Consumers continue to get hammered by debt settlement and loan modification offers from lending companies to help get them out of debt.  When times are tough, these financial offers look appealing, but are they really the best for you?

Consider offers of debt negotiation, debt settlement, and debt elimination are three different options available to most consumers. The Better Business Bureau advises consumers to ensure they understand these critical differences before enlisting the help of a company to manage their debt or they could end up making their current financial situation worse.

The unemployment rate in the United States rose from 7.2 to 7.6 % in January according to the U.S. Department of Labor and more families are struggling to make ends meet. While the unemployment rate continues to rise, so do complaints filed with BBB against companies that claim to help consumers manage their debt. In fact complaints against debt consolidation and negotiation companies rose by almost 19 % in 2008 over the previous year.

“Consumers are bombarded every day with ads and e-mails offering services to manage or reduce debt and it’s hard to know which offer will work for them, let alone if the company can be trusted,” said Kathy Barrett, President. “Families in debt may think their situation can’t get any worse, but trusting the services of some debt negotiation, consolidation or elimination firms can actually lead to increased debt and bigger headaches.” Article was submitted by Tammy Dankovich.