If you're thinking about applying for a loan or a credit card in the future, you may want to check your credit report and credit score. And if you have a few black marks, there are credit repair companies that can help you boost your score and fix any negative marks. To make sure you choose a reputable credit repair company, watch out for these warning signs:
"Your credit will be repaired in one week!" "It takes just three days to improve your credit score by 100 points!" Promises like this are just scam artists trying to get your business so they can take your money and run. In general, it'll take a legitimate credit repair company at least a month to make any changes to your credit report. That's because they usually have to contact the creditor and the credit reporting agency--and paperwork takes time. In fact, chances are you won't see a major difference in your credit score for about two or three months.
A New Identity
"We'll get you a new social security number." "Your old credit history will be erased." These types of scam artists plan to get you an Employee Identification Number (EIN). An EIN resembles a social security number, but it's used by businesses to report financial information. Applying for an EIN and using it as your personal social security number is illegal, but these scam credit repair companies will encourage you to do it to "wipe the slate clean." Be wary of anyone who says they'll get you a new identity or new social security number.
"We need a $50 deposit before we review your paperwork." "Our initial consultation fee is $100." Some scammers simply charge you money at the very beginning--before they even look at your paperwork--and then you never hear from them again. Never pay anyone a dime until they've at least reviewed your situation--credit history, current employment and income, etc.--and given you an estimate of your costs.
Although you do need to be wary of scammers when looking for a credit repair company, there are many reputable businesses that can help you fix your credit history. However, before choosing a company, make sure you check them out with the Better Business Bureau and any local or state associations.