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Buried under credit-card debt? Beware of debt settlement scams

Most Tennesseans want to use their credit cards responsibly. They know that credit cards are helpful when handled responsibly, but damaging when utilized poorly. But often the decision is not between responsibility and frivolity; often the decision is between paying for essentials like food and health care versus having nothing to eat or no treatment for a serious sickness. Such a decision is no decision at all; Tennesseans charge the bill to their credit card and figure out how to pay for it later.

But sometimes Tennesseans never figure out how to make the payment. The amount is simply too great. Interest piles on and, before they know it, they have maxed out their cards. Such a situation can be overwhelming. That is understandable.

But Tennesseans need to be extra careful in this situation. Desperation can lead to bad decisions. Worse, many individuals and companies prey on this situation through debt settlement scams. They use deceptive advertising to over-promise and under-deliver. They will use words like "guarantee". For example, they will guarantee they can settle your debt for 60 cents on the dollar. But first you will have to pay their fee, which is not allowed under federal rules. Or they will neglect to explain the full extent of the risks involved in pursuing their debt-settlement program. Those risks include that many consumers do not complete the program or that the consumer's credit rating may plummet or that debt collectors will keep making harassing calls.

Fortunately, these debt programs are not the only option available to Tennesseans buried under credit card debt. Another option is to file for bankruptcy, an option that can immediately stop calls from debt collectors and begin a process that can wipe a person's financial slate clean. To learn more, Tennesseans may benefit from speaking with an experienced bankruptcy attorney.

Source: Federal Trade Commission, "Settling Credit Card Debt," Accessed Sep. 29, 2015

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Mark T. Young & Associates
2895 Northpoint Blvd.
Hixson, TN 37343

Toll Free: 888-376-0282
Phone: 423-933-1606
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