Credit Repair Scams
These days consumers must be very careful when selecting a reputable credit repair counselor and learn the tools necessary to avoid a credit repair scam. Credit repair scams operate under the premise of aiding the consumer in repair or rebuilding their credit history, but typically offer no assistance or benefits in the end. Others will do what they promise you, but neglect to inform you of the simple fact that many, if not most, of what they do can be accomplished by the consumer themselves. The government has made efforts to inform consumers of these companies and their practices. You should take advantage of these efforts to avoid these scammers and learn what you can do yourself.
Video: How to Avoid Getting Duped by Credit Repair Scams
Common signs of a scam credit repair service
- 1. Any credit repair agency that tells you they will simply erase things from your credit report.
- 2. Promises of a “new credit identity”
- 3. Money up front for services that they haven’t completed yet. Never pay anyone anything up front. In fact it is illegal for credit repair companies to ask for payment on credit repair services of which have not been yet performed.
- 4. If your credit agency tells you to dispute all your items, legitimate ones and those put on by error, you need to stop and look for another company.
- 5. Company who tells you not to contact the 3 credit reporting bureaus directly
- 6. Does not inform you of your rights to defend and repair your credit yourself
There is good news about credit repair
There is a silver lining to all the bad news you have read above. There are many things you can do yourself to repair your credit report. Start by requesting a copy of your free credit report today, and then look for and dispute any errors found there. Remember your credit worthiness can be improved. With time and some financial responsibility you can do it yourself.
Simple Steps to Repairing your Credit yourself
Repairing your own credit report is simple to do as long as you have some dedication and perseverance. You must keep in mind that you can only remove negative items from your credit history if they are there unlawfully. You may remove the following items from your credit report:
- 1. Accounts which do not belong to you
- 2. Accounts which have been reported for more than 7 years
- 3. Inaccurate payment histories
- 4. Accounts that have been included in a bankruptcy or settled otherwise
- 5. Bankruptcy that is older than 10 years
Your first step in repairing your credit history should be to request a free copy of your credit history. You can do this online and are entitled to this copy once annually or after you have been denied credit based on your credit history. Meaning, if you apply for a credit card at a gas station and are informed that you do not qualify and that this judgment was based in part on your credit report, then you can request a free credit history report due to this action. Experian is the most simple to use service and is automated online. If you have been denied credit, start there and get your copy quickly and easily. Once you have a copy of your credit history you should start identifying the items you know to be inaccurate or fall into the category listed above. These are the items you will wish to dispute.
Video: Avoiding Unscrupulous Credit Repair Companies
Disputing an inaccurate item
Disputing an item on your credit report is simple and basically means you will inform the credit reporting agencies that there is an error, provide any proof you have of this error, and request they remove the item from your credit report. The law states that your creditors must be contacted whenever there is a disputed item with their company by the credit reporting agencies. These creditors must then respond within 40 days to this request or the credit reporting agency must remove the item from your credit history, putting the burden of proof on your creditors first. If they provide the necessary documentation to the credit bureaus on time and accurately, you will then need to provide proof that the item is inaccurate. For example if you are disputing negative items such as late payments, you should provide copies of your billing statements to the credit bureaus as evidence that your were in fact not late. The more evidence you can provide to support your claim the more likely your negative item will be removed by the credit bureaus. Keep copies of everything you send and make sure everything is done in writing and sent to all three of the major credit reporting agencies. Some lenders only look at one of the three bureaus while others use a combination. Likewise some creditors only report back to one of the three, therefore you need to dispute all three of them to guarantee that the lenders are seeing an accurate credit history.
Contacting the three major credit bureaus:
P.O. Box 740241
Atlanta, GA 30374
P.O. Box 2002
Allen, TX 75013
1 888 397 3742
P.O. Box 1000
Chester, PA 19022
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