CONSUMERS caught in ONLINE MONEY SCAMS and MISLEADING ADVERTISING
The Debt Industry has been overwhelmed by unsuspecting consumers that became victims to online money scammers, especially on Facebook and Instagram. There are numerous attractive advertising videos and invitations on social media showcasing stacks of cash with testimonies of ordinary looking people advocating how they got rich in a short period of time.
Those scammers target as many vulnerable and desperate people as they can and use techniques to influence everyone by demonstrating how easy it can be for any applicant to experience the sudden riches like they allegedly have.
It so happens that those who are desperate enough and think that it could be their opportunity to get out of their financial predicament once and for all, fall for the invitations online. They get to the point where they trustingly pay the required deposit money to qualify for the acquired loan, just to realise the people they dealt with disappeared with their money and they have been scammed.
Such matters do not fall under the jurisdiction of the NCR court and has to be reported to Facebook and the SAPS as fraud and theft
Fake News and advertising
Another big concern is the fake news and the invasive manner false advertising of “quick debt relief” has spread and caused a total confusion to an already sensitive and vulnerable community in South Africa.
Here are a few examples of the latest false advertisements trending on social media:
# 1 – “A HIGH COURT RULING STATED THAT THEY CAN HELP PEOPLE TO WRITE OFF UP TO 63% OF THEIR MONLTY DEBT PAYMENTS.” People can click “APPLY now” to undertake a FREE assessment.
- There was no such high court ruling in South Africa published ever and this advert is false.
- Consumers who enter in such a free assessment could be victimized by an unknown, unregistered entity and the promised write off on their debt cannot be legally guaranteed and will not be accepted by their creditors.
- There are multiple accounts in question and legal processes that need to be in place for any write-off of accounts granted by creditors’ agreements and judgements through the court.
- There is no way that any debt can just be written off by any person or through any type of legal application without the proper legal protocol.
- Do cautiously research into this services offered before any further engagement, or ask a registered debt counsellor for advice in this regard.
- Visit the website of the NCR https://www.ncr.org.za/register_of_registrants/registered_cp.php for assistance and verify whether the persons or company are legitimate and on the registered list.
DO NOT GIVE YOUR BANKING DETAILS TO ANYONE until you can verify the company or debt counsellors.
If you have not spoken to the debt counsellor, neither consented or signed a debt review application pack, or received your welcome letter and receipt of debt review you could be the victim of a debt relief scam to collect debt counseling fees from your bank account.
Alarming increase of consumers complaining money was deducted from their bank accounts. This money can’t be reversed at your bank, is the feedback we received from desperate clients trying to reverse the funds to pay their accounts. The client must contact the party that loaded the debit order to cancel and request the refund there. The problem here are that these companies can’t be reached, and the clients lost their money. Consumers should pay attention to the WARNINGS. Best would be to report the matter to the SAPS and give your bank the case number of the fraud and report it to the NCR immediately.
(DON’T BECOME ANOTHER VICTIM OF A SCAM OR MISLEADING ADVERTISING.)
# 2 – The NCR and DC’s are giving South Africans “Extra Cash” to enjoy by reducing debt interest and protection from repossession of assets. For a free assessment SMS “YES”.
- Not the NCR or any debt counsellor are allowed by law to give consumers any cash grants or make any such kind of promises.
- No debt reduction or interests’ cuts can just be given as a holiday gift or guaranteed if the consumer has already an NCR approved debt review agreement in place.
- Protection of assets from repossession is also part of false advertising to confuse consumers and should be reaffirmed with the debt counsellor.
Misleading advertising leaves consumers at a bigger risk of losing everything they have.
# 3 – “Blacklisted consumers can apply now for new loans”
Advertisers promise loans to everyone despite their credit score or blacklisted status. It is a marketing strategy to lure the uninformed consumer into further debt they cannot really afford and falls victim to become over indebted before they know it. As an example a ridiculous amount will be offered like R 10 000.00 with a monthly repayment that normally exceeds the norm because of the high risk the creditor has to take.
The consumer will have to pay a bigger deposit than usual to qualify for that specific loan, with the given reason that the consumer has too many blacklisted accounts. For this example the amount of R 3337.00 will be needed with an R 649.00 instalment for minimum of two years. At the end of the day the temporary fix becomes a long term nightmare with unaffordable high interest rates.
#4 – “There was a Government Proclamation on cancellation of debts and…” Many of these adverts have the picture of the president added to celebrate the good news of the High Court’s ruling that does not even exist in the first place. This is 100% false advertising. NO SUCH PROCLAMATION EXISTS TO CANCEL DEBTS.
Only a court can make a ruling where reckless lending has been proved to be a reason to write off debt.
There have been many court rulings that specifies the Jurisdictions of the debt and the debt review processes in play. There never was any court ruling on record where debt was written off for no legitimate reason. Consumers get misled with promises like that with a guaranteed 0% interest on all the credit agreements. There is no existing law that enforces the banks and other lenders to zero their interest rates of over-indebted debtors that applied for debt review or debt relief.
Consumers have to make sure that the lender or such a company is registered with the National Credit Regulator (NCR) before any further involvement.
Any suspicious behavior of misconduct or fraud can be reported to the NCR or the proper authorities. Such misleading advertising will then be investigated by the NCR body.
Why consumers keep on looking for quick loan options
Those who do not fully understand the concept of Debt Review have the perception that it will have a bad reflection on their name. They will look elsewhere for solutions to solve their debt and Quick loans with large amounts and big promises give the desperate consumer a temporary way out.
Creditors will penalize clients that do not make their monthly payments on time or that skipped or stopped making payments. That is why the Credit Bureaus have their systems linked to all registered credit providers and debt counsellors to access the payment behavior of the debtors. If you have a negative listing on your payment habits it will affect the changes for new loans by other legitimate creditors.
What is Debt Review?
We know out of experience that so many consumers do not understand the real insight of the debt review concept and the true benefits the product offers.
Debt Review is a way where debt can be paid off over a longer time period, is more affordable to the consumer. The debt counsellor may request the creditors to lower interest rates looking at the terms in which the debt get resolved.
The misperception of debt review is that it is not just a quick easy removal of debt but a process of clearing your name and advance your changes to obtain a better credit score at the end of the term.
There are other debt relief options available to the consumer, for more about that visit www.debtcenter.co.za
About the NCR
The National Credit Regulator (NCR) is responsible for the regulation of the South African credit industry. It promotes the development of an accessible credit market, particularly to address the needs of disadvantaged persons, the lower income class, and isolated or low density communities. Consumers must realize the NCR has put their weight into regulating and monitoring the debt counsellors enforcing them to be compliant.
They have the latest technologies available and are now more accessible to monitor everyone online with the updating of the DHS system on the NCR’s website. These systems now can fast track the debt counsellors’ processes and tasks that needs to be completed.
The NCR will always request documents and processes from the debt counsellors to verify that their statuses are up to date and that there are no contraventions. There are news about DC’s been summoned by the NCR to court to apply for reregistration as they were found to be non-compliant to the rules and regulations.
The NCR can be contacted on 0860627627 from Monday to Friday or one can visit their user-friendly website at https://www.ncr.org.za
If you are unhappy with your current Debt Counselor
When you are listed under debt review and you had a terrible experience with your debt counsellor that signed you on the program, you may connect us at Debt Center or visit our famous website www.debtcenter.co.za and follow the prompts.
We have taken over many consumers’ cases from other debt counsellors and helped them resolve their problems, obtaining court orders granted in their favor to remove them from debt review. We have helped many clients getting the banks to withdraw repossession orders and had a settlement in place that was agreeable to all parties.
# Be always on your alert
We at Debt Center would like to send out a warning to all consumers concerned, not to interact, reply or involve themselves with misleading advertising or the typical “too good to be true” money lending offers especially this time of the year.
Consumers in debt trouble have the right to get their own quotes of financial options and it’s also their choice how they respond to related advertising. They have to understand the risk when opting in for services and products that are misleading and fraudulent that could cause more financial harm with negative consequences.
CONSUMERS NEED TO TAKE MORE CAUTION BEFORE SIGNING AGREEMENTS WHEN BORROWING MONEY ON SOCIAL MEDIA.
Message from the Author Annienne Nel
Please share this article with your friends and family? You just might help someone to be more vigilant and aware of the scams and tricksters out there. Take care and stay safe over this Holiday Season. Travel safe and remember to wear your masks and sanitize every time you touch surfaces outside your home and safe zone. Let us work together to clamp down the spread of the Corina Virus.
Wishing you all a Prosperous New Year and may things get easier through out 2021.