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AG Hotline Swamped With Calls

February 25th, 2009 by Mike Vasilinda

Calls from people who have been scammed by companies offering to help lower debt or save their home have more than doubled to one state hotline. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, officials also expect a rising crime rate to start showing up in statistics.

Hear it Here: AG Hotline Swamped With Calls

A sign promising consumers they can erase bad credit for a fee hangs as a reminder in the Attorney Generals Call center.

Calls here used to average 300 a week, but have been rising steadily.

Two days this week they hit 650. Many are about foreclosures, debt loads and worries about companies claiming they can help. A new state law says the companies can no longer ask for money up front, but many still do.

Were getting calls from consumers who are being charged, 1200, 1800, 2000 dollars for companies who are claiming they are going to modify the loan with a lender, call supervisor Jack Hagadorn said. But when they find out later on that the company has never contacted the lender, and they are now in foreclosure.

A lot of callers are at their wits end.

Most people are so very upset, they feel like theyre going to be losing their homes, that theyre asking questions, Bethan Dillon, a hotline operator with the office, said.

And the calls keep coming.

The experts say that the one thing that companies promising to raise your credit score or get you out of debt, have in common is that theyre preying on peoples fears.

John Robinson is unemployed and says the offers sound tempting.

I have had some thoughts that it might be a good idea, Robinson said. But then again, they always told me follow your first mind, not everything that falls out of the sky.

The call volume at the hot line is so high, some callers are being asked to leave a message or go to a web site.

If you have a concern, the number to call is 1-866-966-7226. The web site is www.myfloridalegal.com.

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