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Jeff Cercone
By Jeff Cercone April 26, 2024

Debt relief offer is from private UK company, not US government program

If Your Time is short

  • Congress has not passed a bill during President Joe Biden’s administration that helps consumers cut their credit card debt in half.

  • A Facebook post making that claim links to a private United Kingdom-based company that matches consumers with debt-relief services.

Many people are struggling with credit card debt, with U.S. consumers racking up balances totalling $1.13 trillion in 2023’s fourth quarter, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of New York report released in February.

Desperate consumers seeking relief may find offers for help on social media that purport to be from the government. Usually they are not.

An April 13 Facebook post’s caption said, "JUST IN: The administration (has) passed a new bill to help Americans with $15,000+ in credit card debt to write off their balance by 50%."

It added, "FINALLY the administration has stepped in to help those of us drowning in credit card debt," and then said a new "Christian-led" debt relief program was created to "cut all your monthly payments in half."

This post was flagged as part of Meta’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Meta, which owns Facebook, Instagram and Threads.)

The Facebook post shared a video clip from an Aug. 3, 2022, episode of CNN’s "The Lead with Jake Tapper," in which Tapper and business reporter Rahel Solomon discussed new data showing Americans piling up credit card bills. The video showed testimonials from consumers who said they’d had their debt reduced.

In the video, neither Tapper nor Solomon mentioned a new bill to help people cut their credit card bills in half, and we could find no news coverage of any such legislation being passed during President Joe Biden’s administration on Google or in Nexis news archives.

The account behind the Facebook post is the US Debt Bureau, which it says is "based in the United Kingdom." Its Facebook page says The Collier Group Ltd. is responsible for the page. That company is registered in England, according to the United Kingdom’s government.

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The post links to a nongovernmental website, on which the company is called The Debt Bureau, although it has a U.S. flag in its logo.

(Facebook screenshot)

That website mentions no government program, but offers a phone number people can call to see if they qualify for a credit card debt relief program. The fine print at the bottom of the site says, "The Debt Bureau is a referral company" that will connect people with "outside affiliates" that pay them to match consumers with their services.

Federal Trade Commission spokesperson Jay Mayfield said the agency can’t comment on the contents of the Facebook post as it has no database of all government programs. But he offered advice for social media users who encounter posts that claim to be from the government.

"Our primary piece of advice to consumers is that they should contact government agencies directly by going to their official webpage directly and contacting them through information provided on that site," Mayfield said.

He pointed PolitiFact to webpages with tips to help consumers avoid scams, which are common from people pretending to represent the government. One in 4 people who reported losing money to fraud say it started on social media, an October 2023 FTC report said.

A March 8 FTC consumer alert about debt relief scams warns consumers, "Don’t do business with anyone who guarantees you results from a ‘new government program’ for a fee, or tries to enroll you without first reviewing your financial situation."

There are legitimate debt reduction services available in the U.S. It’s not clear which services the company behind the Facebook post may connect people to, but the company is not affiliated with the U.S. government. The post’s claim that a new U.S. law created a program to help consumers with $15,000 in credit card debt halve their balances  is False. 

PolitiFact Researcher Caryn Baird contributed to this report.

Our Sources

Facebook post, April 13, 2024 

Email interview, Jay Mayfield, Federal Trade Commission spokesperson, April 26, 2024

The Debt Bureau, [Exclusive] Experts Warn Of A Global Recession, New Program Is Helping Americans Get Out of $15k-$125k in Credit Card Debt, accessed April 26, 2024 (archived)

Internet Archive, The Lead With Jake Tapper, Aug. 3, 2022

Federal Reserve Bank of New York, Household debt and credit report, February 2024

Gov.Uk, The Collier Group Ltd., accessed April 26, 2024

Federal Trade Commission, How To Avoid a Government Impersonation Scam, accessed April 26, 2024

Federal Trade Commission, Government Grant Scams, accessed April 26, 2024

Federal Trade Commission, Social media: a golden goose for scammers, Oct. 6, 2023

Federal Trade Commission, Carrying credit card debt? How to avoid debt relief scams, March 8, 2024

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Debt relief offer is from private UK company, not US government program

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