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How do I find legitimate credit counseling?

If you are someone with deep debt issues, watch out. There are many parties out there who will claim to solve your financial issues with their credit counseling services. However, some counselors are not legitimate and may try to scam you. Anyone who is looking for a reputable Georgia credit counselor should be aware of what makes a credit counseling agency legit.

The Federal Trade Commission’s Consumer Information website flags credit counselors who do not provide free information about their organizations as potential problems. A legitimate counseling agency would inform you about the services it offers without requiring you to pay anything for it. If you have to pay to find out what the agency does, you would be better off going elsewhere.

It is also wise not to automatically go with the first agency you run across. Instead, compose a list of counselors that interest you. From there, you can investigate your choices through Georgia’s attorney general office or consumer protection agencies to see if anyone has posted complaints about them. However, a lack of complaints does not ensure legitimacy. You may want to look online for additional reviews.

Even if you are not planning on going to counseling and are eyeing bankruptcy as your solution, you may not be able to escape counseling anyway since most bankruptcy cases require you to go through a counseling session before your bankruptcy case begins and just before a judge discharges your debts. Fortunately, there is a list of approved credit counseling agencies through the United States Trustee Program that you can look at.

You can also make inquires with a counselor before you commit any money towards counseling sessions. If an agency requires you to agree to a contract, make sure the terms are in writing and you can review them. If you are concerned with whether the counselor will keep your personal information private, this is a good time to ask.

Additionally, you can ask about any of the following:

  • The accreditation of the agency
  • The qualifications of the counselors
  • State licenses that the agency possesses
  • Fees that you would have to pay

Credit counseling services will ultimately be important if you go through bankruptcy, but even if you have not decided on bankruptcy just yet and are simply opting for counseling to solve your debt problems, make sure the counselor you go with has your best interests at heart.

Keep in mind that this article does not offer any legal advice. Its purpose is only to educate readers on bankruptcy topics.