AKPK: Beware of fake debt management agents

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PETALING JAYA: The Credit Counselling and Debt Management Agency (AKPK) has never appointed any agents or charged fees for its services.

AKPK Kuching branch head Marlene Margaret Nichol said individuals could approach the agency directly for free financial counselling and debt management services.

“Should anyone be approached by individuals claiming to be an agent of AKPK and offering his or her service for a fee, we would like to alert the public that it is a fake agent who has no authority to act on behalf of AKPK.

“If anyone is in a stressful financial situation (e.g. house auction looming, car due to be repossessed), do not believe third parties who claim to represent AKPK with a promise to solve your problems for a fee.

“This is a scam, ” said Marlene in a statement yesterday.

“The agency under Bank Negara Malaysia provides financial education, counselling and debt management services without charge, ” she said, adding that AKPK had received many reports from customers being approached by individuals claiming to be the agency’s representatives or agents.

She said some customers had checked with the agency, but some ended up being scammed.

“It’s a double whammy for our customers who are already in debt, yet are misled into paying a few thousand ringgit as service fees to these third parties.

“Instead of paying the scammers, they could have used the money to pay down their debts, ” she said.

Marlene cited the case of a customer who was scammed after he received an SMS advising him to take a personal loan to fully settle his outstanding credit card balances.

After obtaining the personal loan and settling his credit card balances, the man applied for a higher credit limit from the bank with the help of an “agent” who assisted him to write a letter.

The said application was approved and the man then maxed out his credit card limit.

“The ‘agent’ then helped him to apply to AKPK to enrol in the Debt Management Programme, telling him that this is a special loan from Bank Negara.

“The victim paid almost RM20,000 to the agent in fees for his ‘service’, ” said Marlene.

She advised the public to be wary of calls or messages purportedly from bank officials or other agencies and institutions.

The public can visit www.akpk.org.my for assistance or updates.