If there’s something on your credit report that you’d like to delete with the Mr. Clean magic eraser, the ads that you see and hear from those “credit repair” companies sound pretty good. They promise to legally change your credit report, bring up your score and give you a fresh start. Can it be true?
The bad news is that most credit repair firms are nothing more than thinly-veiled scams. If you see any of these red flags, walk away:
• The company asks for money before doing anything for you.
• They advise you not to be in contact with the three major credit reporting companies, Transunion, Equifax and Experian.
• They promise they are able change to anything on your credit report, even delinquencies that are recent and accurate.
• They advise you to create a brand new credit history by applying for an EIN to use in place of your social security number.
• They advise you to dispute information on your credit report, even if that information is accurate and current.
The obvious problem here is that money is wasted on a scam with nothing to show for it. But an even larger issue lies in the fact that misrepresenting your Social Security number, getting an EIN under false pretenses and including inaccurate information on a loan or credit application are all federal crimes. Doing any of these things, even if a legitimate-sounding organization advises you to do them, could lead to being charged and prosecuted for these serious crimes.
The good news is that any credit repair you’d like to do can be handled by you — and legally. An excellent article from the FTC shows how to dispute information that’s inaccurate or old and even includes a sample letter you can use. You’ll find the article at http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre13.shtm.
If you’re concerned about credit repair come in to the credit union, and we’ll help you figure it out and get started on the road to recovery. You will be surprised at how much you can do on your own with the only investment being your time. Don’t waste money you don’t already have; save it to pay down your own bills.Information by Sonya Wingfield, loan officer at Midland Credit Union, 2891 106th St., Urbandale, 515-278-1994.