A scam is preying on people who want to save money. The Federal Trade Commission warns, watch out for callers who say they can lower your credit card interest rate.
The phone calls are hounding people all over the nation and one man in Cowpens is the perfect example of what you should do if you get one.
Bruce Knox is just the type of guy a Consumer Advocate like me, loves to meet.
He's smart about his money.
"I sit down and pay all my bills first before I get anything out of it," he said.
And he's skeptical. His motto:
"If it sounds too good to be true it is."
So when Knox called me saying he was getting one phone call after another from companies offering to lower his credit card interest rate... he already suspected they were trying to do a number on him.
"I started to say, you know, how can they offer something that my own credit card won't even offer," said Knox.
The automated callers claim they have a special relationship with the credit card issuers that allows them to guarantee a reduced rate.
Here's what you should know. The Federal Trade Commission says there are some legitimate companies that offer this service, but the majority of these calls are scams. So how do you get around it. If you want your interest rate reduced, call your credit card company.
The FTC also warns don't follow the caller's prompts to press "9" because a charge may show up on your phone bill, or they could try to trick you into entering your credit card number.
Knox did some digging of his own and got the 411 from his credit card company.
"They said if we call you and we want to give you a lower interest rate, we will call you ourselves a life person, not an automated services," said Knox.
Oh yeah, another reason I like Knox.
"The stories that you all do on Channel 7 News to help people like me, gets me to think before I jump and do it."
He was willing to share his story to warn folks like you.
The FTC says even if a legitimate company is offering to lower your interest rate... the truth is... they can't do anything for you that you can't do yourself.
The agency says you have just as much clout with your credit card issuer as these companies. and working with them will not increase your chances of getting a rate reduction.
In these situations, the law is On Your Side.
FTC rules prohibit companies that sell relief services like rate reductions from charging a fee before they settle or reduce your debt.
If you want to reduce your rate, the FTC says the best rule of thumb is to be calm, patient, and persistent.
To report a "scam call" to the FTC call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).
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