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BBB Tip of the Week: Credit repair

 If your credit is less than perfect, you’re not alone. Many companies today promise credit repair. But can you trust them?

 The Federal Trade Commission recently mailed about 800 checks to consumers who were allegedly charged an illegal advance fee for a CD-ROM with information about credit reporting and instructions that supposedly taught you how to repair your credit.

 According to the FTC, third-party debt collector Luebke Baker & Associates marketed a credit repair CD titled “Credit Solutions,” allegedly collecting an up-front fee before providing any goods or services.

 If you were charged an advance fee for the Credit Solutions CD, you can call the redress administrator hired by the FTC: BMC Group, toll free at (866) 332-8795. Remember, the FTC never requires consumers to pay money or provide information before redress checks can be cashed.

Credit repair tips:

• When negative information in your report is accurate, only the passage of time can remove it.

• Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, credit repair companies cannot require you to pay until they have completed the credit repair services they promised.

• The law allows you to ask for an investigation of information in your file that you dispute as inaccurate or incomplete. This investigation doesn’t cost any money.

• Any credit repair company that claims to be able to legally remove accurate and timely information from your credit report is lying.

• It would be illegal to apply for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number so you can invent a “new” credit identity – and then, a new credit report.

• For consumer information about credit repair, see Money Matters: Credit Repair. For consumer information about dealing with debt collectors, see Debt Collection FAQs: A Guide for Consumers.

More info or report scams: SCAMS: Visit the BBB website at Call (509)455-4200 or (800) 356-1007.

Holly Doering, BBB editor