Credit is important.  Your credit determines your purchasing power to buy items like a house, a car, a student loan.  Bad credit can limit your ability to get more credit.  Beware of credit repair services…they can be more expensive than legal.

Creditors look at your bill-paying history, whether you pay your bills on time, collections actions against you, your outstanding debt, how many accounts you have and what kind they are, and if you have applied for new credit lately.  They use this information to determine if you would be a good risk for repayment, or if you are a deadbeat.  Creditors want their money back, and they want to make interest on the loan.

A credit problem is a problem.  And it is your problem to fix.  Despite what a credit repair service claims it can do, no one can legally remove current, accurate negative information from your credit report.

You may have poor credit.  That does not mean you have to use poor judgment.  Here are some credit repair scam symptoms:

1. Up-front fees before services are rendered

2. Lack of information regarding your rights and what you can do for yourself for free

3. Recommendation of no direct contact with the three major national credit reporting companies

4. Assurance to get rid of accurate, current negative credit information from your credit record

5. Invent a ‘new’ credit identity using an Employer Identification number instead of your Social Security number.

Leave the criminals to criminal activity.  You do not have to risk federal prosecution by lying on a loan application or misrepresenting yourself to the IRS in a “credit repair” scam.

Instead of serving a federal sentence, your time is better spent improving your credit score on your own.  The basics are to pay your bills on time, pay down outstanding balances, and stay away from new debt.

For more tips on do-it-yourself credit repair (for free), visit the Federal Trade Commission website at www.ftc.gov.

Be a credit to yourself.