Do You Know How To Spot Credit Repair Scams?
You may see ads on TV, online, or in the newspaper claiming that your bad credit can be quickly and easily fixed. Don’t fall prey to these credit repair scams artists.
Avoid companies that tell you truthful information can be changed or erased to improve your credit or that only the credit repair company can remove old or inaccurate information. These claims are false.
Be wary if you are asked for a large sum of money before the credit-repair company completes the job. A money-back guarantee will not protect you from a disreputable company.
Avoid new credit identities.
If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may be the target of a credit-repair scheme, often called “file segregation.” Here, you are promised a chance to hide unfavorable credit information by establishing a new credit identity.
However, there is a problem: File segregation is illegal. If you use it, you could face fines or imprisonment.
Consumers looking for an easy fix often are targets of other credit-related scams:
Credit by phone: Pay-per-call or 900-number services have become a popular vehicle for credit scams. Advertisements promise that “guaranteed” credit or cash loans are only a phone call away. Instead, the caller might only receive a list of banks offering low-interest credit cards or a booklet on how to establish credit – and a phone charge of $50 or more. Consumers rarely end up getting credit.
Gold or platinum cards: Beware of promotions for gold or platinum cards that promise to get you credit and build your rating. Although they may sound like all-purpose credit cards, some cards only permit you to buy merchandise from special catalogs and will not help you obtain other credit. You also might be asked to call a 900 or 976 exchange number for more information. These phone charges add up quickly.
Checking-account scam: This scam, which tricks you into disclosing your checking-account number, typically begins with a postcard advertising easy credit approval or low-interest credit card rates. When you call, you are asked for your checking-account number as “verification.” Your number then can be magnetically encoded on a draft, which is forwarded to your unsuspecting bank for payment from your account.
If you suspect a credit repair scams, file a consumer complaint with the Attorney General’s Office online or by calling the Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-800-392-8222.
Never give out your bank account or credit card number unless you know the company is reputable. Don’t be a victim of these credit repair scams.