Protect Yourself from Credit Repair Scams
(NAPSA)-Every day, companies promise consumers who have poor credit histories that, for a fee, they'll clean up their credit report so they can get a car loan, a home mortgage, insurance or even a job. The truth is that these companies can't deliver an improved credit report using the tactics they promote. It's illegal. No one can remove accurate negative information from your credit report. So after you pay them hundreds or thousands of dollars in up-front fees, you're left with the same credit report and a lot less money.
Indeed, attorneys for the Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, say they've never seen a legitimate credit repair operation. The fact is that there's no quick fix for bad credit. The only legitimate credit repair starts with you and it takes time and a conscious effort to pay your debts.
Recognizing a Credit Repair Scam
If you see a credit repair offer, here's how to tell if the company behind it is up to no good:
- The company wants you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services. Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require you to pay until they have completed their promised services.
- The company doesn't tell you your rights and what you can do for yourself for free.
- The company recommends that you do not contact any of the three major national credit reporting companies directly.
- The company tells you they can get rid of most or all the negative credit information in your credit report, even if that information is accurate and current.
- The company suggests that you try to invent a "new" credit identity and then a new credit report by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number.
- The company advises you to dispute all the information in your credit report, regardless of its accuracy or timeliness.
To learn how to improve your credit and find legitimate resources for low- or no-cost help, see Credit Repair: How To Help Yourself. To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit FTC.gov or call toll-free, (877) FTC HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: (866) 653-4261.
Take the Next Step:
Also in Critical Condition
- Reviving your financial New Year's resolutions
- Are you guilty of financial infidelity?
- Could your mind be dictating what you spend?
- Answers to 10 tough bankruptcy questions
- 5 ways to rebound from a financial disaster
- Unemployed: Cash out my 401(k) or roll it over?
- 10 steps to take before bankruptcy
- 5 questions to ask before an impulse purchase
- 6 risky ways to pay off your credit card debt
- Calculate the real cost of your debt
- Debt pay-down calculator
- Calculate the true cost of paying just the minimum
- Reduce credit card debt calculator