Reputable credit counseling organizations advise you on managing your money and debts, help you develop a budget, and usually offer free educational materials and workshops. Their counselors are certified and trained in the areas of consumer credit, money and debt management, and budgeting.
A reputable credit counseling agency should send you free information about the services it provides without requiring you to provide any details about your situation. If a firm doesn’t do that, consider it a red flag and go elsewhere for help.
When you’re choosing a credit counseling agency, check for the following:
Beware of companies that guarantee they can remove unsecured debt, that promise that unsecured debts can be paid off with pennies on the dollar, or that demand payment of a percentage of your savings. Reliable credit counselors help people manage their money better and, if appropriate, can help get better interest rates on loans and set up a realistic repayment plan that is acceptable to creditors. They cannot “fix” bad credit or pay off debts for less than is owed. If it looks too good to be true, then it probably is.
The Federal Trade Commission’s Fiscal Fitness section