January 31, 2011 08:00 ET

Beware of Credit Repair Schemes Cautions

PHOENIX, AZ--(Marketwire - January 31, 2011) - Anyone emerging from the economic apocalypse knows their work is not yet over. A credit report can look like an atom bomb hit it. After the shock of financial trouble fades, the next step is rebuilding credit worthiness. Unfortunately, the vultures are gathering. A whole host of credit repair scammers are waiting to "help" these people out of their troubles, says Kristy Welsh of

She offers a list of credit repair danger signs:

1. Beware of any company which purports to have someone "on the inside" that will give your case special attention or someone who has the authorization to delete a listing. 

2. No company can convince a creditor to "wash your debt off the books." Run if you hear something like this in their advertisements. 

3. A company will tell you that you can get a new, clean credit file. Basically what they do is sign you up for a new Social Security or Tax ID. Not only is it illegal, but you essentially wind up with no credit -- and no credit is the same as bad credit.

4. A company who offers to clean your credit to get you a mortgage or credit card. This is a newer scam where a scammer uses the financial desperation of their victim to extract fees for promises of loans. The scammer often disappears as soon as they collect the cash.

5. Companies that require their fees up front. Under the Credit Repair Organizations Act, fees cannot be collected until all work is performed. In addition, the company must give you a sheet listing your rights under the Act, and a 3-day right to cancel with a full refund.

"Despite the fact that you can challenge items on your credit report on your own without the help of any company, some people are overwhelmed by the process or simply don't have the time," says Welsh. "There ARE 'good guy' credit repair agencies out there." 

Founded in 1997, is a free one-stop destination for consumers looking for free advice on repairing and rebuilding credit. Kristy Welsh is the author of Good Credit Is Sexy, a tongue-in-cheek guide to managing your credit.

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