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Fraudulent services prey on many seeking debt relief

Many in Akron view having to file for bankruptcy as the ultimate fiscal failure on their part. Yet often they allow that fear to drive them into making poor decisions in the name debt relief. It's not uncommon to hear ads from companies touting credit counseling or debt relief services that promise to help clients get out of debt and avoid bankruptcy, all while saving them money. Unfortunately, many of those who've enrolled in such services find out too late that they've paid a lot of money to these debt relief agencies without them ever having negotiated lower payments with creditors as they originally promised. Thus, they end up having not only lost money, but also in a worse position with their creditors than they were initially.

While federal regulations have been enacted to try and eliminate such scams, those contacted by companies offering such services are advised to be skeptical of claims that they can resolve their debts for discounted rates or that new government rulings or programs allow for debt bailouts. Any company that tries to push a debt relief product without first asking to review one's financial situation or encourages him or her to stop speaking with his or her creditors should also not be trusted.

Ultimately, there are a number of debt relief options available to those looking for it that are perfectly legitimate. Although not viewed as preferable by some, personal bankruptcy is among those options. For many, bankruptcy may actually be their best option. In order to know for sure, one may want to consult with a bankruptcy lawyer. 

Source: La Crosse Tribune "Column: Beware of debt relief scams" Julie Lassa, Jan. 10, 2014 

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