There are plenty of scam artists out there, each promising you a deal that seems too good to be true. The following are just three of the many scams you should be aware of and avoid.
Debt relief scams
"Wipe out your debts and stop credit harassment."
Be cautious. There are no quick fixes. In most cases, you’ll be advised to declare bankruptcy, and that's something to consider only as a last resort. (The negative repercussions from bankruptcy will be with you for up to 7-10 years.)
Advance-fee loan scams
"Got credit problems? For an upfront fee, we can guarantee you'll get the loan you want."
Although many legitimate creditors require an advance application fee, they never guarantee a loan approval. If you come across a potential creditor that does, you're likely to be dangerously near a scammer.
These con artists often use "900" numbers (charges show up on your phone bill) and they use delivery methods other than the U.S. Postal Service to avoid detection.
Credit repair scams
"Erase your bad credit."
Some outfits will try to convince you that they can make bankruptcy, judgments, tax liens, and defaulted loans disappear from your credit report.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC.gov) warns consumers not to do business with any company that:
- Wants you to pay for credit repair before any services are provided.
- Suggests you invent a "new" credit report by applying for an Employer Identification Number.
- Recommends that you not contact a consumer reporting company directly.
- Doesn’t tell you your legal rights and what you can do yourself for free.