We've all seen the ads on television or in magazines, shouting, “Erase bad debt!" or “Remove negative entries from your credit report!" If you're a person suffering from a less-than-stellar credit rating, those headlines may seem like the answer to a prayer.
The only problems is, those programs don't work, and to add insult to injury, you'll find yourself paying hefty fees to those companies, only to end up right where you started, or worse. Sometimes, what is couched as a credit repair program may actually be an attempt to steal your identity by gaining information about your social security number, bank accounts, and credit cards.
Here’s how the credit repair scam generally works:
First, the company will contact the various credit bureaus and tell them that the negative information contained in your files is false. Since they want to accurately reflect your credit information, the credit bureaus will temporarily remove the negative information while they investigate the claims. Meanwhile, the scammer sends you a copy of your credit file, showing that the negative information has been removed, claiming that your credit history has now been repaired.
It will seem like a miracle, until you learn that as soon as the credit bureaus have completed their investigation, any accurate negative information will be returned to your credit report, and you'll be back where you started, minus the fees that you paid to the scammer.
The key concept to remember when it comes to your credit report is that accurate entries will stay on that report for seven years from the time they're reported to the credit agencies. Bankruptcies stay on a report for fourteen years.
There are many honest companies that can help you with debt problems. But how can you know if a company is legitimate? First, scammers will ask for their money up front, while legitimate credit repair companies can't require payment from their clients until they've performed the services they've promised. In many states, they must also give you a detailed written contract, clearly explaining your legal rights and giving you the option to cancel within three days.
The bottom line: know who you're dealing with when it comes to trying to repair your credit. Mistakes can cost you dearly, doing even more damage to your credit, creating even more debt problems, and sometimes costing large amounts of money.
Copyright © 2005 Jeanette J. Fisher - All Rights Reserved.
Forget what you've been told about credit. “Credit Help!" author Professor Jeanette Fisher was forced into becoming a credit expert. She loves helping people buy houses. Get the credit you need to buy one house or twenty. Visit Real Estate Credit Help Center: http://www.recredithelp.com