Already struggling with home foreclosures, harsh bank and credit card fees, and other major financial challenges, America’s most deeply indebted consumers are now falling victim to a major new threat: so-called “debt settlement” schemes that promise to make clients “debt free” in a relatively short period of time. Unfortunately, most consumers who pursue debt settlement services find themselves facing not relief but even steeper financial losses. Even the industry acknowledges – though not in its ever-present radio and online advertising–that debt settlement schemes fail to work for about two thirds of clients.
 
Federal and state officials put the debt-settlement success rate even lower – at about one in 10 cases – meaning that the vast majority of unwary and uninformed consumers end up with more red ink, not the promised debt-free outcome.