Spotting Credit If you are Repair Scams Victimized Tips Credit by Phone for If you are tempted to contact a credit repair company for help, use considerable caution. The Many states have passed laws regulating credit Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and a number of state Attorneys General have sued credit repair Pay-per-call or “900 number” services have become a popular vehicle repair companies. This may help if you have lost money to credit repair scams. consumers companies for falsely promising to remove bad information from credit reports. Consider the for phony credit schemes. Television or print ads promise that “guaranteed” credit Even if your state has no such law, you still on following: or cash loans are only a phone call away. Instead, the caller might receive a list of may have legal rights against the company. Plus, by reporting the incident, you can help ensure that how banks offering low-interest credit cards others aren’t victimized. to your state Attorney General to 1. Contactlegal action has been filed against see if a 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 special catalogs and will not help you obtain credit from other sources. You Tom Corbett "Platinum" may also find that ads for these cards direct you to call "900" or "976" Attorney General 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.