Mary Hunt is the award-winning and best-selling author of 23 books. She writes the Everyday Cheapskate column that appears in The Daily Journal.

The ads are compelling. “If you have at least $10,000 of credit card debt, you are eligible to have half of it forgiven!” “Debt-settlement solutions!”

I see these ads nailed to telephone poles, plastered all over the internet and broadcast over radio and television. Even though I know what’s going on, they grab my attention and make me wonder for a second or two if perhaps I’ve missed some new bailout legislation.

In an act of due diligence, I have inquired of a number of these come-ons. It’s not pleasant. Not one of the companies I have contacted will answer any of my questions. They are tight-lipped, insisting first I must give them my Social Security number, and the details of my supposed debt before they can answer any questions. Of course, I will not do that. I just want to ask a few basic questions.

Mary invites you to go to, where this column is archived complete with links and resources for all recommended products and services. Mary invites questions and comments at, “Ask Mary.” This column will answer questions of general interest, but letters cannot be answered individually.

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