If you carry a balance and someone said they know how you can reduce credit card interest rates, you would probably listen up. But if you get a phone call that makes this claim… hang up! There’s a new scam sweeping the nation that you need to know about.
The Typical Call
It starts out with a random call. Sometimes it’s a live person, but usually it’s a pre-recorded message that goes something like this:
“Your account is within good standing, but it’s important that you contact us regarding your interest rate. You may be eligible for an APR as low as 6.9%.”
The “robocall” then instructs you to call a certain number, or it might give you the option to press a button and be connected with a live person. No company name is mentioned in this vague recording, but the caller ID might read Cardmember Services or Cardholder Accounts. This is done to give you the impression that it’s your credit card company calling… when in reality it’s just some scam telemarketing company. You also may think “My name is on the Do-Not-Call registry so it can’t be a telemarketer.” Well guess what? These scammers target everyone, whether you’re on that list or not. They don’t care about obeying the law.
The Sales Pitch
Once they have you talking with a live person, they try and claim that they can work with your creditors to get your interest rates either reduced or eliminated completely. (This sounds similar to the popular debt settlement scam, but it’s different). For a fee of several hundred dollars, this boiler room operator promises they can do this for you. They also make a guarantee that they will refund your money if it doesn’t work out.
Often times, these boiler room operations just collect the fee and you’ll never hear from them again – they will not reduce credit card debt interest. In the “best case” scenario, they will do nothing more than simply call up your credit card company and ask for an interest rate reduction… something you can do yourself for free! So either way, this is a total ripoff you need to watch out for. Most importantly, be sure to warn people in your life who you feel may be more susceptible to falling for the bait, especially the elderly because that’s who these scammers love to target the most. If you want a better APR on your card, then read this thread about how to negotiate lower credit card interest rates yourself for free.
Updated April 2011