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So you’re sat at home on your phone scrolling through social media, or you’re out and about, when you see it: a number you don’t recognise. Do you A) answer it or B) ignore it, hoping you can go back to cat videos soon?
Maybe you’re waiting to hear back from a job or expecting a call from a company in regards to a query.
I know that you, dear reader, are clever, not to mention brilliant, with gorgeous eyes. Perhaps, though, you know of someone—for instance a parent or friend—that’s not totally clued up on scammers, and they may be in a bit of debt that they are struggling with.
These friends and relatives are vulnerable customers. There are many scammers that prey on these people by making an Aladdin’s Cave of Wonders promise. They promise that they can wipe their debt, that you can stop paying or other wonderful things. It’s all a government scheme, honest. You’ve been chosen don’t you know, specially selected even.
What these scammers don’t say is that either they are going to take the money and run, or that your credit file will go down like a fart in an elevator. These scammers don’t tell their victims that they are going to be in an arrangement or an IVA or anything that isn’t sunshine and debt free bliss.
Of course, dear reader, you know that if you enter an arrangement of any kind or declare yourself bankrupt or go through a debt relief order or partially settle your account that your credit file will suffer, but many do not.
So here is some totally awesome advice to help anyone that is struggling with their finances.
The obvious is to stop spending on unnecessary things. That’s not always possible and I understand that Christmas is coming up, everyone and their dog seems to have a winter birthday, and also sometimes you just need to treat yo self. I get it. We all work hard whether that is at a job, being a caretaker, or even just managing to brush our teeth. If you or anyone you know is struggling try keep unnecessary spending to a minimum, try not to go cold turkey, because that’s a standard that isn’t realistic.
Check your credit report. I know that sounds obvious too but many people don’t know that on websites such as Clearscore, etc. you can check what offers are available to you. This includes balance transfer offers, and this means that you may be able to transfer debt you have where you are paying high interest to a different account where you don’t pay interest for a certain amount of time. This can also help manage debt better.
So, it’s Christmas and you’ve spent too much. These things happen! Speak to your lender and ask for a gesture of goodwill to refund interest or any fees. It’s worth a shot and usually advisors are more than willing to help if you’re nice.
If you or anyone you know is seriously struggling, speak to your creditor or lender about what options are available. Whether this is a short term arrangement or something more long term, it is worth seeing what is available. Make sure that when speaking with a lender, the vulnerable customer has plenty of time to speak and listen. A good advisor should be able to get the right information to their customer in a way they understand—if you don’t understand what they are talking about ask them to explain it. Ask the advisor to go into detail about consequences, what the details are, what is the criteria, what happens if a payment is missed. If the advisor is unsure tell them to ask a colleague or a manager to find out the information.
Finally, please ensure that if you are not in an arrangement that at least the minimum payment is made by the agreed due date until you can afford to pay extra. Due dates can be changed in some circumstances if you find that the current one is not convenient and a direct debit can help ease the pressure of remembering it!
Keep curious, my Yorkshire puds!