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Thursday, May 03, 2007


I just uncovered some old research on the use of “special interest” areas for marketers to sell their wares. The trend probably originated with affinity credit cards, whereby environmentalists would apply for a credit card co-sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund. Nothing wrong with that, because the charity gets a fee for bringing in the customers. But the idea of using religion to induce people in financial trouble to deal with you is a step in the wrong direction. Since the rise of the Religious Right, predators are running at full-speed to capitalize on naiveté and trust of the individual in need of help. If you Google “Christian debt counselors,” you get almost 1.2 million hits. Some of these organizations are obviously legit, but apparently some are not, according to complaints submitted to Frank, an 80 year old man who didn’t understand what he was getting into, had a problem with Christian Debt Services. Another person combined debts with Christian Debt Consolidation (CDC), and later found out that because of this no mortgage company would refinance a loan. Carol, also working with CDC, signed on to consolidate all her credit card debt paying $832 monthly, and found out CDC had only negotiated with one credit card company. Joseph hired Christian Debt Management (CDM) to settle four credit card debts. His account was transferred to Nationwide Consumer Credit Services, he ended up paying off the CC’s himself, but when he tried to get his $795 deposit and $400 in fees back, all CDC phones had been disconnected. His credit rating also went down. Oh, there’s one more thing. These companies ask for personal data like your Social Security number, date of birth, income, and of course your name, address and telephone number. All the ingredients necessary for identity theft, if falling in the wrong hands.

1 comment:

Helena said...

Isn't it awful that religion has become a new way of committing ID fraud? Ignorant and naive credit card consumers easily fall victims to christian organizations claiming to deal with thier debt but most of them are not legal. Thus, if you're going to turn for their help to consolidate debt on your credit cards, think twice and inquire into their credibility.