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Unfortunately, there are people out there always trying to take advantage of anyone that they can. Whether it is a spam call, phishing email, or even a guy on the street trying to take your money, these scammers are everywhere. Credit repair scams are predicated on taking advantage of already desperate people. People who need their credit fixed in order to get a car or home loan will often look for anyone that can help. While there are a lot of legitimate places that can help, there are also hacks that will take your hard-earned money and not do a thing to help you out. We want to help you avoid these scams, so here are 7 ways to identify and avoid a credit repair scam.
1. Look at the documents you are given
If you are entering into a contract with a credit repair company and they do not give you a document called “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law,” then they are breaking the law. They may not be scamming you, but they are knowingly withholding the information that you have the legal right to carry out any actions on your own to repair your credit that they are also going to do. That is a red flag.
2. Read through the contract
Check to see if there is anything in the contract that stands out as unusual and feel free to ask them, search the internet, etc. about it. In addition, make sure how much you are paying and what actions they will perform on your behalf are spelled out in great detail in the contract. You want to be sure to have a legally binding document that ensures that you are actually getting what you pay for. In addition, make sure the contract is very specific and includes your name and the name of the company you are working with. Finally, ask to see if there is a clause that allows you at least 3 days to decide to cancel.
3. Request an unsigned copy beforehand
You should not have to sign the contract to review it first, so before you even decide to sign it, make sure that you have a copy that you can read through and keep. Then check for the information we have listed in the point above.
4. Look out for the fees
Credit repair agencies are not allowed to charge you any upfront fees by law. Some companies do because they are not aware of this law, but it is still a red flag that you should pay attention to. This combined with not getting a contract may be a very strong sign that you are about to get scammed. Usually, scammers will try to take your money and run with as little proof as possible, which is why upfront fees can be a sign that there is something amiss.
5. The company promises too much
We all want credit repair strategies to work, but there are just some things that credit repair agencies just cannot fix due to their nature. One of these is legitimate debt where the lender has plenty of evidence that the debt is valid. If a company promises to get you out of legitimate debts, they are either scamming you are doing something shady and illegal to get you results. Either way, if a company promises that you will see any type of results or score change, then it is a good idea to avoid them because you can be almost certain that they are breaking the law one way or another.
6. They ask you to create a new identity
As mentioned in the last point, some companies try to do illegal things in order to get you the result that you want. One of these is trying to claim identity theft and to get you to register for a new SSN or EIN. While these companies may not be scams, the results they get will be predicated on major felonies and should definitely be avoided like the plague. Do not give these companies your business and make sure to report them.
7. They ask you to waive your rights
If you are given a document to waive any of your rights, that is a major red flag. Credit repair does not require you to waive any of your rights. Luckily most of them, such as your rights under the CORA, cannot actually be waived, regardless of anything you sign. Usually, companies that engage in these practices will try to take your money and then pressure you and tell you that you have no recourse in getting your money back and they will never deliver any services.
Can you trust any credit repair companies?
Absolutely! While there are people in this world always trying to take advantage of you, there are also legitimate businesses that care about you as a person and as a customer. These companies will be transparent about their services, fees, and your rights throughout the entire process and will not try to pressure you with any aggressive sales tactics. The best agencies for credit repair will not engage in any of the red flags covered in this article, so if you do not see anything on this list in an agency that you are contracting, you can likely rest easy.
If you are interested in finding legitimate credit repair services, we recommend the Best Credit Repair Companies.