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Answer: If you come across a company touting a new federal law that makes it easier to settle debt, rest assured: It's a scam. There is no such law, and these outfits are capitalizing on people's confusion about changes in credit markets (for another example, see below).

If you're struggling with credit card debt, first make an appointment with a legitimate credit counselor, preferably one affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. These counselors can review your situation and see if you could qualify for a debt management plan, which would allow you to pay off your debt over five years or so, typically at a reduced interest rate.

Also, make an appointment with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options. Credit counseling is designed to steer you away from bankruptcy, but you may be better off in the long run by filing. Meeting with both a credit counselor and a bankruptcy attorney will give you a better idea of your alternatives.

Some people are able to settle their debts for less than they owe, but many who try wind up getting sued by their creditors. The debt settlement field is filled with scam artists who charge huge upfront fees and then fail to settle any debts. If neither credit counseling nor bankruptcy is a good option for you, you can ask the bankruptcy attorney for a referral to one of the relatively few settlement companies that's legitimate and may be able to help you.

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3 Comments

1

Your info seems good, but I would like to know WHY you have 4 links on your site to other sites that supposedly offer credit bailouts. I was particularly interested in CreditReliefAct.com. By having this link on your site, are you endodrsing it?

2

No, and I’m thinking of dropping Google Adsense for this reason–it doesn’t seem to have an effective way to block ads like that.

3

Hi Liz-

there is a Credit Union movement “American Debt Releif Challenge” http://www.adrchallenge.org/
which can hook people up with a low interest loan program to consolidate debt (if they qualify).
Since Credit Unions have a different philosophy than the big banks which have ruined the perception of the card payments systems they really can help individuals help themselves! please pass the word along.