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Joachim Niering is a start-up consultant, for several years also focusing on insolvency and dept. He is also involved in the Vitovec insolvency initiative and the anonymous insolvencyists.

Niering has experience of insolvency himself: the trained pedagogue founded in 1992 with one that was highly praised by the FAZ Idea the PKS Porcelain Clinic System GmbH. As an initially very successful franchise system, it had to file for bankruptcy because its partners had become independent. Through his work he knows numerous cases of insolvency Peoplewho fell victim to scammers in their plight.

Mr Niering, you also advise victims of insolvency frauds: Is there still anything to get at Pleitiers?

One would think so. But desperate people, who don't know what to do any other way, seize every one Handthat is offered to you. And if someone then comes and promises to free them from all ballast and presents themselves as a savior, then a person, despite his debts, will dig out the last cent or get it from the last friends he still has because he does believes that this is the way to get rid of the debt.

How many fraud victims did you personally meet / advise? Are there statistics or approximate estimates of how many are in Germany every year?

Almost two-thirds of the debtors who come to the consultation with me have already had borderline first experiences. However, the number of unreported cases is much higher, as with most frauds. However, it is difficult and expensive to prove that you have been cheated.

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How so? Is not that unlawful?

Well, much of what happens is within the bounds of what is legally permissible, or better said, proving that it is fraud will only be possible with a great deal of effort and sound evidence. Unfortunately, it is not enough that people were actually not helped and given wrong advice; they also have to prove it to the one who has to go to school - if they find him!

Why is insolvency rip-off in Germany such a big problem?

Because on the one hand there is a very high need for advice for insolvencies - and on the other hand there are very few who really do competently can advise. In addition to very serious advisors who want the best, there are many charlatans who address their victims aggressively - for example in the Internet or at the front door.

Please give an example: How is such a rip-off in front of you, what happens with the people?

Well, in the beginning there is any Contact to a person who listens to the debt problem and then logs that debt and the debtor's regular income so that some amount is left over. The fraudster then claims that this remaining amount is enough to settle a debt with the creditors.

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The debtor is thus pretended that he can easily solve his problems?

Exactly. A promise is made to the debtor that with the help of the “adviser”, his association, his professionals, whatever, fast and easily become debt free. That's a start. The victim then usually provides a signature, such as a confirmation of a budget, the declaration of membership in an association or similar - and transfers it to the scammer Money.

Money - for what exactly?

There are several approaches: sometimes the victim has to pay admission fee for a debtor club, sometimes fee for the consulting contract and sometimes make deposits for debt settlement. However, the scam behind it is always the same: it is promised that what happens to most of the monthly cash flow will only and almost exclusively contribute to debt settlement.

Why do people not notice it?

Because the scammers just act very cleverly: The debtor is then held out until he realizes that there is something wrong. He continues to receive reminders and enforcement orders. Or it was only for a time rest and he gets them back - and then often hundreds and thousands of EURO have flowed. Then the people come to us and bring along the often not so easy to sort heap pile.

What are these deceivers for men? To whom do the insolvency companies have to be concerned?

Often times the variety is representative who is also their own grandmother sell and who use trigger methods to force their victims to sign. But there is also the type of the educated, understanding intellectual and the fine, sensitive person in silk or pinstripes. Often these people are themselves to blame and are therefore familiar with the condition of the people they meet. They act very sensitively, maybe they are, but what they all have in common is that they never appear again after the signature, but instead turn to the next victim.

Is there the typical victim or can it hit anyone?

No, the victims are just as different as the perpetrators: anyone who can no longer find a way out on their own and needs help is at risk. The threat of bankruptcy is new territory for most people. As a person affected, you have not gained any experience in this area as you have in other aspects of life.

How can you protect yourself against this, how do you recognize such frauds in time?

Since there is not one type of scammer, one can only advise to take a close look to see whether the promised debt settlement is understandable. And before you sign another (you've already given many) signatures, you should always ask someone else, preferably someone who unselfishly understands something about the matter. An initial consultation should always be without Costs be or appropriate clear outlined. If this is not the case: CAUTION !!

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