How to spot credit repair scams
Credit repair scams are a big problem these days. Unscrupulous predators actively target unsuspecting consumers, especially people who are vulnerable, under financial stress and/or need help repairing their credit. By dangling attractive lures, scammers make believable presentations. Don’t become a victim! Here’s what you need to know to avoid getting snared into the predator’s trap.
Identify red flags
Exploiters who engage in credit repair scams to take your money can be very convincing. However, they usually put out some red flags you can identify. When dealing with an agent or company, be suspicious of anyone who:
-Insists you pay upfront before any work is done.
-Advises you not to directly contact credit reporting companies.
-Directs you to give fake data on your credit or loan applications.
-Counsels you to dispute accurate information on your credit report.
According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, you should also be wary of companies promising you a “new credit identity.” This is a huge red flag! The scammer tells you they’ll hide your bad credit history behind a new ID number. The fraudster will refer to your new ID as a “CPN,” aka credit profile number or credit privacy number. This is not legitimate. Ultimately, you could be unknowingly dragged into committing identity theft fraud because the CPN could be someone else’s Social Security number. No one can legally hide your bad credit. There is a law against this called the Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA).
Tradelines are legitimate
Through a process called tradelines, also known as piggybacking, you can legitimately raise your credit score. Basically, how tradelines work is similar to people adding family members to their own credit lines, except you’re added as an authorized user to the account of someone you don’t know; someone with a seasoned, high-limit, low-balance credit card, which helps increase your credit score. Companies such as BoostMyScore use this method to help you improve your credit rating.
How to protect yourself from credit repair scammers
Always be vigilant against identify scammers. They will prey when you’re at your most vulnerable and more likely to fall for their schemes. A legitimate company can help you repair your credit; however, a bad one can do more harm. Other things you can to do to protect yourself include:
-Monitor your credit report carefully.
-Don’t ever trust robocallers.
-Hire reputable companies with a proven record. Do online research by entering the company name into a search engine, paired with the words “scam,” “complaint” or “review.”
-Never give out your personally identifiable information in email or text, or to unsolicited callers who say they can repair your credit.
-Talk to a trusted family member or friend before hiring any credit repair company so you can avoid making decisions based on emotion.
-Additionally, be careful not to confuse similar names as unlawful companies often pick names and websites to mimic ones belonging to reputable and credible companies.
Safeguard yourself and always be on the lookout for credit repair scammers. Remember, if a deal sounds too good to be true, it probably is. While there are some unscrupulous credit repair companies, there are good ones too. Here at BoostMyScore, we’ve been helping people repair their creditfor more than 10 years using the legitimate piggybacking method. Want to learn more? We’re always happy to explain the process in greater detail.