Things to Consider When Trying to Improve Your Credit Rating

Things to Consider When Improving Your Credit ScoreWe all want the best credit rating we can get. If yours is not perfect, definitely work to improve it. However, please realize that many illegal and shady ways to restore your credit exist, and none are worth risking it all for. For the most part, most companies with guaranteed credit repair are scams.

It is easy to get your hopes up when street signs and the Internet advertise these scams everywhere. Sadly, there is usually no quick, foolproof, or guaranteed way to boost your credit as quickly as these companies claim. Often they are just making money off you by charging you thousands up front and with empty promises, then making it impossible to get your money back. The practice of paying up front, without benefit, is itself illegal due to the Credit Repair Organization Act. This Act also requires these types of companies to divulge certain things–such as how you can get a credit report on your own and how to dispute information on it by yourself. The Credit Repair Organization Act has already decreased the presence of many companies that were improperly conducting business, but there are many still out there.

How do you avoid falling victim to fraud or incorrect advice? First off, make sure you only heed advice for restoring credit given by licensed professionals who have your best interests in mind. Some examples might include banks or other lenders, financial planners, attorneys, or reputable credit counselors that are recommended by a trusted professional. Even some credit counseling services are not respected or reputable, so be sure you check them out– with agencies like the Better Business Bureau or via an attorney. The FTC has a page on their website devoted the subject of credit repair where you can find other useful information and ways to avoid scams.

Something the FTC and other reputable professionals advise as the first step to improving your credit is getting regular copies of your credit report to check for fraudulent activity or incorrect information. You are able to get one free report from each agency once a year. The details, straight from the FTC, are here. Be sure you go to their recommended site, rather than one designed to steal your private information or one that tries to sell you other services that you might not need. Some consumers report sites are out there selling credit monitoring that is outrageously expensive and/or undesired by the consumer purchasing them.

Once you receive your credit report, go over each entry to be sure you think it is valid. Check over the accounts one by one to make sure that you actually opened them and that they reflect accurate balance information and payment history. Make sure accounts that you have closed are marked as closed, etc. If you find something on the report that you want to dispute, there are specific procedures you can follow by yourself. Once again, the FTC has a very detailed page about how to dispute, why to dispute, and more. They also provide a sample dispute letter that you can use to contact the creditors.

SmithLaw recognizes that everyone’s situation is different. Massive amount of foreclosures and job loss in today’s society caused credit troubles for many Americans who never thought they would face this situation. Some consumers have credit that can be easily fixed by the simple passage of time and improved habits. But others are facing insurmountable odds that require debt mitigation or bankruptcy. Do not go it alone if you feel you need help, just make sure you find reputable sources to help you.

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