States and Non-Profits Help Consumers Find Real Debt Consolidation Help

Posted by  on Mar 30, 2010

Typing the phrase debt consolidation into a search engine can turn up thousands of results, including pages designed by scammers to look just like those of legitimate credit counseling agencies. However, as some consumer watchdogs work to protect Americans from identity thieves, community activists have discovered that many struggling families don't even know what to ask for when seeking debt relief.

Charities Offer Personal Help with Debt
The San Francisco Chronicle recently profiled a non-profit organization supported by its annual Season of Sharing charity fund. At Samaritan House, low-income residents of San Mateo County can get assistance with financial matters ranging from employment to debt management, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Organization employees and local credit union representatives lead free financial classes and workshops.

Some of the residents served by Samaritan House wrestle with the challenges of working in a new country. Others find themselves struggling to balance household budgets after high school or college courses failed to cover simple home accounting basics. Samaritan House and similar non-profit organizations can help participants avoid the need to pursue costly debt consolidation loans in the future.

State Agencies Track Phony Debt Consolidation Rings
For many Americans, the recent recession marks the first time they have experienced a job loss. Being unable to make regular mortgage or credit card payments has already put a strain on families who previously relied on traditional banks or credit unions for regular cash flow. Stuck with frozen credit and little cash, a debt consolidation loan can seem like the best way to survive the financial crisis.

Scam artists have seized on Americans' desperation with sales pitches that sound too good to be true. Imposters often request high upfront fees, then fail to deliver any real advice or assistance. In the worst cases, identity thieves use personal information to seize homes, cars, and other personal possessions. Attorneys General in several states have opened special investigation units to pursue false debt consolidation rings, while helping consumers to verify legitimate sources for help with debt management.

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