If you are saddled with debts that you can no longer continue to pay on a current basis, you may be intrigued by advertisements that suggest that they can settle your debt for much less than what is owed. These private companies seem to be just one more scheme to rip off consumers struggling in this down economy. They will suggest that you become delinquent on your debt by ceasing to make payments, and will charge significant fees to begin settling your debts. BEWARE: these companies seldom solve your problems. Please read the recent NACBA report on these schemes.
Credible Credit Counseling Agencies might help you solve your problems but check them out thoroughly. Be sure you understand exactly what fees you are being charged by the Credit Counseling Company. Make sure that no creditor gets money without your agreement. Beware of companies that suggest that you get into default before the debt is settled. Finally, understand your bankruptcy options before spending your money to settle your debt. Many times your credit will be in better shape sooner by filing bankruptcy than by debt settlement and you will not need to deal with adverse income tax consequences by the 1099's that will be generated by debt forgiveness. I do not encourage people to file bankruptcy, but you should know and understand your options.