Be Alert: “Credit Repair Professionals” scams
Credit Repair Professionals or Do it Yourself?
It is well known that credit repair professionals do not have access to powers that are not available to consumers. Many consumers study up on the process and do a fine job of increasing their own credit score. Others prefer to bypass the long learning curve and let credit repair professionals use their experience to achieve quicker results. These people know that there are tricks to every trade. Establishing priorities for your credit repair efforts is more easily done by a professional who is not emotionally involved. Much about the credit scoring system is counter-intuitive. This makes it easy to do the wrong thing because it’s just “common sense.” For example common sense would tell you that a raise in your salary should increase your credit score. The reality is the credit scoring system doesn’t care how much your salary is or how much you have in the bank.
Beware! Before you sign up for fee-based credit repair professionals. Many of the promised services are either illegal or are ones you can do for free by yourself. One very popular but ineffective technique used by dodgy credit repair professionals is “Jamming.” This involves blitzing the credit reporting agencies with letters protesting legitimate entries. The hope is that the creditor misses the 30 day deadline to respond and the record of the debt has to be purged. Unfortunately the negative entry will probably be re-inserted the following month. Credit reporting agencies have the power to refuse to investigate frivolous disputes. Guess who decides if a dispute is frivolous? The credit reporting agency does. The focus of your credit repair efforts should be on information that is truly inaccurate. 70 per cent of disputes are resolved within 14 days.
Before you sign up to work with credit repair professionals, here are some pointers to keep in mind:
1. A credit repair professional must give you a copy of the “Consumer Credit File Rights under State and Federal Law” before you sign a contract.
2. Credit repair professionals cannot perform any services until you have signed a written contract and completed a three-day waiting period, during which time you can cancel the contract without paying any fees.
3. Credit repair professionals cannot charge you until they have completed the promised services, according to the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA)
5. Suggestions that you create a new credit history (also called file segregation) by requesting an Employer Identification Number from the IRS are illegal.
6. You can solve your own credit challenges by requesting a free copy of your credit report through www.annualcreditreport.com, and by working with creditors to dispute incorrect information.
7. Buy my book and study the Essays on this web site and you will learn how to do it yourself.
There are Good Credit Repair Professionals
Because there is no license required or competency testing anyone can claim to be credit repair professionals. Just throw up a sign claiming to be a credit repair expert. Starting a nails salon requires more professional licensing than credit repair professionals. How do you know who’s good at credit repair? Some pointers
- Referrals Social proof is almost everything. I say almost because certain kinds of social proof are easily gamed. People can be paid to write good reviews. Competitors and other unfriendly people can fill the social media with false complaints. If others have tried a credit repair professionals service and are happy with the result there is a very good chance that you will be happy too. But social proof should be reenforced with other reliable proof.
- Professional Background Has the expert written any books? What professional background can credit repair professionals claim for you to put your trust in?
- Case Studies Don’t be afraid to ask for examples of past triumphs
- If miracles are promised walk out the door. Credit repair is a process. Those who claim you owe them have a right to respond to your dispute within 30 days. Disputing everything haphazardly doesn’t help in the long run. Think of credit repair like going to the gym to get in shape. Stick with it and good things will happen. Expecting overnight results is a recipe for failure.