Chicago, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Okay, I’ll admit it.
This one is personal.
Gary Kopycinski teaches religion and ethics in a suburban Chicago Catholic high school, but his effort to practice what he preaches made him the perfect target for a debt settlement company.
Three years ago, Kopycinski was told by several advisers that he should file for bankruptcy. His finances were a wreck. He held $35,000 in credit card debt and was on the hook for a car loan that he’d co-signed for a family member. On his salary as Catholic high school teacher, it seemed there was no other way but to wave a white flag. But Kopycinski believed that bankruptcy "was a cop-out," so he went searching for an alternative. When he heard an advertisement for Debt Settlement USA, he thought he’d found it. Instead, he had hooked his fortunes to an industry that the attorney general of Illinois, Lisa Madigan, calls "a scam."
The advertisements are hard to resist, with come-ons like these: "Debts settled for pennies on the dollar," "An open phone line has been established for consumers who need relief," and even, "Don’t declare bankruptcy, that should be your last option."
Kopycinski, who was already treading water in 2007 when the car loan payments landed on him, fell for the pitch.
Yes, he did. Or, rather, I did. I fell for a scam.
Did I check out Debt Settlement USA with the Better Business Bureau?
You bet I did.
At the time, they enjoyed a "Favorable" rating. A few months later, the BBB changed their rating system to "A through F," and gave the entire debt settlement industry, including Debt Settlement USA, a well-deserved "F".
Read more here on Bob Sullivan’s blog.
There’s also a video, although a more complete video here, for those on Facebook.