This week, the Federal Trade Commission announced it would be sending more than $16 million to individuals who lost money as a result of a debt relief scam. The scam targeted tens of thousands of consumers facing financial difficulty. The Florida Office of the Attorney General and FTC alleged that a group of defendants known as Helping America Group convinced people to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars each month by falsely promising it would pay, settle, or obtain dismissal of debts and improve the victim’s credit scores.
Over time, victims found that their debts were unpaid, their accounts were in default, and their credit scores had been severely damaged. Some victims were sued by their creditors and others were forced into bankruptcy.
The FTC will be providing 27,083 refund checks to people who fell victim to the scam. It expects to collect more money and send a second round of checks later. Recipients are encouraged to deposit or cash their checks within 90 days.