Get educated about debt relief programs

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You may have noticed fewer advertisements for debt relief programs in recent months.

Does this decline in advertising mean fewer people need help with debt? Probably not.

In fact, millions of consumers continue to wage a battle against debt each day.

The ad decline is simply the result of laws that have come about to address an over-saturation of debt relief programs following the recession. If you are still looking for help in dealing with your debt, consider the following tips:

Know the difference. There are different types of debt relief programs available. Each has unique pros and cons which must be considered before committing to the program. If you assume all debt-relief programs are the same, you are putting your money at risk.

Understand your situation. Once you have compared the various debt relief programs, you are in a better position to pick the one right for you. But first, you must examine your own financial situation in order to make the right choice.

For example, a person who qualifies for a debt-settlement program might be wasting their time with debt consolidation or credit counseling, not because one program is better than the other but because the individual situation will dictate which process is the right one.

Know how to spot a scam. The scams involving debt-settlement companies have been reined in as a result of new regulations governing the industry. While this has been helpful in protecting consumers, it is still important to learn how to spot a scam to avoid being the victim of a con artist.

Read more about how to spot, and ditch, bad credit counselors, including the red flags you should look for.

New laws may be designed to protect consumers, but at the end of the day, it is you responsibility to understand any contracts you've signed.

To learn how long it will take to pay off your credit card debt without a debt relief program, try our payoff calculator.