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The Office of Fair Trading (“OFT”) has warned consumers not to be taken in by companies offering to free them from their debts by buying their liabilities from them.

The warning follows an increase in internet and press advertising by debt and claims management companies stating that they can take over or write off debts by purchasing consumers’ credit agreements.

People with serious debt problems can become extremely desperate and vulnerable, and it is little wonder that some might fall foul of what is, to most of us, an obvious scam.

Debts cannot, of course, be sold without the creditor’s consent, and borrowers will still be liable for the debts – and subject to debt collection procedures – notwithstanding any purported sale.

Graham Down commented: “This is just an example of unscrupulous operators trying to take advantage of individuals’ distress. Like many scams, it looks too good to be true, and it certainly is. People with debt problems should take advice from properly qualified and regulated professionals.”

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