Credit Repair: How To Protect Yourself From Fraud and Theft
Credit Repair Services
You see advertisements in newspapers, on television, and on the internet. He hears them on the radio. You receive brochures in the mail, emails, and even take phone calls offering credit repair services. Everybody says the same:
“We can eliminate bankruptcies, judgments, liens, and bad loans from your credit file forever!”
“We can wipe away your bad credit history – 100% guaranteed.”
“Create a new credit identity legally!”
Do yourself a help, and save some money, by the way. Do not believe these types of statements: they are most likely signs of a scam. Attorneys at the Federal Trade Commission, the national consumer protection agency, say they have never seen a legitimate credit repair operation make these kinds of claims. The truth is, there is no quick fix to regain your creditworthiness. You can legitimately improve your credit report, but it will take time, constant effort, and you will have to stick firmly to a personal debt repayment plan.
No one can legally remove accurate and precise information of a negative nature from a credit report. If you wish to dispute the news on your credit file because you believe it is inaccurate, you may request an investigation. Some people hire a company to do this research, but anything a credit repair company can legally do for you can do alone and for free or at a low cost. According to what is established by law:
You have the right to receive a free copy of your credit report if a company takes an “adverse action” against you, for example, if it denies your application for credit, insurance, or employment. You must ask for your credit report within 60 days from the date you receive the notice notifying you of the adverse action. The statement will provide you with the name, address, and phone number of the consumer reporting company. You also have the right to receive one free report per year if you are unemployed and searching for a job within the next sixty days, if you receive welfare, or if your report is incorrect due to fraud, including identity theft.
At your request, each of the nation’s consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – must give you a print of your credit report every 12 months. To request your credit report, visit annualcreditreport.com, or call 1-877-322-8228. You can order your reports from each of the three companies simultaneously, or you can stagger them throughout the year.
It costs nothing to dispute errors or outdated information on your credit report. The consumer reporting company and the data provider are responsible for correcting inaccurate or incomplete information in your report. To enforce all of your rights, contact the consumer reporting company and the provider of the information.
Report credit repair fraud
State Attorneys General
Several states have laws that regulate credit repair companies. If you have a problem with a credit repair company, report it to your local consumer affairs office or your State Attorney General’s (AG) office.
Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
You can also file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Although the FTC cannot resolve individual credit-related disputes, it can take action against a company when a consistent pattern of possible violations happens. File a grievance online at FTC.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
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