Well chances are you found this website because your heart is pounding, your palms are clammy, you shudder every time the phone rings and/or just keep turning the ringer off, your friends don't understand why you don't answer the phone half of the time, you don't sleep well at night, you keep thinking how the world ass you know it has ended, and you almost never go out because you rarely have enough cash to do anything and dont have a credit card to cover any quick expenses.
It's pretty easy for me to say and I doubt you will believe me right away but your not alone. Many of us have been there in one way or another. There is a lot of information here and a big group of people that are willing to spend a few minutes, every day trying to help you get your life back on track.
You might want to start by reading. Read everything you can find on this board. You could also grab a piece of paper and write down everyone you think you owe and how much you owe them. On another sheet of paper, list your assets such as bank balances, annual income, and any other source of funds and amounts. On a third sheet of paper list your monthly expenses like car payments, insurance, rent/mortgage, food, ect. This will give you a quick 'financial snapshot' of where you really are.
That's going to be tough so don't rush through it. When you got that together, put it in a folder and put it away for a few days (it might be a tad depressing). Spend those few days reading some more here on the board. Take note of some peoples sucess stories. Pay attention to some of the names and the dates of the posts, this journewy will take some time. For many it is a slow uphill battle that takes a few years but the important thing is they make a little bit of progress every week. Notice I am speaking in terms of weeks and years here, not hours and days. Believe that with some hard work and time, you can get through this.
As you continue to read the threads here, see if any of the situations are similar to yours. Again, note any progress the poster makes and believe that you too can do this.
Do yourself a favor and don't start posting here and asking a million questions about everything you are supposed to do right away. If you don't bother to read, we cant help you. You will see people sign up and become instant credit commandos only to be asking almost rediculous questions five minutes later. They will offer you advice on a complicated matter and swear they know what's best for you only to start a new thread a minute later asking what corner of an envelope a postage stamp goes (it still is the upper right corner by the way). Remember the advice you get here is from everyday people who may have been in your shoes or it could be from some teenager trolling for kicks. Good advice generally builds a consensus amongst the posters here. Don't take this as an affront to posing questions, just try to make an effort to find the answer first.
Maybe in a week or so, you can think about ordering your credit reports from annual credit report dot com. When you have them in hand you can start by correcting any personal information, such as name and address innacuracies. That will take about 45days. (more time to read). Maybe go to the FTC website and print yourself a copy of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Reporting Act. At that point you can start triage your reports and decide what to start working on first. Several great people here will be more than willing to assist you in getting started, but you will most likely need your credit reporst and those three sheets of paper in front of you with your 'financial snapshot' in front of you. When you post your questions, the replies may ask for some additional info that will be contained on those pieces of paper. Be honest but also be careful not to post any actual account numbers or personally identifiable information.
Good luck. If you want to put in the effort, people here can help you.
From a post by Bizwiz41:
True credit repair is more than just removing negatives from a credit report, or trying for a higher score. This may sound paradoxical, but it is the journey towards becoming that kind of person that the FICO alogorithm tries so hard to calculate.(...) To truly repair your credit (forever), you have to repair something in yourself that was the root cause of the problems.