Credit can be beneficial, when it's used to build ownership in a house, pursue an education or start a business. But it can be disastrous when it's used unwisely, or when job loss, illness or other disaster destroys your ability to earn a living and pay your bills. The companies that so eagerly pursue you will turn on you as quickly as a politician's friend when your fortunes change for the worse.
There is some protection for consumers who are in over their heads. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act bars collection agencies and attorneys from using false, deceptive, abusive and unfair tactics to collect a debt. Learn how to protect yourself in our special report, Your Debts, Your Rights. If your situation is truly desperate, it may be time to consider bankruptcy. See our special report, Bankruptcy: Is It For You? Renting an apartment? You need to know about the tenant screening system.
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