Avoiding Bankruptcy Scams
Financial stress can impair a person’s ability to think clearly, making them vulnerable to scams. Unfortunately, many distressed consumers find themselves fleeced by fraudulent companies that scam them out of thousands of dollars.
If you want to learn more about bankruptcy, speak with a Plantation bankruptcy attorney at Nowack & Olson today. We have helped more than 20,000 people seek a fresh financial start, and we will describe your options in a simple, easy-to-understand manner.
Always Work with an Attorney
This is the easiest way to avoid getting scammed. Attorneys are licensed by the state of Florida and subject to investigation and discipline by the Florida bar. To even get a bar license, lawyers must pass an exam and have an appropriate law degree. The Florida bar protects the public by carefully investigating any alleged unethical behavior, so lawyers have an incentive to provide the best possible representation to clients.
Don’t Work with a Paralegal, Notary Public, or Document Preparation Company
Many scammers will claim that the bankruptcy process is so standardized that basically anyone can file on their own. These scammers then offer to prepare the paperwork for a client, who then files it themselves.
We recommend avoiding these companies. They often advertise as being paralegals or notary publics. Unfortunately, these individuals are not qualified to offer bankruptcy advice, and bankruptcy is not a standardized process.
Everyone’s financial situation is different, and what works for one consumer might be less than ideal for another. Some of our clients have come in convinced they should file for Chapter 7 liquidation when, after reviewing their debt and assets with our lawyer, they realize a different bankruptcy is appropriate. Only a licensed attorney can offer this type of advice.
If you want to see that someone is truly a licensed attorney in Florida, you can go to the Florida Bar website and use their Lawyer Directory. Enter the lawyer’s name and click on “Find names that sound like the entered names.” If a lawyer is licensed, they should be listed on the Bar’s website.
Realize that Debt Settlement Isn’t Bankruptcy
There are many debt settlement companies that advertise their services online and on television. Many of these companies may be legitimate, but consumers need to realize that debt settlement is not bankruptcy.
With debt settlement, a consumer offers to partially repay a debt in a lump sum. The hope is that the creditor accepts the offer and then writes off the remainder. For example, you might have a $20,000 balance on a personal loan. You offer to repay $10,000 if the creditor forgives the rest.
Debt settlement companies advertise that they have special skill at negotiating on behalf of their clients. They charge a fee, typically based on a percentage of the amount of debt they eliminate.
With bankruptcy, you can often eliminate qualifying debts like credit cards. A Chapter 7 bankruptcy, for example, typically takes no more than 3 months. You pay only the fee that your lawyer charges and the debts disappear at the end of the process.
Contact Nowack & Olson PLLC Today
Our Plantation bankruptcy attorneys at Nowack & Olson, PLLC will gladly discuss your options for tackling your debt. Call us today at 888-813-4737 to schedule a free consultation.