Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Credit Card Machines 802

The "Credit Card Debt Termination" Scam
By Charles Phelan

"Legally terminate credit card debt! You can be debt-free in
4-6 months!" Advertisements like this are for a new type of
program that has spread via the Internet over the past few
years. It's called "Credit Card Debt Termination," and victims
are paying up to $3,500 for this bogus service. In this
article, I'll review the principles behind this program and
explain exactly why it's a scam to be avoided.

First, let's get our definitions straight. The scheme I'm
describing here should not be confused with Debt Consolidation
or Debt Settlement (also known as Debt Negotiation), both of
which are legitimate and ethical methods for debt resolution.
The easiest way to distinguish the Credit Card Debt Termination
scam from other valid programs is based on the central claim
that you really don't owe any money!

With Debt Consolidation, you pay back all of your debt
balances. With Debt Settlement, you pay back a lower amount
(usually around 50%) while the creditor agrees to forgive the
remaining balance. However, with the bogus Credit Card Debt
Termination program, promoters claim that you won't need to pay
anything at all (except their outrageous fees, naturally). They
make the surprising claim that you can legally wipe away your
debts simply by using their super-duper magic documents. Based
on some legal mumbo-jumbo, the claim is made that you really
didn't borrow any money from your creditors!

In order to understand this scam, a little background is
necessary. Remember the tax protest movement back in the 1970s?
People were claiming that the IRS tax collection system was
unconstitutional, and based on their misinterpretation of the
tax code, they refused to pay taxes. The IRS came down hard on
the tax protest movement, and through the court system, they
blew holes in all the legal arguments put forth by the
protesters. The Credit Card Debt Termination scam is a lot like
the tax protest movement. In fact, among collection
professionals, it's called the "monetary protest movement."

Just like the tax protest movement, there is a common theme
that runs through all of the promotional materials issued by
the monetary protestors. The basic idea is that our Federal
Reserve monetary system and generally accepted accounting
principles (GAAP) do not permit banks to loan out their own
money. Therefore, according to their interpretation, the credit
card banks are the ones running the scam on the American public.

Stay with me here, because the logic is pretty strange. If a
bank cannot lend its own money, how does a credit card bank
extend credit? The claim here is that your credit card
agreement itself becomes a form of money (known as a promissory
note) the moment you sign it. The idea is that the bank
"deposits" your agreement as an asset on their books, and then
any credit you use is offset as a liability against that asset.
In other words, the core concept here is that you literally
borrowed your own money from the credit card bank.

So let's say your balance with ABC Credit Card Bank is $10,000,
which you borrowed against the card to make everyday purchases.
The scam promoters say all you need to do is notify the bank
that you want your original "deposit" back. However, you will
permit the bank to offset the amount you borrowed against the
amount you have on "deposit." Presto! You don't owe the balance

Now, as you can imagine, the banks don't take kindly to such
tactics. Many of the consumers using this technique are getting
sued by their creditors. But the scammers have more tricks
available, as if the "smoke and mirrors" financial nonsense
wasn't enough. One of their techniques is the use of bogus
"arbitration" forums. Arbitration is of course a legitimate
system that allows businesses and individuals to resolve
disputes without going to court. What do the scammers do? They
coach people on how to set up a fake arbitration forum, for the
express purpose of making a dispute against their creditors!
Naturally, the creditors will not send representatives to some
non-existent arbitration forum, so the consumer gets to
rubber-stamp their own arbitration award. If they get sued in a
regular court, they present their bogus award to the judge in
the hopes that the creditor's lawsuit will be dismissed.

There are other techniques used by promoters of this scheme,
but the key point to remember is the central claim that your
credit card debt does not really exist. Of course, it's all
nonsense based on a misinterpretation of our monetary system,
and if you step back and think about for a minute, the truth
seems pretty obvious. What these scammers are saying is that
the entire $700 billion credit card industry is operating on an
illegal basis! Even if the legal theory used by the promoters
were true (which it isn't), do you think for a moment the
government would allow this giant industry to go under? That's
exactly what would happen if the promoter's claims were proven
true and used on a widespread basis.

The Federal Trade Commission, which has jurisdiction here,
hasn't stomped on these con artists yet, but it's only a matter
of time. Unfortunately, in the meanwhile, consumers are being
bilked out of millions of dollars for a worthless program that
will only get them into deep trouble with their creditors. If
you are approached by someone offering to wipe away your debts
using this system, I strongly recommend you run in the other
direction while you hold on tightly to your wallet or purse.

Remember, you can eliminate your debts if you take a
disciplined approach to your finances, make a budget and stick
to it, and don't use your credit cards unless you can pay off
new balances in full each month.

Good luck in your financial future!

About the Author: Charles J. Phelan has been helping people
become debt-free without bankruptcy since 1997. A former
executive in the debt settlement industry, he teaches the
do-it-yourself method of debt negotiation. Audio-CD material
plus expert personal coaching helps consumers achieve
professional results at a fraction of the cost.

Source: http://www.isnare.com


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