Having too much medical, credit card or other debt might have creditors breathing down your neck, and you may be looking for a solution that gets them off your back. Before you decide to work with a debt settlement company operating in Kentucky or elsewhere, consider the risks involved. That way, you may make an educated decision about whether to move forward.

According to the Federal Trade Commission, debt settlement companies typically tell you they are going to work with your creditors to settle your debts for an amount that is less than what you currently owe. It is often risky to partner with these companies, which are typically for-profit entities, and you should know the following before doing so.

Your creditors do not have to go along with the plan

Your creditors have no legal obligation to work with a debt consolidation program or company, regardless of what that company may tell you. They also do not have to agree to accept any particular amount in exchange for what you owe.

Your credit may suffer

When you work with a debt consolidation company, it may instruct you to stop paying certain debts altogether. It may also advise you to stop communicating with creditors entirely. If you do so, your credit score might take a hit. You may also face late fees and penalties, and in some cases, your creditors may decide to garnish your wages for the unpaid debts.

Research your options before deciding to work with a debt consolidation company. Depending on the specifics of your situation and finances, filing for bankruptcy or undergoing credit counseling may help you get back on your feet.