Only consistent efforts and making payments on your debts will improve your credit. Therefore, choose your credit counseling agency carefully. Some businesses make promises about repairing your credit that they cannot deliver.
Beware of companies that:
- Promise to erase your bad credit or to remove bankruptcies and judgments from your credit file. No one can have accurate information removed.
- Promise fast and easy credit repair. If you have bad credit, it can take years to repair your credit legitimately.
- Offer to create a new identity for you. If you make false statements on loan applications or use a fake SSN you will be committing fraud. You can also be charged with mail or wire fraud if you use the mail or telephone to apply for credit and provide false information.
- Want you to pay for credit repair services before providing any service. Legitimate companies provide a service before requesting payment.
- Will not tell you your rights and what you can do yourself: Remember, you can order your credit report yourself. If you see errors on your report, you can also request that the credit reporting agencies make appropriate changes.
Now I am going to read a few credit repair scams. I want you to tell me which credit repair statement on the slide indicates that the statement I read might be a scam.
The credit repair agency promises to erase negative credit information and remove bankruptcies and judgments from your credit file. Which statement on the slide indicates this could be a scam?
Answer: No one can have accurate information removed from your credit report.
The credit repair agency offers to create a new SSN for you. Which statement on the slide indicates this could be a scam?
Answer: No one can create a new identity for you.
If you make false statements on loan applications or use a fake SSN you will be committing fraud. You can also be charged with mail or wire fraud if you use the mail or telephone to apply for credit and provide false information. This credit repair agency promises you fast and easy credit repair. Which statement on the slide indicates that this is a scam?
Answer: It can take years to repair bad credit legitimately.
In addition to credit repair scams, be aware of other frauds tied to economic difficulties (e.g., con artists preying on people who need jobs).
- One common example involves attractive offers to work part-time from home, but the end result is that the new “employer” commits identity theft or check fraud.
- Another involves mystery shopper programs, in which you are supposedly hired to report on your experience doing business at a retailer, but instead you lose money in a fake check scam.
You can protect yourself from these and other financial scams by:
- Being extremely skeptical of unsolicited offers that involve “updating” or “confirming” personal information, or requirements that you send a payment or provide bank account information before receiving anything in return.
- Walking away from any offer from a stranger that would involve a large check to be deposited into your account and instructions to wire any of that money back, perhaps to someone in another country. In this type of scam, victims may end up owing thousands of dollars to the financial institution that wired the money.