Identity Theft Scams Exposed Part II

    June 15, 2003

“Erase Bad Debt !” “Remove Negative Items From Your Report”

You’ve probably seen these headlines and others just like it promising to clean up or “fix” bad credit. For someone who suffers from a bad or poor credit rating, offers like these are certainly appealing.

Imagine finally being able to buy that new car, get debt collectors off your back, and enjoy a new found freedom from your past debts.

Be careful ! While there are legitimate offers and companies who can help people with their credit problems, there are also any number of scam artists and identity thieves who operate the “credit repair scam” and will actually create more problems for you rather than helping to solve them.

Once you fall prey to the credit repair offer and pay the hefty fees involved to clean up your record, here’s what happens –

1) The credit repair scam artist contacts the credit bureaus and reports that the negative information in your file is false.

2) The credit bureau removes this negative information from your report while they investigate the claim.

3) The scam artist will then show you the cleaned up version of your credit report and “ta-da” your credit history has been fixed !

But here’s what the scammer doesn’t tell or show you. After the credit bureau completes their investigation the negative information is placed back on your credit report. Your credit profile is just the same as it was before you paid a hefty fee to have it “fixed”.

Negative but accurate information cannot be removed from your credit profile. Only incorrect information can be removed.

Accurate information remains on your credit file for a period of 7 years from the time it is reported to the credit agencies; a bankruptcy appears for a 10 year period.

Many legitimate companies exist that can help you with your debt problems. But how do you spot a scam offer ? Easy, they’ll ask you for their fees up front. This is your first tip-off to a possible scam.

By law, credit repair agencies cannot ask for payment until they’ve provided the service they promised. Be cautious of any company or person requesting you to pay the fees upfront.

Additionally many states require that a credit repair service, whether they are for-profit or not-for-profit, must provide you with a detailed written contract, an explanation of your legal rights, and the opportunity to cancel any signed contract within 3 days. The scam artist will not offer this type of documentation.

Also, be aware that a “credit repair offer” could be an attempt to steal your identity by getting you to provide personal information such as a Social Security number, bank account and credit card account numbers.

These are the basic items that an identity thief needs in order to impersonate you, steal your identity, and ruin your good credit. The average total fraudulent charges made on new accounts opened by an identity thief is $18,000.

TIP: Always make sure you know who you are dealing with before accepting any offer to help you repair your credit. Otherwise, you may be in for more trouble than any “fix” is worth.

James is editor of “TO YOUR CREDIT”, a free
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