Worst: Credit Repair Services
It’s tempting to simply pay a company to “do the work for you,” but all credit repair services (that includes law firms) have two dirty little secrets they don’t want you to know.
First, because they charge monthly for their service, they make more money–up to $2,000– if they deliberately drag out the process, which is why they often take two or three years.
Second, you actually wind up doing MORE work than if you did it yourself. In addition to dozens of forms, the credit repair service requires YOU to personally choose which items to dispute, how to dispute them, and you have to constantly send them information that the credit bureaus send you.
Better: Follow Instructions From The Credit Bureaus.
This is like the wolf instructing the sheep. The credit bureaus are NOT your friends. This approach costs nothing, but you get what you pay for. Don’t do it.
Better Still: Do-It-Yourself Programs (Typically A Printed Book, An E-Book, Or An Audio Program).
There are hundreds of these programs available, but they’re out of date. If you are very organized and have lots of free time available, the process these books describe will work fairly well. . . eventually.
Best: Credit Repair Software
There are several companies that offer credit repair software (not just an e-book). Although some are rip-offs (clue: unprofessional-looking websites), many credit repair software products combine the best of all worlds: simplicity, low price, and fast results.
Better quality credit software ranges from $97 to $1,000 or more, but there’s no reason to spend the higher amounts. Look for satisfaction guarantees and a professional-looking website. Credit Repair Magic
Identity Theft: Six Steps Every Victim MUST Follow
Cleaning up the mess left by identity theft is time consuming, stressful, and expensive. Some people actually give up and just pay off the fraudulent charges of identity theft because it’s the only way that they can improve their credit rating. Here are the steps you need to follow if you believe that you are a victim of identity theft:
Step 1: Contact the Three Major Credit Bureaus.
Contact the fraud departments at each bureau. Explain that you are a victim of identity theft and that you would like to be contacted personally before any credit is issued in your name.
Equifax (800) 525-6285
Experian (888) 397-3742
TransUnion (800) 680-7289
Insist that they place the account under investigation for identity theft if it is to remain on your credit report.
Step 2: Order Your Credit Report.
Order your credit reports to check for accounts that may have been fraudulently opened in your name. As the victim of identity theft, you are entitled to a free copy of your report from each credit bureau.
Step 3: File a Police Report
Companies who have issued credit in your name will not take you seriously without a police report, which will protect your legal rights.
Step 4: Contact Your Local Post Office
If you were a victim of identity theft due to someone stealing your mail to obtain your information, officially report this fact to your local postmaster.
Step 5: Contact the Social Security Administration and Department of Motor Vehicles
If the thief is using your social security or driver’s license number to commit identity theft, you might need to obtain new numbers from these agencies.
Step 6: Contact All The Companies Who Granted Credit to the Identity Thief Credit Repair Magic
Communicating by telephone does not protect your rights. Send certified letters and insist that they communicate with you in writing.
Credit Repair Law Firms are Scams
There are hundreds of law firms out there that specialize in credit repair. I may get sued for writing this, but it’s my opinion that credit repair law firms like Lexington Law are scams. Here’s why:
Problem #1: Ridiculous Monthly Charges
Lexington currently charges a $99 setup fee and anywhere from $39 to $79 every month that they work on your file. Since they charge monthly, the longer they take to repair your credit, the more money they make. In fact, some credit law firms tell you that it could take a year, two years, or even three years ($567 to $2,000), which is why they’re getting very rich.
Why pay $2,000 or even $500, when there are excellent credit repair programs available for less than $100?
Problem #2: You Do Most of the Work
Here’s a dirty little secret that credit law firms don’t want you to know: you still have to do most of the work yourself–more work, in fact, than when you use credit repair software (more about that later).
In addition to all the paperwork you have to fill out and get notarized, you must request your own credit reports. Since the credit bureaus mail all documents to you, you will be constantly copying them, putting them into another envelope, and sending them to the law firm. You might have to do this five or six times every week.
The credit repair law firm will then scan your credit reports and post them on the web (security issues?) Then, believe it or not, even with all the money you’re paying to the law firm, you still have to go to their website and choose for yourself which items you want to dispute and even how to challenge each negative credit item.
All the law firm does is print out form letters that they send to the credit bureaus. Doesn’t it make you a little uncomfortable knowing that the longer they take, the more money they make?
Problem #3: Crappy Guarantee
All they have to do is remove one credit card inquiry and they consider that they’ve done their job, so there’s no money back even if 99% of your credit report is still negative after three years and $2,000. Credit Repair Magic
As you can see, these law firms are often nothing more than letter-printing factories that make more money the longer they take. So why pay so much money to get such little service? Especially since it’s possible to accomplish the same goal with much less work at a fraction of the cost.