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Protecting Your Credit

Your credit score and overall report are a big deal. Your score can impact your auto insurance rates, rental and loan applications, as well as employment opportunities. With so much riding on that credit score, it’s easy to understand why many Americans turn to credit repair companies to help boost their overall credit, but not all companies are looking out for your best interests. Here’s how to avoid credit report scams, along with some free resources to help you improve your credit.

What are Credit Report Scams?

For those just starting out, or trying to rebuild their credit, credit repair companies seem like a great option. But when something sounds too good to be true, it usually is. Offers to boost your credit overnight or delete bad credit history in less than a month are scams designed to steal your personal information and money. Here’s how to spot those rip-offs.

They require up-front fees.

Under the federal Credit Repair Organizations Act, a credit repair company gets paid when they’re done working on your credit. By law, they cannot require or even request up-front payments to work on your credit.

They promise to remove negative information.

Removing accurate information from a credit report isn’t possible — even if it looks bad. However, you can dispute inaccurate information, accurate information that appears multiple times on the same report, or any details that happened as a result of identity theft. The good news is you can do this yourself without spending a dime. Simply contact both the reporting agency and the company that reported the information to the agency.

They avoid explaining your legal rights.

Less-than-legitimate companies will not explain what you can do yourself for free. They might also urge you to avoid contacting any of the reporting agencies. That’s because they know you have access to the same tools they use to boost or repair your credit for free.

Finding a Reputable Credit Professional

There are legitimate credit professionals out there who want to help. A reputable credit agency will send you free information about their services, what they provide, and your rights as a consumer. To verify a company, contact the Montana State Attorney’s Office.

Clearwater Credit Union is Here for You

We’re here to help you access, build, and safeguard your credit. That includes Clearwater’s free financial counselors. Contact them today and learn how to improve your financial life.