those that claim to actually eliminate your debt over a very short period of time.

We’ll be outlining some of the more common schemes in more detail as well as the new ones that keep cropping up, but there are some huge red flags too many people just don’t see in their desperate search for a solution. Major red flag examples are claims like:

1 – The bank loaned you their credit, not money. According to the promoters, it's supposedly illegal for banks to do that.

2 – There is an “administrative remedy” process that you can use (or that they’ll conduct for you) that will not only eliminate your debt but will make it so the creditor actually owes you money. You’ll find these embellished with terms like “international” and “admiralty” in some versions.

3 – You can protect yourself from creditor lawsuits by filing UCC statements and separating yourself from your all-capitals name “strawman.”

4 – For a fee, they’ll take care of your debt, even assume it from you and they know how to turn the tables on the creditors through a unique arbitration program or something that's known as novation.

5 – You can submit things such as an “affidavit of truth” or a “bill of exchange” or file a commercial lien against a creditor.

6 – That you can prevail through common-law arguments.

The promoters have learned to flood the Internet with press releases and affiliate web pages so they show up in Google searches. They use recorded audio messages, some have “conference calls” to listen in on and even YouTube videos are appearing. Trying to keep a list of them would be a full-time job so the best bet is to look for those red flags and NOT SEND THEM MONEY!

Craig and Dave

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