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Credit Repair Scams We Investigated

The Scam Companies We Investigated

Scam Alert #1 - posted Jan 11, 1999, sent by STrat62137@aol.com
I am having a problem getting my credit card from an organization called NCS (National Card Services)their phone number is 888-272-3332 and it goes to a voice mail box. I called a while ago and they called me back and said I needed to wait ten days from the date the check cleared ($189.00) the bank to receive my card info packet on how to get my card. When I signed up they said I would get my card in 10 days not an info packet on how to get it. To this date I have not received anything from them and I am ready to file suit if they don't do something quick!!!!

Here's another complaint about the same company (National Card Services) - posted Jul 3, 1999
If you find anything out about scam 1 about National Card Services I would like to know I got the same thing and they took $189 out of my checking account and said that I would get a card and I got a book with 47 pages. They are definitely a rip off.

CreditInfoCenter Research on this company: There appears to be a merchant services group with the same name, but the information does not seem to match the info given by our reader. We called the number our reader provided and did get voice mail stating "National Card Services" But the voice mail box seemed unattended. We suspect someone has heisted the otherwise reputable name of National Card Services. We left notice on this mail that they have been posted as a scam and instructions on how to contact us. We await their reply.

Scam Alert #2 - posted Feb 3, 1999
In October I responded to an advertisement placed in my local Newspaper that recommended Debt Consolidation. The companies name was Franklin Credit Services in Florida. For a fee of $300 they would put me in touch with a consolidation company and eliminate my debt with a similar plan to CCCS. I paid the fee and was introduced to Amansco Credit Serviceswho had me fill out the appropriate paperwork. After being told of an initial payment of $460.00 and sending it, I called the number to find out that all of the numbers given to me were full voice mail boxes and I was unable to contact them. I am still unable to contact them, and the Better Business Bureau in Florida is having the same trouble.

Scam Alert #3 - posted Feb 20, 1999
I have information on a company called AFCA. They are with the United Credit National Bank. I paid a little over $100 in fee's, and never received anything. They told me that they mailed my card out to me, but never got it. I called them three times, and each time they told that a new card was being sent out. After five months, I received a letter stating that my account was closed. I called them, but nobody had information why my account was closed. The operator told me that a checked was mailed out to me a month before I had called, but I never received it!! By the way the check was for $59 that was sent. He advised me that they would send me another check for $59 for the years fee, and $40 for the membership fees. That was two months ago, and I haven't received anything yet.

Here's another complaint about the same back end company - posted Feb 20, 1999
A credit credit card by the name Ace Visa is ripping people off. Here is what happen to my wife and I. You are sent an application by mail and it appears that you will have a credit line of $400.00 to rebuild your credit. Then you sign the application and send it in. Then the next few weeks you get a credit card with only $50.00 left on the credit line, because they have billed $350.00 to the card for a purchase of how to get your credit in shape. Then you call the card company phone number listed on the bill which is United Credit National Bank (UCNB). They tell you what you want hear, and that they will cancel the card. Then again the following month you get a bill for payment again for the original purchase of something which you never receive and with a over the limit charge. Again, you call in and they tell you the same thing "It takes 30-45 days to get the accounting debt to straighten it out, we will send you a credit statement next month". I have written a registered letter to UNCB and they have never credited the account nor have they canceled my card. They still send me a billed statement for something I never received which I have disputed since day one I received the card and bill.

Here's a positive letter but we feel suspicious letter about this company - posted June 22, 1999
Note: It smells suspiciously like the company got one of it's employees to send it in. Our comments in maroon.

In regards to United Credit National Bank, the ACE VISA program, Yeah, most readers get so specific with the programs, spelling them out like this. I read some comments other readers had posted to your website. I have been a UCNB ACE VISA holder for 9 months now. Yes, I was billed the 350 for the course materials initially and I had paid that off. I did not mind at all. I knew ahead of time that this was the arrangement. I had recently had my bankruptcy discharged and I was pleased about the course material content. Remember the recent BK discharge comment here. Important later.

I learned a great many things about how credit works, over limit fees, etc. things I had no idea about. Since being an UCNB cardholder, I have had 2 credit limit increases since being a card holder. It appears they review one's activity and performance every 90 days.Can you say "promotional brochure information"?

The reason I am posting this information to you is so that other readers will know the other side and not just the two isolated complaints. I for one am pleased with how I have been treated by UCNB. I knew in advance about the ACE program material and the conditions of the program. I have reestablished my credit using that program. It helped me a lot. So, before people start bashing UCNB perhaps they may want to consider the conditions of the program and what they get for it before entering into agreement with ACE.

In the end, they have fulfilled to my satisfaction their part of the agreement and I continue to be a cardholder and use this VISA. The $350.00 charge to the account in my opinion is well worth the information presented and the convenience of the VISA. Simply this advice, if the new cardholder makes their payments on time and religiously, they have nothing to worry about. The program works. brochure information snippet number II. Having been making a good payment history with UCNB has afforded me getting yet another unsecured VISA from another bank in only 8 months of payment history with UCNB. And why not, I earned it.Gag

CreditInfoCenter Final Comments: The fatal give-away-flaw in this letter is the mention that this person got an additional unsecured card because his credit was now restored after 8 months. Baloney. Most "A-rated" credit card companies will not give you a card if a BK appears on your credit card at all. We contacted the reader and quizzed him more about his motivations, and he was insulted at our questions. Maybe rightly so.

:)

Here's something positive about this company - posted Sept 9, 1999
My husband asked to do a little research on a credit company that called me today offering a credit card with a $400 limit explaining that to get the card you must participate in the "ACE" program that will be charged to the account. I went to search and typed in ACE Visa and your site came up. So I started reading and found them. Unlike the person who previously sent in information, I was contacted by phone. I also have a phone number he gave me a phone number to call if I have any questions. The number is 1-888-505-6999 he says the hours of operation are 9am-9am Monday-Friday Central time I called and asked for an address, a physical address-the address I was given is:

Card Services :   POB 173904  ; Denver Co, 80217

When I pushed for a street address I finally got this:

1600 West Evans Ave Unit A  Inglewood Co  80110

I called again, the next morning I was told that the only reason the card would not have been cancelled after the gentleman wrote and called to request that it be done, would be that he had mailed the request to the wrong company. And that a request has to be made in writing to ACE Credit Services NOT United Credit National Bank.

Something else negative about these guys:
I, too am having trouble with the "Ace card Visa" from United Credit National Bank. I was contacted by phone and told that I qualified for the program. I didn't get the materials OR the card, yet I'm getting the bills and collection letters. I just got a collection letter telling me that my credit account (which I've been trying to cancel since the end of the second month) is about to be "charged off" and will affect my credit rating for the next 7 to 10 years. Another interesting note, when they (ACE) sell you the program they swear (and still do) that this is an unsecured card but in my efforts to cancel this thing I found out from the issuing bank (UNCB) that this is indeed a secured card. What is going on here is that they tell you that you must purchase the "Ace Kit" to qualify for the card. That's where the 350.00 charge on your first bill comes from. Ace charges 350.00 to your card, then deposits it with UNCB to secure your card. So, what your getting IS a secured card on which someone else is collecting the interest on the security deposit account. Pretty slick eh? My advice to anyone contacted by these thieves is to HANG UP THE PHONE IMMEDIATELY. I am currently working with my local prosecutor, my attorney, the Ohio Attorney Generals Office, and the BBB. So far, it appears these folks have made one fatal error. I am told that it is blatantly illegal to lie to people to get them into this program and this is exactly what they are doing when they tell you that this is an UNSECURED card. If I get any good legal action going against them I will come back here and post any new information I may have gotten on how you can get straightened out if you are having a problem with these jerks. If you are having similar problems, feel free to contact me at rjw924@graffiti.net

More info on this company:
Concerning Scam #3 on your scam list. The information about how this "bank" came to exist can be found at:

http://www.occ.treas.gov/interp/dec/conda223.pdf

More info on this company:
I would like to respond to the letters posted for the ACE Card. I have had mine for about 6 months now and it really is not that bad . . . if you stay on top of them! I filed for bankruptcy in January and it was discharged in June. The bankruptcy was due to mass medical bills and a divorce. I have never had a credit card before, so I really didn't know what to expect. I was desperate to start over, a friend advised me that credit cards are the way to go, so I gave ACE a shot. I requested the application, filled it out, sent it in, and waited. After about a month, I called them back because I had not received the ACE kit or the card, but I sure got my first bill. After some research, the operator told me that I am dealing with two different companies. The ACE company sent my card and kit to an address I had moved from two years ago and it had been returned. Apparently, they used the address on file with my credit report (which was incorrect) instead of the address on my credit card application. The billing company (located in a different state) had the correct address for me and that is why I got my bill.

It took several phone calls and about 3 months for me to get the kit and a credit card, but it finally worked. There are some downsides to it, though. Once you qualify for a credit line increase, you have to pay additional fees for it. They will also let you make a payment by phone, but that costs you extra too. And, if you pay over $100 on a bill, they hold your payment for two weeks to be sure it clears before they credit it to your account. (Watch out for late fees here!) Overall, the customer service has been really great . . . as long as you call first thing in the morning when the operators aren't frazzled.

The kit was rather worthless to me, though. I have become quite self-educated in the matter of finance over the last few years. The stuff in the kit should have been taught in high school home economics. But, considering my alternatives, I chose to make this move and am happy now that everything is straight. I was just happy to a credit card so soon after a bankruptcy.

I have another card with First National Bank of Marin. These guys are pretty great, too. If you are unhappy with ACE, check this one out. The only other thing I could suggest is DOCUMENT EVERYTHING! Note when you called, who you talked to, what phone number AND extension, what was said, and print out copies of all online correspondence. It makes your argument very powerful when you can send a bank manager a fax of all your data to prove your story. Deborah Carlson dcarlson@mosquitonet.com.

Scam Alert #4 - posted Mar 23, 1999
A place called Crescent Credit Services offers unsecured credit cards, so they say. They say that within ten days you will receive a credit card with a 2,500.00 limit and that they will charge you card 99.95, but not your checking account. Although they say that they need your checking account information for verification purposes. What they end up doing is deducting the 99.95 from your checking and send you a packet about how to obtain credit cards. The number of office is 1-323-960-5776 ext. 4049.

CreditInfoCenter Research on this company: We tried and all we got was a voice mail box that says the mailbox is full.

Scam Alert #5 - posted May 31, 1999
I would like to tell you about a company that put me and my husband in worse shape than we were already in---My husband had gotten laid off and we had a lot of credit card bills, I had seen advertised a company called "APCO"-located in Florida-I called the Better Business Bureau in Florida to check them out-all seemed legit. To my stupidity they were far from being legit. Not only did they charge us attorney fees &-beginning fees-but the payments that we sent them never even made it to our creditors. Each time I called to inquire about our case they always said it was "in the works"--"just be patient". Finally when we realized we had been scammed we were so far behind in our payments we almost had to file bankruptcy. We tried to recover our money but the number we had to the company was no longer good. We later ended up with C.C.C. ( Consumer Credit Counseling)--the payments we sent them made it to our creditors-but have never been listed on our credit report-not even the cards which have been paid off. When my husband's company down-sized last year and he lost his job we got behind in our payments to C.C.C. and they dropped us-I have since found out that if they are listed on our credit report it will hurt us much more than help. For some reason they are not on our credit report though-it is as if the two years we made payments to them never happened. I am writing this to let others know that these programs are not always your best option-please be wary-I was not --and I am still paying for the mistake 3 years later.

Scam Alert #6 - posted June 22, 1999
I have been have serious difficulty with obtaining credit due to my identity being stolen. I received a letter in the mail stating that this company, Premiumcould assist me in locating private foundations that will loan money to people with bad credit. For only $19.95, they will send you a list of private foundations that issue legal "Cash Grants" to people. The company address that you send the money to is in Reno, NV. The Customer Service number is in Sunrise, FL. The number (954) 748-7943 is listed to a Jean Dominique. The number is always busy. I even contacted the operator for an emergency interrupt and was informed that the phone was strictly off the hook. I know that $19.95 is not as bad as a lot of people, but it is still wrong!

Scam Alert #7 - posted July 23, 1999
Have you ever heard about something like this? If so, what do you know about it? Is is legitimate? I found this web site while doing an internet search for unsecured loans for debt consolidation (which, by the way, I did not find). I am very interested to know if this program ("Creative Debt Consolidation Club & Trade" using a Leverage Pool System Reserve & Trade) is legitimate, and if so, is it something that you would recommend? Exactly how does it work?

Scam Alert #8 - posted Sept 14, 1999
We joined a debt management program in April 1999 after searching the internet for a debt consolidation loan. Somehow we were connected with National Consumer Resource Center, Inc located in Pompano Beach Florida. They offered a deal that nobody could turn down. Under a DMP they said they would get us rates as low as 4% instead of the 16% to 24% rates the credit card companies were charging us. To make a long story short only one of our four creditors gave us a reduced rate. They (National Consumer Resources, Inc.) are supposed to pay our payments with the money they take from our bank account but now -- four months into the program - due to their neglect we have accumulated late fees from the payments that are not being paid. Previous to our involvement with NCR we had a perfect credit record. NCR has a customer service department that we have called at least 25 times but they are sounding like a broken record telling us that they are working the problems. I wish that I could have gotten a debt consolidation loan, even at 14% it would have been a better deal and I wouldn't have late payments on my credit report.

Please send me links that I can use to broadcast this story so that others may avoid this scam.

Here is another letter about the place I received on 12/21/99:
Have you ever heard of someone canceling their arrangement with National Consumer Resource Center in Pompano Beach, FL? Right after sending them the second "payment" I researched this company and was led to your site. I read the article someone sent to you on the Scam Alert page regarding this company and I learned exactly how those DMPs work....something they don't tell you when you sign up. I initially talked to AM Services and thought they would be handling the payments but after signing with them, I was told I'd be dealing with NCRC. I was suspicious at that time. After two weeks of hearing nothing, I called AM Services and was given the number to NCRC. I called the rep there for a week and only got voice mail. I left messages every time but received no calls. Ten days later, I was contacted by NCRC to schedule the payments. After realizing how badly one's credit would be hurt and reading about the poor service reported in your alert, I said forget this. I got a loan from my credit union and paid the credit cards off. I don't plan on sending NCRC one more penny and I'll just chalk the $460 already given to them up as lessons learned. Back to my question, do these companies tend to just drop you like a rock when you don't pay up? Ideally, I would want as little grief possible breaking the agreement with them.

Here is another letter I received on 12/22/99
I am having the same problem with these people--they market their debt reduction program thru a company called Advance Marketing Services and make lots of promises, then fail to come thru with them. I plan to notify the BBB and any regulatory bodies of this scam, but would like to post my experience on the web.

Here is the rebuttal letter from this company (received January 19, 2000):

I am writing to you today as to the concerns I have as to a posting on your "Scam Alert" section. I am Vice President of The National Consumer Resource Center in Pompano Florida. Our company is portrayed on your web page as a scam company. Considering we are IRS issued 501c non profit company with over 5000 active clients and considered to be within the top ten largest in the nation by the most creditors (some are close as MBNA ranks us 13), I hardly think our credentials and reputation should be prioritized by one annomymous email. Had you given us a chance to respond before putting such text up, I am sure that client's file would portray a different picture. This is to assume the letter was written from a client ( or former) at all.

The fact is Kristy, NCRC does not sell the program at all! Aside from a few early clients when the company first formed, NCRC obtains ALL its clients from outside firms, which then contract NCRC for continual service. Therefor the letter posted is lying, as nobody ever from NCRC would have talked to this client before they signed up. Without a name, I could not say what company sold us her/his account, but I can say, if it was our partner financial firm that we work with locally, they never quoted anyone numbers such as 4%. In consideration of the fact we can prove the email is not accurate, we ask that it be removed or have this letter posted with it.

Thank you,
Stephen Rubino
Vice President

Scam Alert #9 - posted Sept 14, 1999
I'm not sure what is going on with this company, but it seems very funny. The company is Southeastern Region Financial Service Centerout of Tampa, Fl. They called me via telephone for an unsecured credit card at a initial cost of $189.00 for a pre-approved list of banks. I was told that I had applied for a credit card within the last 12 to 18 months, and that was how they got my information. I have been trying to reach them for 2 days. All I get is an answering machine during normal operating business hours. No one has called me back yet. Their phone number is 1 (813) 818 - 7308. I was given a pin number, which appears to be worthless.

Scam Alert #10 - posted Sept 14, 1999
On July 28 we received a phone call from a co. so was said Trust Credit Repair727-531-5884. This company offered us to credit cards limits of 2500.00 and 1000.00. All we had to do was get checking account info to deduct 185.00. We would receive the cards in 30 days. So we gave them info they deducted the money Aug 7. We called the number the phone has been disconnected. We can,t get any info on these people. Our bank said a company called Informative Mark withdrew the money. Still no luck.

Scam Alert #11 - posted Sept 20, 1999
I would like to inform consumers about GENUS Credit Management. Although they tout themselves as being nationally accredited, they are fooling anyone who believes that they are taking a proactive stance in managing your account. In fact, all they do is distribute your money! While they may be able to workout a few details with your creditors, they do little to actually stop the bleeding. In my case, they continuously distributed my money per my contract with them, but did not adjust the due dates on any of the accounts. Thus the payments were continuously late! No less than three of my accounts were "charged off" due to their mishandling, and none of my creditors updated my accounts to current as promised by Genus. Their lack of management meant that I still received as many phone calls from creditors as I had before and allowed creditors to reneg on several of the negotiated commitments from the creditors. When requested by me to address various ongoing issues, they emphatically stated that they did not do that sort of thing.

My credit is now worse than before only because I tried to be responsible and sought professional outside help to resolve my credit woes. Believe me, you can do much better on your own if you are truthful with your creditors and negotiate ways to help get your credit back in shape with their help.

Another post about these guys (from another debt consol company): Oct 1, 1999.
I was reading trough your scam alert page and noticed that you had a consumer who posted a story about genus credit management. I figured I would write you to give you the scoop on them. Genus credit management is a non-profit organization which to my knowledge has 100 pending lawsuits by its clients for non payment of bills. To avoid this bad name the principals of Genus decided they would start another company that would be for profit so they can make more money. Have you ever heard of the Amerix corporation. That is the same a Genus....hmmmmmmm I thought it was illegal for a non-profit and a for profit to commingle. The owner of Genus, (Amerix) is in jail or going to jail for embezzling funds.

I thought this is something you might want to share with your readers. It is unfortunate that there are so few out there that give what we, the debt management organizations, do a bad name. The only rule of thumb with working with a debt management/credit counseling agency is this..... if they reside in either MD or FL........BEWARE! These states are notorious for scam operations. These states have no regulation or licensing in this field.

Scam Alert #12 - Cross Country Bank
I applied and received a credit card with Cross Country Bank with a $400.00 limit. Of course by the time I got the card there was around $250.00 left, after fees. I promptly mailed a payment of $100.00 in hopes to pay the balance off soon and start rebuilding my credit. The check cleared my account approx 10 days later. The next month when I got my statement I was informed my payment was late. To make a long story short, they cashed my check, did not apply it to my account and further hurt my credit rating. I must have called them at least 15 times - sent 2 copies of my cancelled check via certified mail and numerous faxes with the copy of my cancelled check. Every time I called I was given the run-around and they NEVER returned my calls. I ended up calling a lawyer for advice and cut up the card and mailed a copy via certified mail of the cut up card demanding my account be cancelled and all late fee's and penalties be removed. I also demanded they contact the credit bureau and take of the report of late payment, which naturally they still have not done. Their phone number is 800-252-1159. Of course that will be voice mail - the real person ph/number is "top secret".

 

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