How can I recognize a credit repair scam?
Answer: Warning signs for credit repair scams include companies that ask you to pay before providing services. The company would tell you it can get rid of negative credit information in your credit report, even though it is accurate and current.
If you see ads or receive offers to repair or fix your credit, look for these warning signs:
- The company wants you to pay before it provides any services. Under federal law, credit repair companies can’t require you to pay until they’ve completed the services they’ve promised.
- The company doesn’t tell you your rights and what you can do for yourself for free.
- The company recommends that you don’t contact any of the nationwide credit reporting companies directly.
- The company tells you it can get rid of the negative credit information in your credit report, even if that information is accurate and current. No one can do this.
- The company suggests that you try to invent a “new” credit identity – and then, a new credit report – by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number.
It is a federal crime to misrepresent your Social Security number or to obtain an Employer Identification Number from the Internal Revenue Service under false pretenses.
- The company advises you to dispute all the information in your credit report, regardless of its accuracy or timeliness.
If you have just signed up for these services, you have the right to cancel your contract with any credit repair organization for any reason within three business days.
Credit repair companies must abide by the Credit Repair Organizations Act, a federal law enforced by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). This law prohibits deceptive practices by credit repair organizations. You have a right to sue a credit repair organization that violates the Credit Repair Organization Act.
If you have a problem with credit reporting, you can submit a complaint with the CFPB online.