How many times do you hear advertisements on the radio and television offering to repair your credit and consolidate and negotiate your debts. Please be very careful when considering calling any of these companies. First of all, there are many things you can do yourself as far as repairing your credit for free, and if you do need credit repair, use a reliable source of contact to get a company to use. I personally have a company that I use often just for my borrowers that need some repair in order to purchase a home. It has proven to be very beneficial and worth the money. Also, as far as debt consolidation you need to realize that most lenders treat this just like chapter 13, so you will likely come out better contacting your creditors and trying to negotiate these accounts on your own. This will not only save you money, but also help should you plan on purchasing a home in the next couple years. No need to pay for someone on the internet to tell you how to negotiate your debts either. You need to start by calling each creditor and making them aware of your situation/hardship...many of them will waive late fees, over limit fees, lower your interest rate and several finance companies as far as your automobile will let you defer a couple payments, basicly adding them to end of the loan term.
Something else people that need to be wary of are creditors that are currently lowering limits on consumers to reduce the risk they have. This can cause your credit score to drop if they lower it close to the balance. It will make your account reflect high and possibly maxed out as far as credit. If this should happen try to immediately start paying more toward that debt in order to lower the balance compared to limit.
Also, do not close any accounts you have currently open with credit available. Credit is very hard to come by these days and you might end up needing to make use of it should an emergency arise. If you close it there is no guarantee that the creditor will re-open the account if needed.
Many people are being affected more and more by identity theft. That is a HUGE problem today. You will hear many advertisements for companies that say they will prevent this from happening, by merely doing something you as a consumer can do to protect yourself for FREE. It is go on-line and place a fraud alert on your credit report with all three agencies every 30 days. This requires that any time a creditor has an inquiry to open an account in your name that they contact you first and your phone number provided. This must be done every 90 days to remain on your report.