There are swirling rumors in the United States that debt settlement is some kind of scam. Many believe that the service itself is illegal. Others believe that all companies out there are thieves. Many contrast ethical consumer credit counseling vs. unethical debt settlement programs. As usual when dealing with extremes and rumors, the truth lies somewhere in between. Lets be clear and face facts- some who offer debt settlement are scam artists. The same can be said of all companies in all industries. Recently the owner of an major SEC-approved investment firm was found guilty of swindling $50 BILLION from investors for example, the biggest scam in American history. Even priests, teachers, and politicians have been arrested recently in America. Research the company before signing up. What is their track record online? What is their BBB record? Do they answer your questions completely as possible? Are you able to reach them consistently by telephone or email? Do they have a physical address? Once you sign up do you see things happening on your account? Are your settlement funds held in your name or the company?s name? Asking these types of questions will be able to help prevent being duped. A few other details will help insure this is the best program for you. Read the contract in detail. Ask questions to clarify the provisions. Look at the fee structure and where each dollar goes. Some company?s claim to use an attorney model but what is actually gained from this model with the exception of higher fees? Compare the models of various companies to see which has the most service for the most reasonable fee. See if the fees are negotiable. Consumer credit counseling is often no more ideal than debt settlement. Settlement programs are notorious for a industry average of around 70% success rate, that is only about 70% of those who sign up successfully get through the program. However, consumer credit counseling success rates are around 30%! It could be that this fact gets little press as consumer credit counseling was created by and the terms arranged by the creditors themselves who profit greatly from these programs. Get a quote for consumer credit counseling and compare it to a quote for debt settlement. Lastly, be sure to know what debt settlement is and what it isn't. It isn't an ideal cure-all, nothing is. It has its downsides. Get every single piece of information you can from the service provider. Look at other options as well, and compare the pros and cons of each before making your decision. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. With a little research a financially struggling person can get into the right program for them and avoid being taken and their situation made worse.