I received a phone call from +1 (863) 559-5991 on Tuesday afternoon, and answered to see what it was about. An automated voice came through.
Curious to see what their offer was, I dialed one to be connected to a human (apparently one should not do this). I was connected to a man who spoke in accented English.
I asked him what bank he represented, and he rattled off a list of large banks, including Chase and Citi. Clearly he wasn’t with a bank.
I asked him what company he represented. The company’s name was “Card Services,” generic as they come.
The offer was for a lower interest rate on any debt that I was carrying.
He asked me what the largest balance was on my credit cards, and how many cards I kept. I told him that I had a handful of credit cards on hand, and that I didn’t carry a balance on any of them.
He stated that their offer was only good for people with at least a couple thousand dollars in credit card debt. I didn’t meet the profile, and so he ended the call.
Later, I found that the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a blog post published regarding calls of this nature:
What’s the deal with “Rachel from Card Services”? (FTC Consumer Information Blog)
They’ll make promises to lower your interest rate permanently — sometimes to a ridiculously low 0% — but charge a fee that can be as high as $5,000. But their promises aren’t true. There are no guarantees for permanently lowered interest rates. And it’s against the law to charge a fee up-front for these services. Most people who pay the fee don’t get a lower rate — in fact, they get into worse debt, and may find unauthorized charges on their cards.
In many cases, these companies charge you for things you could do on your own for free. They might open a new card with a low introductory interest rate, or tell you to take advantage of your credit card company’s existing hardship programs. And they often use shady tactics — like telling you to stop paying your bills, lying to your credit card company so that you qualify for a hardship program, and not telling you that you’ll have to pay additional fees to transfer a balance. If you follow that advice, you’ll be in worse financial trouble than ever.
The FTC has advice for persons who need help settling credit card debt, including help choosing a credit counselor. It’s in the government’s interest, as well as the interest of each consumer, not to fall victim to credit card interest rate reduction scams.