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$16M in refunds sent to victims of fake debt relief operations
The Federal Trade Commission has announced it is sending more than $16 million to individuals who lost money to a debt relief scam that targeted tens of thousands of consumers facing financial difficulty. The Commission and the Florida Office of the Attorney General alleged that a group of defendants known as Helping America Group got people to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars a month by falsely promising to pay, settle, or obtain dismissal of their debts and improve their credit scores. Over time, victims found their debts unpaid, their accounts in default, and their credit scores severely damaged—some were sued by their creditors, and some were forced into bankruptcy.
The FTC is providing 27,083 refund checks to victims of the scam. The FTC expects to collect additional money in this case, and plans to send a second round of checks at that time.