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Debt Relief Tips: A bankruptcy will stay on your credit report for up to ten years, so if you can find some other legitimate means of consumer debt relief, you should probably try that first. However, if after careful consideration you decide to file for bankruptcy, don't despair. There are specific laws that prevent discrimination against someone who has filed for bankruptcy. You can't be denied housing or a job because you filed for bankruptcy, for example. You will be able to get credit again in the future. It may not be as easy, and it almost certainly will be more expensive, but you will be able to apply for and get credit again. Take the following advice: • Demonstrate a steady work history and signs of financial rehabilitation. • Open a savings account, and get a secured credit card. • Don't apply for a bunch of credit cards, either, as each application actually lowers your credit score whether you are accepted or not. • Make regular on-time payments. • Check your credit report regularly to make sure those on-time payments are being reported so you get credit for them. Credit reports can cost up to $20 a pop, but a recently enacted law makes it possible for U.S. citizens to obtain a free copy of their credit report from each of the three major credit reporting agencies once each year. You can request one report from each agency every four months and keep a handle on what's being reported for free. You can order your free annual credit report online at AnnualCreditReport.com, by calling 877-322-8228, or by completing the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mailing it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.