You know something is a scam when Fox News, The Huffington Post, and the federal government all agree.
You’ve probably seen ads from companies promising a “new credit identity” — that is, a fresh start for your credit history. It may seem like just the thing you need to get your credit back on track, but it’s actually a scam.
But like everything else in the world, a few greedy idiots ruin it for everyone else. Credit repair is actually a legitimate way to beef up your credit score – the three digits that decide whether you pay a lot or a little interest on a new house or new car, and even if you qualify for a credit card.
Your credit score is determined by your credit reports. Yes, that’s plural. You have one with each of the three major credit bureaus, with the imposing names of Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion. But researchers have proven for years that one in every four credit reports contains an error big enough to drag down your credit score.
Those errors can be as simple as forgetting to mention that you settled an old debt or as disturbing as listing someone else’s debts on your report. It happens so often, the federal government passed something called the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The FCRA forces the three credit bureaus to let you fix mistakes on your credit report, but remember, we’re talking about the government – here’s a PDF of the act, in all its 99-section glory.
To help you navigate all that, legitimate companies charge a nominal fee and could get you some serious results. But like blood-sucking leeches, scammers have gotten in the game. Here’s how to tell one from the other…
- They charge you up front – The FTC says that’s illegal. Scammers are really after your financial information, so they can drain your bank account.
- They promise the world tomorrow – Repairing your credit takes more than a day, and those repairs won’t suddenly qualify you to buy a Ferrari.
- They got no lawyers or friends – Legit credit repair agencies have attorneys on staff – it takes lawyers to apply this law effectively – and they have reviews from satisfied customers you can easily find online.
That’s just the beginning. If you want to know more, check out How to Spot a Credit Repair Scam by Debt.com. LEO Affairs has partnered with Debt.com, which finds reputable companies for everything from credit repair to student loan reduction.
Credit repair agencies who work with Debt.com (all of which are accredited by the Better Business Bureau) have to abide by its Code of Ethics. In an industry that can do great work or cause great harm, this is the best way to hammer the scammers.
Public service members, first responders and their families can get a FREE personalized debt analysis by calling Debt.com at 844-382-7977. They will connect you with a trained counselor who will give free, proven advice with no obligation or charge.
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