The Ripoff Alert is a new series appearing once each week on Fridays. It alerts you to the latest scams and ripoffs trying to get between you and your money, and gives you information you need to stay safe.
It seems like every time I watch late night TV, the ads for these outfits appear in droves.
You’ve heard the pitch: In exchange for a fee, they promise to remove the black marks from your credit report.
There are several variations: “We can raise your score 200 points in just weeks!” or “We can settle your credit card debt for pennies on the dollar!” There’s also the one about reducing the amount you owe to the IRS.
There are hundreds of organizations making promises like this, but they all have one thing in common: They’re just trying to rip you off.
The Federal Trade Commission is actively trying to shut down these criminals. But their efforts are mostly in vain because as soon as one is taken down another one pops up to replace it.
The truth is, repairing your credit takes time. Not weeks, but months and often years depending on what you have going on.
Don’t be fooled by these scam artists who try to get you to believe your credit can be repaired in the snap of a finger.
Here are three things you can do yourself to raise your credit score:
1. Pay every bill on time (35% of your score)
2. Don’t use more than 30% of your available credit (30% of your score)
3. Keep accounts open after you’ve paid them off (15% of your score)
Consistently doing these things will start improving your score in as little as 6 months.
Bonus tip: Use Credit Karma to watch your progress and monitor your credit score as often as once a day.