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					Spotting Credit                                                                                            If you are
Repair Scams                                                                                               Victimized                                               Tips
     If you are tempted to contact a credit repair
                                                      Credit by Phone                                                                                               for
                                                                                                                                                                    consumers
company for help, use considerable caution. The                                                                Many states have passed laws regulating credit
                                                                Pay-per-call or “900 number”               repair companies. This may help if you have lost
Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a number                 services have become a popular vehicle         money to credit repair scams.
                                                                                                                                                                    on
of state Attorneys General have sued credit repair
companies for falsely promising to remove bad               for phony credit schemes. Television or
                                                            print ads promise that “guaranteed” credit         Even if your state has no such law, you still
                                                                                                                                                                    how
information from credit reports. Consider the
following:                                                  or cash loans are only a phone call away.      may have legal rights against the company. Plus,
                                                            Instead, the caller might receive a list of    by reporting the incident, you can help ensure that
                                                            banks offering low-interest credit cards       others aren’t victimized.
                                                                                                                                                                    to
1. Contactlegal action has been filed against
   see if a
            your state Attorney General to

   the company. Contact your local Better
                                                            or a booklet on how to establish credit.
                                                            Such calls can end up costing $50 or               If you’ve had a problem with a credit repair
                                                                                                           company, don’t be embarrassed to report it or            spot
                                                            more, but consumers rarely end up
    Business Bureau and your state or local                                                                assume it’s not worth your time. Contact your state
    consumer affairs agency to check out the                getting credit as a result. Be aware that if   Attorney General’s office and local consumer
                                                            you call “900” or “976” exchanges for
    credit repair company. See if any
    complaints have been lodged against the
    company.
                                                            information, you will be charged for the
                                                            call - even if you decide you don’t want
                                                                                                           protection agency. You also may write to the Federal
                                                                                                           Trade Commission. While the FTC does not handle
                                                                                                           individual cases, it can act when it sees a pattern of
                                                                                                                                                                    Credit Repair
                                                                                                                                                                    Scams
                                                            what the company is promoting.                 possible law violations develop.
               you are told that accurate
2. Be alert if will be changed or erased or
   information
    that only the credit repair company can
    remove old or inaccurate information.                                                                                     CONTACT:
    Such claims are false.                                                                                       Office of Attorney General
                                                                                                               Bureau of Consumer Protection
                 wary if    are asked for a
3. Be especially money youadvance, before
   large sum of          in                                                                                    14th Floor, Strawberry Square
                                                                                                                   Harrisburg, PA 17120
    the credit repair company completes the
    job it promises to do. Even a money-back
    guarantee won’t protect you if the                                                                                   Toll-free
    company is dishonest.
                                                                                                                     Consumer Hotline:
                                                                                                                      1-800-441-2555
  More Credit-Related Scams
                            Beware of promotions for "gold" or "platinum" cards that promise to
                        get you credit and build your credit rating even if your credit history is            www.attorneygeneral.gov
      "Gold"            poor. Although they may sound like general purpose credit cards, some of
        or              these "gold" or "platinum" cards only permit you to buy merchandise from
    "Platinum"          special catalogs and will not help you obtain credit from other sources. You
                        may also find that ads for these cards direct you to call "900" or "976"
       Cards            exchanges for more information. Remember that charges for these calls
                        add up fast!                                                                                                                                  Office of Attorney General
                                                                                                                                                                    Commonwealth of Pennsylvania
'Credit Problems?                                                             'Erase Bad Credit!'                                             'Remove Bankruptcy
   No Problem!'                                                 '100% Guaranteed!'                                                       & Liens From Your Credit File!'
If you’re looking for a way out
  of your credit problems, don’t                              If there are genuine mistakes or outdated          How to Correct Mistakes in                          Credit-Related
   believe promises like these!                               items in your report, you can fix them
                                                              yourself.                                          Your Report                                         Scams
      There’s a brisk business among so-called                   In Fact, You Can Do                                 Review your credit report for any mistakes       Consumers searching for an
"credit repair" companies that charge from $50 to          Anything a Credit Repair Company                      or information more than seven years old (ten
more than $1,000 to "fix" your credit report. In
many cases, these outfits take your money and do            Can Do - For Free or for Only a                      years for bankruptcy). If you don’t understand        easy way out of their credit
little or nothing to improve your credit report. Often,              Few Dollars.                                something, ask. The credit bureau is required        problems are susceptible to a
they just vanish.                                                                                                by law to explain your report to you. If there
                                                          What's in your                                         are mistakes, you can take the following actions:    wide range of credit-related
     There are no quick or easy cures for a poor                                                                                                                          scams in addition to
credit history. If a credit repair company promises
you it can clean up your credit report, remember
                                                          Credit Report?                                                                                                   credit repair fraud
the following:                                                If you’re having trouble getting credit, try
     Your credit history is maintained by private         checking your credit report yourself. The credit
     companies called credit bureaus that                 report tells how you’ve managed your credit in the
                                                                                                                 1. Notify the creditmuch informationproblem
                                                                                                                    and provide as
                                                                                                                                      bureau of the
                                                                                                                                                      as you
                                                                                                                                                                     Checking Account Scams
     collect information reported to them by              past. Companies examine your credit report before
                                                          deciding whether to give you credit. When a                can about what is wrong with the report.
     banks, mortgage companies, department                                                                           The bureau must - at no charge to you -
     stores and other creditors;                          company denies your request for credit because of                                                                One of the latest scams making
                                                          your credit report, it must tell you so and identify       re-investigate the disputed information. It       the rounds typically begins with a
                                                          the bureau that supplied the report.                       then must correct any mistake or delete           postcard advertising easy credit
    These credit bureaus can legally report                                                                          any information it cannot verify. At your
    accurate negative credit information for                                                                                                                           approval or low credit card interest
                                                              Credit bureaus are required by law to share            request, the bureau must send a                   rates. When consumers call, they are
    seven years and bankruptcy information                                                                           corrected copy of your report to anyone
    for ten years;                                        with you any information they have on file about                                                             asked for their checking account
                                                          you. You can find out what’s in your credit report         who received the incorrect version within         number, supposedly as part of a
                                                          by taking the follow steps:                                the past six months.                              "certification process." This number
    Accurate items that are within the seven
    (or ten) year reporting period cannot be                                                                                                                           can be magnetically encoded on a
    erased from your credit record by
    companies advertising "credit repair"
                                                          1. Contact local credit bureaus.Yellowcan find
                                                                                           You
                                                             them listed in the telephone        Pages           2. Sometimes, it is alsotohelpful to that the
                                                                                                                    the creditor directly   ensure
                                                                                                                                                       contact         draft, which is forwarded to the
                                                                                                                                                                       consumer’s bank. Sometimes banks
                                                              under "Credit Bureaus" or "Credit                      creditor’s records are correct.
    services;                                                 Reporting Agencies." Your local bank or                                                                  pay out hundreds of dollars from the
                                                                                                                                                                       consumer’s account, not realizing that
                                                              retailer may also be able to identify them.
    If you have a poor credit history, even if
    your past problems were due to illness
                                                                                                                 3. If these stepsstatement of up to 100 words
                                                                                                                    file a written
                                                                                                                                   don’t resolve things, you can       the consumer never approved the
                                                                                                                                                                       withdrawal. For your protection, never
    or unemployment, time is the only thing               2. Ask for aacopy of yourtocredit report.you’ve
                                                             may be fee
                                                                            of
                                                                               $5     $20, but if
                                                                                                    There            with the credit bureau explaining your side
                                                                                                                     of the story. This explanation will be in-
                                                                                                                                                                       give out your checking account
                                                                                                                                                                       number or credit card number unless
    that will heal your credit report;                        been denied credit within the past 30                  cluded in your credit report.
                                                              days, your credit report is free.                                                                        you are certain that you are dealing
    The only entries in your credit report that                                                                                                                        with a reputable company.
    can be changed are items that are
    actually wrong or beyond the seven (or                3. Most credit bureaus will mail you a copy
                                                             of your report. Under the law, you also
    ten) year reporting period;                               have the right to visit their offices to
                                                              review your credit report in person.

				
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