Debt Relief Promises May Really Be Offering Bankruptcy
Can I really repair my credit? You can, if you have patience and persistence and watch out for the scam artists.
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Consumer debt is at an all-time high. What’s more, a record number of consumers, more than 1.5 million in 2004, are filing for bankruptcy. Whether your debt dilemma is the result of an illness, unemployment, or overspending, it can seem overwhelming. In your effort to get solvent, be on the alert for advertisements that offer seemingly quick fixes. And read between the lines when faced with ads in newspapers, magazines, or even telephone directories that say:
“Consolidate your bills into one monthly payment without borrowing”
“STOP credit harassment, foreclosures, repossessions, tax levies and garnishments”
“Keep Your Property”
“Wipe out your debts! Consolidate your bills! How?
By using the protection and assistance provided by federal law. For once, let the law work for you!”
While the ads pitch the promise of debt relief, they rarely say relief may be spelled b-a-n-k-r-u-p-t-c-y. And although bankruptcy is one option to deal with financial problems, it’s generally considered the option of last resort. The reason: it has a long-term negative impact on your creditworthiness. A bankruptcy stays on your credit report for 10 years, and can hinder your ability to get credit, a job, insurance, or even a place to live. What’s more, it can cost you attorneys’ fees.
Advance-Fee Loan Scams
These scams often target consumers with bad credit problems or those with no credit. In exchange for an up-front fee, these companies “guarantee” that applicants will get the credit they want