Are You a Target for Debt Management Predators?

By Guest Blogger Donna Anselmo

When I was a child, my father teased laughter from us as he twisted a napkin and alternately used it as the mustache of an evil banker, the bow of a desperate damsel, and the bow tie of the man who came to the damsel’s rescue. This act raised giggles from my sister and me as my big lug of a dad spoke in the funny accents of an evil villain, the high-pitched voice of a damsel in distress, and the deep baritone of a hero. We eventually played this funny vignette for our own children, and they soon will play it for theirs. The story goes this way …

Evil banker (with paper mustache placed below his nose):
“You must pay zee rent.”

Damsel (with twisted napkin now raised to her head):
“But I cannot pay zee rent.”

Evil banker (Louder, with paper mustache below his nose):
“You MUST pay zee rent.”

Damsel (Distressed, with napkin bow atop her head):
“But I cannot pay zee rent.”

Evil banker (Demanding, with twisted napkin mustache):
“You must pay zee rent.”

Damsel (Tearfully, with napkin bow atop her head):
“But I cannot pay zee rent.”

Evil banker (with paper mustache below his nose):
Who’ll PAY zee rent?”

Hero: (with twisted napkin transformed into bowtie):
I’ll pay zee rent.”

Damsel: (Relieved, with twisted napkin bow at her head):
“My hero!”

Perhaps you’re wondering how you will pay the rent next month and come out the other side of your holiday bills. If so, there’s a whole industry of financial predators—the debt managers—waiting to take advantage of your stress. Don’t fall prey to them.

With holiday stressors, it’s easy to be snookered by strangers expressing concern for your worries. Avoid their net. Be aware that debt management companies try to get you to hire them to reduce your debt. Despite hefty fees, they cannot get the big results you really want. So says Florida State Attorney Phil Archer in his latest Monthly Briefing.

The truth is these so-called debt managers cannot eliminate your debt. These companies may consolidate your existing debt to a single payment; they may arrange to spread out your payments while adding interest over time. If so, you are likely to spend more money than if you negotiate directly with your creditors. The best way to reduce your debt is to gain control of your spending and chip away at your debt with regular payments.

Other predatory companies may attempt to scare you into believing you need to pay for your credit report so you can better manage your finances. Don’t buy into that either. You can get a free credit report each year at

State Attorney Archer also recommends that you guard against purchasing payment insurance from people who want you to fear losing a job or the ability to pay your debts in the future. However, this insurance is costly—it may exceed the cost of interest on loans and credit cards. And, the small print loopholes can make it easy for the insurer to avoid paying future claims. FYI, you can sign up for state attorney Phil Archer’s 18th Judicial Circuit Monthly Briefing at

If you are falling behind with payments and need to explore your options, get the facts from a qualified attorney. Many attorneys offer free consultation. For more information, contact Daley Law at 321.504-9935. Also visit Daley Law at, where you can fill out a form and ask your questions.


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