Did you ever watch “Friends”? The character Joey wasn’t known for being all that bright, but he did well with the ladies. His signature pickup line was, “How YOU doin’?” It’s a question that someone in Illinois might well want to ask themselves when it comes to their credit rating.

As you surely know, dear reader, your credit score is key to your financial well-being. If your number with any one of the various recording services is too low, it could cause difficulties that go well beyond whether you get the girl or guy you might approach. Financial woes could lead to a need for debt relief. Where and what help you get has implications, too.

When faced with prospect of being hounded by creditors and collectors, losing one’s home or other possessions, it can be easy to panic rather than seek good information about your options and how you should best proceed.

It is in that environment that the siren song of many credit repair companies might begin to sound attractive. Promises to erase bad credit or “legally” create a new credit identity can be appealing. They will surely cost a lot of money. But worse, the tactics used – if any are used at all – could well be illegal. If they employ those tactics you could be the one on the legal hook. You’ll be out the money and possibly be in legal trouble.

The thing is, if your information with the credit reporting bureaus is accurate, it can’t simply be erased. Not legally. The surest way to achieve your goal of recovery and repair is to go by the book.

Perhaps that will require you looking at filing for protection through bankruptcy. Perhaps not. The way to be sure is to contact an attorney skilled at helping people find debt relief the right way.