If you've been having a little bit of credit trouble in your life, you've probably thought more than once about the benefits that putting yourself and your finances through a stringent credit repair regime will do. However, you may also know that committing to such a path takes lots of commitment and diligence, and you'll need to be ready for anything that might come along to throw your efforts for a loop.
Included in those potentially troubling speed bumps you could possibly run into is that while there are many very reputable credit repair law firms and companies in operation across the country, and helping people to more ably deal with their financial and credit problems. But on the flip side of that is the fact that there are many people who are just as eager to hurt consumers who may already be vulnerable, just as there are organizations that are looking to help.
This unfortunate reality is something you'll have to keep in mind when you are looking to go through the credit fix process, and luckily there are usually a number of telltale signs that you might be dealing with a scam artist rather than a legitimate credit repair law firm.
1. You're not given proper documentation
One thing most scammers will be counting on is that people with credit troubles are not aware of their rights under the law, which includes their ability to receive a printed summary of those rights. These would explain, among other things, that you are entitled to a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit bureaus once per year (and sometimes more often than that, depending on the state you live in), and that you are able to dispute any information you think is inaccurate with any of those credit reporting companies.
In addition, if you don't get a copy of the contract you're supposed to sign when entering into the credit repair process prior to the point at which you have to sign it — meaning that you won't have time to review it — then this too is likely a sign that the entity you're dealing with is less than reputable.
2. Very few details
Legitimate credit repair law firms and other such companies will also be able to tell you exactly what they're able to do for you as you go through the process, approximately when these actions will be taken, and how much the service will cost. In addition, if you're not given plenty of contact information, including the name, physical address, phone number, email address, website and more, you should approach with caution, and do plenty of research into all the information you receive to make sure that it's for real.
3. Up-front payment demands
One of the biggest things that scam artists posing as credit repair companies will do is ask people just like you who have had difficulties with their accounts and may consequently be desperate for help to pay money before any services are rendered on their behalf. This is something that no real credit repair firm would ever do, and often those who turn over money to someone they think they can trust will find that no repairs are done at all. The end result of most of these incidents is that the consumers who are already dealing with very real financial problems have now been ripped off for an additional few hundred dollars.
4. It seems too good to be true
If you're entering into the credit repair process for the first time, there can be a lot of confusing jargon thrown your way by crooks and legitimate companies alike, and being able to determine what's being said to you and what promises are reasonable. If you're being told that all negative information can be stricken from your credit reports, even if it's accurate, that's usually a pretty good sign that someone might be trying to rip you off. Real credit repair law firms would never make such a promise, because accurate details cannot be wiped from your borrowing history no matter how damaging they are. Therefore if you hear such a pledge, you should certainly beware of getting involved.
Finally, before you take any steps to work with a credit repair law firm, you should try to determine exactly where you stand first. One of the best ways to do so is to order copies of your credit reports and check them over to ensure there are none of these unfair markings dragging down your scores. If you discover any, that might be an ideal situation under which to seek out a reputable credit repair law firm, which may be able to help you put the problematic entries to rights as soon as possible.