Credit Repair Scams

Newspapers, radio, TV and the Internet are filled with advertisements that offer for a fee to erase accurate negative information in your credit file. The credit repair scam artists who run these ads can’t deliver. Only time, a deliberate effort, and a plan to repay your bills will improve your credit history record. This section is designed to help you understand credit reports and credit repair scams.

Credit Reports

Does your credit report accurately represent you? A recent study conducted by the Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) found over 70% of credit reports contain errors. Among the principal findings of the report were the following:

* Twenty-nine percent (29%) of the credit reports contained serious errors that could result in the denial of credit.”
* “Serious” errors included false delinquencies, public records or judgments that belonged to a stranger, or credit accounts that did not belong to the consumer; Seventy percent (70%) of the credit reports contained mistakes or errors of some kind, also including the following:

* Forty-one percent (41%) of the credit reports contained incorrect personal demographic identifying information; Twenty percent (20%) of the credit reports were missing major credit cards, loans, mortgages, or other accounts that are critical to demonstrating consumer credit worthiness.

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One of the first steps to credit repair, is understanding credit reports. When applying for mortgages, home loans and refinances, one of the most important factors in determining whether or not you will be approved is your credit. This is true for other important factors as well, such as obtaining lower interest rate auto loans and credit cards. Good credit can open many doors.

If you have had credit issues in the past, or are currently in a situation that will affect your credit, be prepared to address these issues upfront.

The mortgage industry has its own language when it comes to your credit report. Mortgage lenders get their name from the grading system they use. Items that determine your credit rating (A+ to D-) are payment history, amount of debt payments, bankruptcies, equity positions, and credit scores. Credit scores are also known as “FICO” scores, and are used by the mortgage industry to determine credit risk. The higher the credit score, the better the credit risks.

FICO stands for Fair Isaac Company, the company that created the original scoring system. Each credit bureau has its own unique system that allows them to offer a score based solely on the contents of the credit bureau’s data about an individual. A numerical score at one bureau is the equivalent of the same numerical score of another. For example, a score of 700 from Experian indicates the same creditworthiness as a score of 700 from Trans Union or Equifax. However, the calculations used to determine these scores are different for each bureau.

FICO scores range from 375 to 900 points. A score of 650 or above indicates a very good credit history. However, lenders do not necessarily give the same value to a particular credit score, and they do not necessarily use credit scoring!

FICO scoring places a value on the types of accounts you hold, as well as your credit history. The formula that determines your scores, however, is not disclosed to the consumer.

The 5 most important factors to determining your credit score are:

* Your payment history
* The amount of outstanding debt you have compared to your credit limit
* Your credit history
* The types of credit you use
* Negative information

Remember, FICO scores range from 375 to 900 points. A score of 650 or above indicates a very good credit history.

Credit Repair Scams

You’ve seen it in newspapers, maybe even heard it on the radio or television — Erase accurate negative information in your credit file! — The credit repair scam artists who run these ads can’t deliver. Only time, a deliberate effort, and a plan to repay your bills will improve your credit record. This section is designed to help you understand the two top credit repair scams that are circulating newspapers, television, magazines and radio.

Credit Repair Scam #1 – File Segregation

If you filed bankruptcy, you may be the target of a credit repair scam called “file segregation.” In this scam, you are promised a chance to hide unfavorable credit information by establishing a new credit identity. That may sound like a good idea but, file segregation is illegal. If you use it, you could face fines or even a prison sentence.

Credit Repair Scam #2 – New Credit Identity

If you have filed for bankruptcy, you may receive a letter from a credit repair company warning you about the inability to obtain credit cards, personal loans, or any other types of credit for 10 years. For a fee, the company promises to help you hide your bankruptcy and establish a new credit identity to use when you apply for credit. These companies also make pitches in classified ads, radio, TV, and the Internet.

When signing up for the service you will be required to pay a fee and may be directed to apply for an Employer Identification Number, commonly referred to as an EIN, from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Typically, an EIN is quite similar to a social security number and is used by businesses to report financial information to the IRS and the Social Security Administration.

After you receive your EIN, the credit repair service will tell you to use it in place of your social security number when you apply for credit, inform you to use a new mailing address and obtain additional credit references.

That may sound like a good idea but, using false information is illegal and considered fraud. If you use it, you could face fines or even jail time.

Credit Repair Company’s And False Claims

Credit Repair False Claim #1: You will not be able to get credit for 10 years.

Each creditor has its own criteria for granting credit. While one may reject your application because of bankruptcy, another may grant you credit. And, given a new reliable payment record, your chances of establishing additional credit could probably increase as time passes.

Credit Repair False Claim #2: The company or “file segregation” program is affiliated with the federal government.

The federal government does not support or work with companies that offer such programs.

Credit Repair False Claim #3: The “file segregation” program is legal.

It is a federal crime to make any false statements on a loan or credit application. It is a federal crime to misrepresent your Social Security number. It also is a federal crime to obtain an EIN from the IRS under false pretenses. Further more, you could be charged with mail or wire fraud if you use the mail or the telephone to apply for credit and provide false information. Worse yet, file segregation likely would constitute civil fraud under many state laws.

Your Rights Under The Credit Repair Organizations Act

This law prohibits false claims about credit repair and makes it illegal for these companies to charge you until they have performed their services. It requires that companies tell you about your legal rights. Credit repair companies must provide this in a written contract that also spells out just what services are to be performed, how long it will take to achieve results, the total cost, and any guarantees that are offered. Under the law, these contracts also must explain that consumers have three days to cancel at no charge.

Finding Help for Credit Problems
It’s a good idea to try to solve your debt problems with your creditors as soon as you foresee or realize that there is a financial problem. If you can’t resolve your credit problems yourself or need additional help, contact We are a full service debt consolidation organizations with clients nation wide that counsels and educates individuals and families on debt problems, budgeting and using credit wisely. We work directly with your creditors to help resolve your debt problems by negotiating a repayment schedule that is affordable for you and acceptable to the creditor.


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