Avoiding credit repair scams

by Brandon Richards

LAKE CHARLES, LA (KPLC) - Each year, hundreds of thousands of Americans find themselves in financial ruin and many often turn to third parties, like credit repair organizations, for help.

But according to the Lake Charles Better Business Bureau, many people are falling for credit repair scams from the very companies and organizations that promised to help them.

"Most of these companies are not local, the consumers are," Carmen Million, President of the Lake Charles Better Business Bureau said. "They are contacted either by phone or they may have visited a website that had information that sounded too good to be true. Consumers then put up money and realize the information on their credit report has not been removed."

Credit repair scams do not come as a surprise to Lake Charles bankruptcy attorney Gerald Casey. Many of his clients have experienced credit repair scams.

"People come in and say 'I tried so and so debt counseling service and I've sent them three or four thousand dollars and so now they're sitting there still having to consider bankruptcy but are now out two or three thousand dollars," Casey said.

The following are tips from the Federal Trade Commission to help recognize bad credit repair organizations to avoid being scammed.

- Organizations or companies that require you to pay for their services before they even begin working on repairing your credit

- Organizations or companies that advise you AGAINST contacting any of the three national credit reporting companies

- Organizations or companies that suggest you invent a "new" credit identity, complete with a new social security number. An individual can only have one social security number.

- Organizations or companies that advise you to dispute ALL the information on your credit report, even the information that is accurate

Consumer Counseling Services is reccommended for people facing serious credit problems. They do not promise to repair your credit, but they will meet with you and help you set up payment plans with lenders.

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