Beware Lower Interest Rate Phone ScamsDecember 31, 2010 - 8:29 am
Who wouldn’t like to receive a low interest rate credit card? When you receive a phone call from someone saying they can help you lower your interest rate, you’d naturally jump at the chance. However, if you give out any information during this phone call, you’re most likely falling prey to a scam.
Recently, a new type of scam has been used to trick consumers into giving out personal information that could be used in credit card fraud or identity theft. Or, the scammer could just want to get you to pay some money for their rate reduction services.
Variations of the Rate Reduction Scam
This credit card rate reduction scam involves a person calling you and promising to lower your credit card interest rate. These calls often start with a recorded message that says press a certain number to speak with a live representative. Or, you may have to hang up and call a different number to talk to someone about getting your interest rate lowered.
The caller may even say they’re working for your credit card company or that they have a special relationship that allows them to negotiate with your creditors. The scammer may convince you to pay a fee for these rate reduction services, or they could try to sell you some type of product that will teach you to negotiate lower rates on your own.
Even though the offer may come with a money-back guarantee, you’ll probably have a hard time actually getting your money back if you fall for this scam. Many consumers have been unsuccessful at getting a refund after they’ve paid for these rate reduction services.
The Truth About Lower Interest Rates
There was a time that you could call your credit card issuer and ask for a lower interest rate, especially if you had excellent credit and credit card offers with better rates. However, it’s not as easy as it once was (if it ever was) to negotiate a lower interest rate. If anyone can lower your interest rate, it’s you. There’s no reason to pay a fee to a company who simply calls your credit card customer service and requests a lower interest rate. You can do that yourself.
How to Avoid These Scams
If you get a call from someone promising to lower your interest rate, just say you’re not interest and hang up. Don’t give out your personal information, especially your credit card number, Social Security Number, or the security code on the back of your credit card.
If you think you’d like to sign up for such a service, ask the company to first send you a written contract that includes the terms and conditions of their service. In most cases, the company won’t have a contract to send you or they’ll try to convince you to sign up without viewing a contract.
If you’ve been a victim of a scam like this, report the company to the Better Business Bureau (BBB.org) and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC.gov). You can stop most telemarketing calls by visiting DoNotCall.gov.