Few things in life provoke more anxiety than financial precarity. Often, in a bid to close gaps and meet basic needs, individuals turn to credit to cover urgent costs, counting the ability to forge a lasting solution when time permits. Clawing one’s way back up this slippery slope is hard, however. Rarely does a person make it to the top.
If you’ve been there, you know that desperate financial measures all too often come at the expense of your credit score. When this happens, the slippery slope described above canters off into a precipice. Suddenly, you’re at the edge of ruin.
Enter Credit Repair Scams
Unscrupulous credit repair companies prey on the sort of panic brought on by economic anxiety. They’ll make promises too good to be true and folks who are worn thin by worry will often buy in, wasting their precious remaining resources and time. Don’t be fooled.
Five Signs You’re Being Scammed
1. The company fails to offer a copy of the “Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law.” This document informs you of your right to obtain a credit report and dispute inaccurate credit report information. By law, all credit repair companies are required to let you know of your ability to perform such services on your own.
2. The company requests up-front payment. While some otherwise honest companies may be unaware that law prohibits such action, it’s not on you to inform them of their duties. A company charging fees upfront is a company that has failed to perform their due diligence.
3. The company promises to remove information you know to be true from your report. Once again, this information legally belongs on your report. Should you be asked to claim identity theft of engage in other shady activities, you know you are dealing with a scammer.
4. No contract is presented before signing action is requested. This one applies to life generally: never pay for services before you know what you are signing up for.
5. The contract presented does not include the following:
- A specific timeline informing you of the date by which services will be performed.
- A breakdown of the services for which you are paying.
- The amount you will be charged.
- A business name and address.
- A statement informing you of your right to cancel the contract within 3 days.
Not All Credit Repair Companies Are Bad
Credit repair companies are governed by a law known as the Credit Repair Organizations Act. By federal law, any credit repair service must fulfill certain obligations. Review this act and ensure the company you hope to work with abides by the rules therein. Some do but, as a general rule, you should approach such organizations with skepticism.
Use an Estate Plan to Protect Against Creditors
A robust estate plan drafted in collaboration with a qualified attorney will allow you to protect many of your assets from creditors. Once you have begun to slip down the slope of tattered credit, the loss of those things you have worked your whole life to attain becomes a gnawing fear. While rebuilding your credit is essential to gaining financial security, it is not the only means of safekeeping your assets. Booking a consultation with an estate planning attorney who can inform you of the options best-suited to your individual circumstances is an excellent first step.
Contact Attorney James M. Miskell
If you are concerned about credit repair scams—or just the thought of your hard-earned assets falling into a creditor’s hands instead of going to family or loved ones—contact estate planning attorney James M. Miskell. The Estate Planning Law Group of Georgia is here to help you gain peace of mind knowing that your assets are protected, no matter what happens in the future.