Get started on your path to credit repairHow can I tell a credit repair scam from a reputable credit counselor?
Answer: There are counselors who can help you with your credit report, and others who take your money but don’t help you. Warning signs for credit repair scams include companies that ask you to pay before providing services. The company may claim that it can guarantee a specific increase in your credit score or get rid of negative credit information in your credit report, even though the information is accurate and current.
Recognizing a credit repair scam
Warning signs for credit repair scams include companies that ask you to pay before providing services. The company may tell you it can guarantee a specific increase in your credit score or get rid of negative credit information in your credit report, even though the information is accurate and current.
If you see ads or receive offers to repair or fix your credit, it could be a warning sign if the company:
Pressures you to pay up-front fees. The company wants you to pay before it provides any services. A simple rule to follow is “Don’t pay upfront.” If the company uses telemarketing such that the federal Telemarketing Sales Rule applies, the credit repair company may not request or receive fees until it gives you a credit report generated more than six months after the promised results that shows the results. Under the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies can’t request or receive payment until they’ve completed the services they’ve promised. Some companies will structure monthly payment plans to try to avoid this requirement. You should know that all forms of upfront payment before services are completed are illegal.
Promises to remove negative information from your credit report. The company tells you it can get rid of the negative credit information, even if that information is accurate and current. No one can do this.
Requests you dispute accurate information in your credit report. The company advises you to dispute all the information in your credit report, regardless of its accuracy or timeliness.
Refuses or avoids explaining your rights to you. The company doesn’t tell you your rights and what you can do for yourself for free. Disputing errors in your credit reports is a free legal right available to you under the Fair Credit Reporting Act; you don’t need to pay a credit repair organization to do it for you. Also, if you have just signed up for a credit repair service, you have the right to cancel your contract with any credit repair organization for any reason within three business days at no charge to you.
Tells you to not contact credit reporting companies. The company recommends that you don’t contact any of the nationwide credit reporting companies directly.
Credit repair companies are subject to numerous federal laws, including the Credit Repair Organizations Act and often the Telemarketing Sales Rule, both of which forbid credit repair organizations from using deceptive practices and from accepting up-front fees. These laws prohibit many deceptive practices by credit repair organizations. You may have a right to sue a credit repair organization using these laws.
Can credit repair help you in Texas to achieve financial stability? Companies that claim they can restore your credit and quickly erase debt are a dime a dozen. But beware! Many of these services will do little or nothing to improve your credit.
If you need to repair your credit or consolidate debt, you can arrange payment plans and improve your credit score yourself for little or no cost. Make sure you don’t get duped.
If you can’t pay your bills:
Contact a nonprofit credit counseling service in your area.
Contact your creditors immediately to arrange a payment plan.
Questions to ask credit repair companies:
How much do your services cost?
What do you offer that I can’t do myself?
What proof will you provide that you are negotiating with my creditors?
What are your cancellation and refund policies?
Are you in compliance with the Ohio Debt Adjusters Act?
Tips to improve your credit score:
Always pay on time.
Don’t take on new debt to pay old debt.
Keep balances at 30 percent or less of available credit.
Get your free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com.
Correct mistakes on your credit report by notifying the appropriate credit reporting company in writing.
Don’t close old accounts; a longer credit history improves your score.
Demonstrate your ability to handle various terms and conditions of credit by having a good mix, including revolving loans (such as credit cards), installment loans (such as auto loans), and mortgage loans (such as home loans).
Apply for and open new lines of credit only when you need them.
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