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The Federal Trade Commission has created a consumer hotline for consumers who purchased “debt reduction services” from Edge Solutions, Money Cares, the Debt Settlement Company, the Debt Elimination Center, and Pay Help Inc. The hotline is in addition to a letter that was recently sent to the customers of Edge Solutions and the other companies, notifying them that the companies were shutdown.

Consumers who call the FTC’s hotline at 202-326-2998 will be advised that on October 11, 2007, the Commission obtained a restraining order against these companies, which allegedly falsely claimed that they negotiate with creditors and begin paying creditors within weeks of consumers joining their program. The order appointed a temporary receiver to be in control of the companies, and froze the assets of the companies and their owners.

The companies are not operating now, so that automatic withdrawals of monthly fees from consumers’ bank accounts have ended. Affected consumers should verify with their financial institution that all automatic debits to any of the companies has ceased.

Consumers are strongly urged to take immediate action on their credit accounts to ensure that they pay any creditors with whom they have a payment plan, and to contact any other creditors as soon as possible to arrange payment on their accounts or take other steps to avoid further damage to their credit. Consumers also may want to inform creditors about the FTC case against the companies. (See press release dated October 3, 2007).

The FTC works for the consumer to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, click or call 1-877-382-4357. The FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and other fraud-related complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,600 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. For free information on a variety of consumer topics, click

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