Ensure the companies you approach about your financial problems are genuine
It’s tough for many people to make ends meet in these recession-hit times. For those caught in increasing debt it can be difficult to know where to turn for advice.
The Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said last autumn that “consumers in difficulty often seek immediate debt advice in desperation”, and for this many people turn to the internet. In this issue we’ll explain what can happen when people look for debt advice online – and explain how to avoid falling into the traps.
What you can find
As well as taking out television ads, debt management companies are very busy online. Type a phrase such as ‘debt advice’ into a search engine and at the top of the results will be companies offering this ‘help’. Many people don’t realise these are adverts for companies hoping to make money out of them.
There are charities that offer genuine, unbiased free advice, but they tend to appear lower down in results. To complicate matters further, the names of the companies are very similar to the names of the charities. That makes it easy to confuse charities such as the National Debtline (NDL) and Consumer Credit Counselling Service (CCCS) with debt management companies that have similar names.
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