WATCH OUT! Credit
Repair Scams are Targeting Desperate Consumers
Have you ever been contacted by a company offering to help you fix your credit overnight? Beware! It more than likely is a scam.
What are credit repair scams?
There are thousands of credit repair companies and credit organizations claiming to be able to help you repair your credit issues. Unfortunately, many of these are actually credit repair scams. Companies that claim they can fix your credit, remove credit blemishes and magically make your credit score rise are being less than truthful. In fact, no company is able to boost your credit score overnight unless they are doing something illegal. Credit repair scams operate just outside of the law and claim to be able to improve your credit in record time, with minimal effort or financial investment from you. Unfortunately, these are usually scams and consumers find themselves on the hook for money, credit problems and worse.
A consumer lawyer can help you identify credit repair scams. They will be able to uncover any illegal and unethical operations and determine if your consumer rights have been violated during the credit repair process. Unlike the credit repair scams being run by shady companies, consumer lawyers will only promise what they can deliver. Experienced debt lawyers will help you dispute credit issues and can show you how to repair your credit in the long run, not overnight. They may be able to present you with options that could potentially improve your credit score one step at a time.
Legitimate attorneys do not ever offer to enroll you in a credit repair program. Instead, they will handle your financial affairs and work within your state’s laws to ensure your credit report disputes are handled appropriately. They will be able to negotiate with creditors to reduce or settle debt, restructure payments and perhaps even get late fees and penalties waived. They will work with you to repair the damage your credit disputes have caused and will show you what steps to take to ensure that all of the information on your credit report is accurate and current. Only time and a personally tailored debt repayment program can improve your overall credit rating.
How can I spot a credit repair scam?
Credit repair scams usually operate outside of the law. They often violate many of the regulations and requirements outlined in the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA). Below are some things that are common red flags to help you spot credit repair scam organizations.
- No Explanation of Legal Rights – Credit repair scam companies will not give you an explanation of your rights such as your 3-day to cancel right, or that they must provide you with a written contract that must state the credit repair process length, the total cost you will pay and any guarantees they are making.
- Wants Money Up Front – NEVER pay a credit repair company money before they do any work for you. Credit counseling advocates do not take any money from you until the credit dispute has been resolved.
- Promises to Clear All Bad Credit – If there are things on your credit report that don’t belong there, you can contact your credit bureau on your own or with the help of a consumer lawyer and get that information removed. However, if the bad credit is something that you earned and is linked to a debt you are responsible for, than even the best consumer lawyer cannot make that go away. When a credit repair company says they can instantly remove that blemish from your credit report, they are probably making false promises and intend instead to enroll you in a credit repair scam. There are however, things that a consumer lawyer can do to minimize negative credit effects for those debts you are responsible for such as debt settlement.
- Discourages You from Contacting the Credit Companies – When you work with a consumer lawyer to resolve credit report disputes, the lawyer will most often contact the credit bureaus and companies on your behalf. But they will not try to prevent you from doing so because that is your legal right. However, credit repair scams will try to keep you from contacting the credit bureaus because in most cases, they are not conducting legal business practices and are violating laws that can further damage your credit standing.
- Asks You to Lie or Provide False Information – A resolution to a credit report dispute never involves providing false information. Credit repair scam organizations will tell consumers that they will get a new credit report under a fake social security number or under someone else’s name. They often encourage customers to lie on paperwork or to sign blank documents. If a company asks you to do this, they are most likely a scam.
- False References –Don’t believe what you read in any advertising or on any websites for credit repair programs. Most references online are manufactured. Check with the Better Business Bureau and other consumer organizations for any complaints against any credit advocate before you do business with them. The best solution is to meet with a consumer lawyer who can provide personal business references and demonstrate their experience at resolving credit issues.
The CROA requires that credit repair programs must give clients a written contract that can be cancelled within 3 business days. The contract must include any payment amount, a full description of what action will be taken to repair the credit and time frame for completing doing so. Rarely do credit repair companies offer this type of information.
What should I do if I’ve been scammed?
The Federal Trade Commission works hard to shut down credit repair scam operations. Just last year they closed down a scam artist in Florida who claimed to fix customers’ credit for $250. The company received an injunction but continued to solicit desperate customers under the guise of being able to repair their credit for a small fee. Unfortunately, customers who were victims of this scam saw no resolution to their credit problems and instead wound up losing any money they paid to the company.
You have consumer rights and if these rights have been violated, you are entitled to sue any credit repair company for damages. If you have not worked with an attorney to resolve your debt, and instead found yourself the target of a scam, contact a consumer lawyer today. To learn more about your consumer rights, what to do if they have been violated and how to protect them in the future visit www.consumerlawqa.com