Credit Repair Scams
If your credit isn’t as good as you’d like it to be, companies may tell you that they can clean up your credit for a fee. Many of these offers are scams that take your money and do little or nothing to improve your credit. When you try to get a refund, you may find that the company has closed down and vanished.
Beware of credit repair companies that:
- Want you to pay up front. By law, credit repair companies cannot make you pay until they have completed the services they promised you.
- Don’t tell you your legal rights and what you can do to repair your credit on your own. For example, you can get a free copy of your credit report if you’ve been denied credit, insurance or employment within the last 60 days. You can ask to fix any mistakes or outdated items on your credit report for free.
- Claim that they can remove all the negative entries in your credit file. If the negative information in your credit report is accurate and up to date, the credit bureau will not delete it. If the information is inaccurate, you can dispute it yourself — you don’t need a credit repair company to get it corrected.
- Tell you not to contact a credit bureau directly.
- Suggest that you try to invent a “new” credit report by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security Number.
- Tell you to do something that seems wrong or illegal, like disputing everything in your credit report or creating a new credit identity. If you commit fraud to get credit, you may be subject to prosecution.
- Don’t give you a written contract. The contract should include the company’s name and address, a detailed description of their services, how long the service will take, and the total cost. By law, a credit repair company cannot perform any services until you’ve signed a written contract and had three days to think it over. You can cancel the contract within those three days without paying any fees.
Just because you have a poor credit report doesn’t mean you won’t be able to get credit.
- Not all creditors look at your credit history the same way. Some may look only at recent years, and they may be willing to give you credit if your history of paying bills has improved. Contact creditors directly and ask them about their credit standards.
- Contact a non-profit consumer credit counseling service in your community. Counselors can help you set a realistic budget and set up repayment plans with your creditors. Find an accredited counselor near you by contacting the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 1-800-388-2227.
We Can Help
If you have a complaint about a credit repair scam, contact us for help or call toll free within North Carolina at 1-877-5-NO-SCAM.