Some scammy debt relief companies will say just about anything to get your money. They promise to get you a lower credit card interest rate, claiming to be able to save you thousands of dollars but they don't have special connections to do that. Anything a debt relief company says they can do for you, you can do for yourself — for free.
What To Know About Lowering Your Interest Rate
The interest rate on your credit cards affects
- how much extra you might end up paying for things that you buy on credit
- how long it will take you to pay off your credit card balance
Finding ways to lower your interest rate can save you money. While there are no guarantees, the first step to lower your interest rate is to call the customer service number on the back of your credit card and ask the company for a lower rate. There aren’t any shortcuts or special tricks to getting a lower rate.
How Credit Card Interest Rate Reduction Scams Work
You’ve probably gotten calls or messages from companies guaranteeing — for a fee — to get you a lower credit card interest rate and promising to save you thousands of dollars. These scammy debt relief companies will tell you just about anything to get your money:
- Scammers say they have special relationships with banks and credit unions. They don’t.
- Scammers may claim that the lower interest rates they’re promising are only available for a limited time. They say you need to act now. But they’re just trying to rush you into a quick decision.
- Scammers guarantee you’ll get your money back if they can’t get your rate lowered. It’s not true. Instead, you’re likely to end up paying extra balance transfer and other fees (that they didn’t tell you about), as well as the fee paid to the company.
Anything these companies say they can do for you, you can do for yourself — for free. You have just as much clout with your bank or credit union as these companies.
Also, by law, companies that sell debt relief services on the phone can’t charge a fee before they settle or lower your debt.
How To Protect Yourself From Debt Relief Scams
Don’t share your credit card, bank account, or Social Security numbers — or any other personal information — with anyone who calls you out of the blue. Once a scammer has your information, they can use it to commit other fraud against you.
Don’t pay a company any money before they help you. That includes services to reduce your credit card’s interest rate. It’s illegal for these telemarketers to charge you before they’ve actually done something.
Hang up on robocalls. If you answer the phone and hear a recorded message instead of a live person, it's a robocall. A robocall trying to sell you something is illegal unless the seller got written permission, directly from you, to call you that way. To get your permission, the seller has to be clear it’s asking to call you with robocalls, and it can’t make you agree to the calls to get a product or service. If you give permission, you have the right to change your mind later. So if you haven’t given the company permission, and the robocall is trying to sell you something, there’s a good chance it’s a scam. At the very least, it’s from a company you don’t want to do business with. Learn more about blocking unwanted calls.
What To Do if You Paid A Scammer
Scammers often ask you to pay in ways that make it tough to get your money back. No matter how you paid a scammer, the sooner you act, the better. Learn more about how to try to get your money back.
If you’ve lost money to a phone scam or have information about the company or scammer who called you, report it at ReportFraud.ftc.gov.
If you didn’t lose money and just want to report a call, you can use our streamlined reporting form at DoNotCall.gov.