“Your credit will be erased permanently!”; Does that offer sound too enticing to dismiss? Maybe so. Especially for those who are awfully troubled by financial crisis and debt. They may be so desperate about their bad credit that they would take any offer of help as appealing as that. But before you take that plunge, be warned! There are many companies out there, disguising as help who are only after your money.
Here are the warning signs of what to look out for or credit repair rip-offs:
- You are being asked to pay a sum of money before any services are provided. This should be a major red flag for you, because you are already in debt and you should be not be asked to put out any sum of money without completing the services you need.
- The Company does not advise you your legal rights.
- You are not informed about options that you can do for yourself for free. Yes, there are some means to help fix your credit problems on your own, without having to pay anything.
- Advises you not to get in touch with a credit bureau directly.
- Advises to use false information such as your Employer Identification Number to use in place of your Social Security Number
- Recommends an action that seems illegal like creating a new credit identity. Following this advice will make
Remember, it is a federal offense to use false statements on a loan or credit application.
Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require payment from the client until they have accomplished their services. If the company promises to clear out negative information about your credit, that is a lie. You can only request a re-investigation of the information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or inexact. You can even do so by yourself for free or if not, this could be done by the Credit Repair Company at a low charge. According to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, you can also get a copy of your credit report and dispute mistakes on your report free of charge.
True, many Credit Repair Companies make ridiculous offers and knowing what these are is a great protection that would save us time, money and false anticipation. There is legitimate Credit Counseling Companies that one can obtain help from. And these ones explain to you your rights and give you all necessary steps that you can do to break away from bad credit. So go ahead, feel free to avail their service, but make sure you will be getting the right one.
For a copy of your report, you may contact one of the following numbers:
Experien (formerly TRW) at (800) 682-7654
Equifax at (800) 685-1111;
Trans Union at (800) 916-8800.
If you have been charged money by a Credit Repair Company with a promise to fix your credit, you may file a complaint with the FTC at (202) FTC-HELP, TDD (202) 326-2502. You may ask for free information on credit repair and other consumer issues from the Federal Trade Commission at these same numbers.
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