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Did you get sucked into a scam? Find legal ways out of debt

Indebted consumers who are struggling with a mountain of debt are prime targets for con artists and scammers. The crooks realize that desperate people often are frantic to get out of their financial distress, and they exploit this vulnerability.

One scam making its rounds of the internet is the "Strawman" scheme. While its premise is a murky conspiracy claim involving the U.S. Treasury Department and/or the federal government, its use of legal terms and misdirected Internal Revenue Service (IRS) forms lend a veneer of legitimacy to the scam.

Scammers sell their videos and marketing materials they claim will reveal the access to alleged bank accounts in the person's (or strawman's) name that they can tap to make purchases, discharge debt and pay off mortgages. But the only ones making any financial headway are the scammers.

There is no magic path to get out of debt. However, there are legal options available to those who choose to restructure their debts under a Chapter 13 bankruptcy.

Under this filing, there is no asset forfeiture. Instead, debtors have three or five years to pay off their creditors. At the end of the pre-arranged period, the remainder of the debt will be discharged, and the individual can begin the process of re-establishing their credit.

If you are approached online or in person about the Strawman or other scams, notify the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) or your local police department.

If you are serious about getting out of debt, seek the counsel of a Tampa bankruptcy law attorney to review all of your available options.

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