3 min read
If you’re facing personal financial problems, it’s important to know where to go for help that you can trust. That means speaking to an independent advisor who can give you options and help you make the right decisions for your situation.
In your search for debt and bankruptcy help or information about debt consolidation, you may come across unregulated, unlicensed advisers. Some advisors provide untrustworthy advice, purposely targeting vulnerable people in times of financial crisis and pressure.
Don’t pay the price for dodgy advice. Learn how to identify signs of dodgy debt advice. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
What are the warning signs?
Untrustworthy advice comes in many forms and some common red flags include:
- creating an unnecessary sense of urgency
- charging a fee to submit a bankruptcy application
- encouraging false or misleading statements in bankruptcy paperwork
- suggesting that a bankruptcy or debt agreement won’t affect a credit rating
- claiming they’ve done this many times before and won’t get caught.
AFSA also advises people to ignore slick ads on social and other media promising a way out of bankruptcy. Be aware that searching ‘can’t pay my debts’ or similar phrases on the internet can cause fake advice ads to appear in social media feeds. These ads are likely scams and should be treated as such.
Video: Untrustworthy debt advisors
Where to get help
If you are in debt and need help, there are a number of options available. For more information about informal options see ‘Dealing with debt’ or for information about your formal insolvency options see ‘What are my options?’.
You can also get help by speaking to a free financial counsellor. Financial counsellors offer free, independent and confidential services for dealing with unmanageable debt. To speak with a financial counsellor contact the National Debt Helpline on 1800 007 007.
For more information about who to contact for genuine debt advice visit ‘Where to find help’.
Report suspicious activity
If you are concerned that someone may be doing the wrong thing, you can tell us about it.
Report any concerns about potential dodgy behaviour or suspicious activities to AFSA via the online tip off service.
AFSA’s Untrustworthy Advisors report
In 2022, we published a report highlighting the prevalence of untrustworthy advisors in Australia. The report discusses the consequences of untrustworthy advice and details common tactics which may be a sign of untrustworthy advisor activity.
The report also explains how debtors, creditors, insolvency practitioners and financial counsellors can work together with AFSA to tackle the issue of untrustworthy advice in the insolvency system.
Read the report on our website.