Archive for October, 2008

Repair your free credit report for FREE.

Sunday, October 26th, 2008

With all the credit repair companies getting in trouble with the FTC, you might wonder why? The main reason is most credit repair companies sell a service they cannot deliver. The reason is you cannot delete an item on your credit report that is a valid debt you owe. Credit repair companies claim they can delete bankruptcies, foreclosures, late payments and charges off by flooding the bureaus with dispute letters. Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act the credit bureaus have 30 days once they have received a dispute to respond. If they don’t respond within the 30 day window it is suppose to be removed from your credit report. Let’s face it; the creditor that you owe will still report to the credit bureaus that you owe them money. So the collection will eventually show back up if this loop hole takes place. I would not be surprised if this loop hole eventually gets changed, because it causes unnecessary work for the credit bureaus, especially if it’s a frivolous dispute Now that I have got that out of the way, here is the steps to repair your own credit report without paying someone for a task you can do for FREE yourself.

1. Get free copy of your credit report.
There are several options here, you can go to and get your free credit report with no credit scores. Also you get this credit report only once year for free with no credit scores. I always suggest getting your credit report with your score for each credit bureau. The reason is you need to be educated about where your credit scores currently stand. To get your credit scores you can go to a number of credit report sites that offer your credit scores on a free trial. Make sure you get all 3 credit scores with your credit report.

2. Review your credit report for collections and inaccurate information.
It is very common to have many mistakes on your credit report that will affect you overall credit score. So review your credit report and notate any incorrect information being reported. Typically most collections will report for 7 years from the collection date. Also review the actual collections that you owe. Write down the amount you owe along with getting the creditors name and number. The name and number will be on the credit report so you can start calling these creditors to make arrangements to settle on the debts you owe. If you thought disputing stuff you owe was a good practice you are wrong. You are wasting your time disputing stuff you actually owe.

3. Negotiate your collection balances
Everyone is selling the easy way to do things when there really is no easy way to repair your credit report. Once the damage is done you have to get a little dirty to fix your credit issues. The first step is to find all the collections you can take care of with in your budget. Determine how much money you have to either arrange payment arrangements or to settle on an account. I recommend settling on the accounts you owe for pennies on the dollar., For instance if you owe $300 dollars offer them $150, you will be surprised what these collection companies will settle for. While you are calling these creditors be sure to ask for a letter to delete the collection from each credit bureau. This applies to whether you paid your account in full or settled. Typically the creditors will not give you a letter to delete, but it does not hurt to pressure them for this letter. Normally they will mail you a letter either saying you settled on the account or you paid it in full. Regardless of what takes place make sure you get some sort of letter for your records. Once these updates start taking place with the credit bureaus your credit scores will increase. The reason for this is the balance owed now is $0. This has the tendency to increase your scores. Most will argue that this process does not help and they are dead wrong. Your credit scores will increase as your creditors report these accounts with zero balances owed
4. Dispute inaccurate information
It is very common to have inaccurate information reporting to your credit report. This can affect your credit scores and your financial life. Comb your credit report for information that is incorrect. Once you have determined what you are absolutely sure is wrong dispute it with the credit bureaus. Example, if the collection is reporting to one credit bureau and is over seven years old, then disputes that collection with that credit bureau. There are two ways to dispute an item on your credit report.
a. Dispute on line here
b. Dispute with a dispute letter select this link.
After you have disputed all inaccurate information and re-establish credit go to step 6.

5. Re-establish credit
If all your good credit went to collection and you have no good credit reporting to the credit bureaus you have to re-establish good credit. The quickest process is to get a couple of secured credit cards. I would recommend a couple secured cards. Most secured credit card companies usually require around $200 to $300 dollars put into a account of there choice. This process will secure credit in your name. Once you do this the secured credit card will report to all 3 credit bureaus. This process immediately starts the credit score rebuilding process. With good payment history you will start getting new credit card offers in the mail. Remember to make your payments on-time and to pay off the card as quick as possible. You don’t want to keep high credit card balances even though its your money that secured the card. I know this sounds strange but its the quickest way to re-establising good credit history.

6. Re-Pull your credit report
Once you have paid or settled on most of your collections re-pull your credit report. Make sure the creditors have reported to the bureaus what has been done. If they have not call the creditors back and ask them why they have not updated with the credit bureaus. Also make sure each creditor or Collection Company you settle with sends you a letter stating what you have done. Usually after you have paid or settled on your accounts your credit report should be updated to bureaus by the collections company within 60 days maximum.

By paying off your collections and re-establishing your credit, your credit will increase a lot quicker than the desperate person depending on a credit repair company.

FTC Targets 33 credit repair companies.

Thursday, October 23rd, 2008

I thought this was good information about credit repair companies selling something that they cannot deliver. Like I have wrote before credit repair companies prey on the desperate and with our current economic situation there are lots of desperate people. Don’t let someone steal your money.

Read below what the FTC is saying and doing about credit repair companies.

The Federal Trade Commission and 24 state agencies today announced a crackdown on 33 operations that deceptively claim they can remove negative information from consumers’ credit reports, even if that information is accurate and timely. In the seven FTC actions announced today the Commission seeks to halt the defendants’ allegedly unlawful business practices, prohibit further violations, and make them pay consumer redress and give up their ill-gotten gains. In addition, the FTC announced three related credit repair cases earlier this year.

‘Companies that promise they are able to scrub your credit reports of accurate, negative information for a fee are lying – plain and simple,’ said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. ‘Under federal law, accurate, negative information can be reported for up to seven years, and some bankruptcies can be reported for up to 10 years.’

In response to thousands of complaints from consumers throughout the nation, the FTC launched ‘Operation Clean Sweep’ with 24 state agencies in 22 states. In the cases announced today, the Commission charged seven operations with violating the FTC Act and the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) by making false and misleading statements, such as claiming they can substantially improve consumers’ credit reports by removing accurate, negative information from their credit reports. The agency also alleged that the defendants violated the CROA by charging an advance fee for credit repair services. The 26 state actions include alleged violations of state laws and the CROA.

According to complaints filed by the FTC:

Nationwide Credit Services, Inc. and James R. Dooley, based in Florida, advertise their credit repair services on and in the Yellow Pages, stating, for example, that bankruptcies, judgments, slow pay history, repossessions, and collection accounts ‘CAN BE LEGALLY ERASED!’ The defendants charge from $300 to $1,000, including an advance fee ranging from $75 to $150, and a monthly fee that they often debit from consumers’ bank accounts. After paying the fees, consumers find that the defendants rarely, if ever, deliver the promised results. In many instances, they take consumers’ money without providing any services. Consumers often find their cancellation requests ignored, and their refund requests are almost always denied.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Clean Credit Report Services, Inc., Ricardo A. Miranda, Daniel R. Miranda, and Ruthy Villabona, based in Florida, advertise on radio, television, and, which has testimonials, such as one purportedly from an Atlanta woman, stating, ‘. . . When I lost my job and simply didn’t pay my credit cards and when I needed to get my car loan they said I needed at least a 600 credit score but I had a 480. I got into the CCRS club and did what they told me to do . . . When I pulled my report online I realized that I had a 621. I couldn’t believe this really works.’ Consumers who responded to the defendants’ ads on syndicated radio talk shows were told that the defendants would help remove all the negative remarks that appear on their credit, and that even current debt could be removed.

Once consumers pay $400 in advance for services, the defendants often debit the money from their bank accounts before receiving a signed contract, and then do little, if anything, to fulfill their promises. When consumers reach them to complain, they’re told a variety of excuses, and those who persist are sometimes hung up on, put on hold, or ignored.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida, Miami Division. The FTC thanks the Better Business Bureau of Southeast Florida for its invaluable assistance.

Successful Credit Service Corporation, also doing business as Success Credit Services, and Tracy Ballard, also known as Tracy Ballard-Straughn, based in California, promote their credit repair services primarily through appearances at seminars offering real estate investment or other business opportunities. They also promote themselves via audio podcasts on third-party Web sites and through their Web sites, and They claim to have special relationships ‘with every creditor, collection company, public records provider and credit bureaus,’ and that because of this, they can perform ‘hard’ or permanent deletions of all kinds of derogatory information from consumer’s credit reports. Consumers typically must pay advance fees ranging from $3,000 to $4,000 per person.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division. The FTC thanks the California Attorney General’s office for its invaluable assistance.

Advantage Credit Repair LLC and Mark D. Solomon, based in Illinois, advertise on and Yellow Pages ads, stating, ‘We would never charge a large fee up front, or make you wait a long period of time to refund your money if we do not get results. You WILL see results in 60 days, or your money will be refunded in full . . .’ The defendants charge $495 per person and $665 for a couple, and they require $219 or $269, respectively, in advance. Refund requests are almost always denied.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois, Eastern Division

RCA Credit Services, LLC, Rick Lee Crosby, Jr., and Brady Wellington, based in Florida, advertise on and Their ads state, ‘Boost Your Credit Score Into The 700s’ in as little as 30 days’ and claim that RCA can remove ‘ANY or ALL Negative Accounts From Your Credit Report.’ They state that a credit expert will ‘coach you on ways to remove negative remarks and unpaid debts from your credit report while adding new positive reporting accounts to your credit file.’ The defendants charge from $500 to more than $3,000, and they require at least partial payment in advance of providing any services. In many instances, the defendants allegedly provided consumers no services at all.

These defendants are also charged with violating the CROA by failing to provide, before contracts are signed, a written statement of ‘Consumer Credit File Rights Under State and Federal Law;’ failing to include in their consumer contracts conspicuous statements about consumers’ right to cancel without penalty or obligation within three business days; and failing to provide a written ‘Notice of Cancellation’ form.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

Latrese & Kevin Enterprises, Inc., also d/b/a Hargrave & Associates Financial Solutions, Latrese Hargrave, also known as Latrese V. Williams, and Kevin Hargrave, Sr., based in Florida, advertise on and, and on radio stations with rhythm & blues, hip-hop, and gospel formats. They charge $250 to $270 per person and $450 per couple, half or all of which they require in advance. In a radio script, the defendants state, ‘They specialize in erasing bad credit! Hargrave & Associates covers all three major credit bureaus, slow pays, charge-offs, repossessions can be erased for two-hundred, fifty dollars.’

Also, on and in radio ads, the defendants offer an advance-fee credit card, for $100 to $300, claiming that applicants will be approved for a guaranteed credit limit ranging from $500 to $10,000. These defendants are also charged with violating the Telemarketing Sales Rule by requesting or receiving a fee in advance of consumers obtaining a credit card when the defendants have guaranteed or represented a high likelihood of success in obtaining or arranging for the acquisition of a credit card. In addition, they are charged with violating the FTC Act by falsely representing that consumers will receive a credit card after paying a fee.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida.

ACE Group, Inc., also d/b/a as American Credit Experts, Inc., The Ace Group, Inc., The Ace Group, and ACE; Legal Credit Repair Center, Inc., also d/b/a LCRC, Michael Singer, Melvin Kessler, and Gerald Roth, based in Florida, advertise on,,,, and pop-up Internet ads. One ad states, ‘ . . . ACE has developed a methodology which starts to show results in as little as 60 days.’ In telephone calls responding to the ads, FTC investigators posing as consumers were told, ‘. . . everything surrounding your bankruptcy will be removed from your credit report . . .’ and late payments ‘are easy to remove.’

The defendants typically charge $39.95 to $59.95 initially, then $59.95 per month for their promised services, which they indicate may take up to six to eight months. They send the major credit reporting agencies repeated dispute letters on consumers’ behalf, with vague statements about each disputed debt or bankruptcy record, but with no further explanation or documentation. The defendants dispute items repeatedly, even after the credit bureaus have verified them.

The Commission vote to authorize staff to file the complaint was 4-0. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida.

Operation Clean Sweep also includes three FTC cases announced earlier this year: Home Buyers Consulting Network, Inc., Payneless Credit Repair, LLC, and Lee Harrison Credit Restoration (see press releases dated May 22, July 17, and September 10).

State law enforcement efforts involved the attorney general offices in Arkansas, California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Maine, Mississippi, Missouri, New Jersey, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, and West Virginia; the justice departments of North Carolina, Oregon, and Wisconsin; Idaho’s Department of Finance; Louisiana’s Office of Financial Institutions; Vermont’s Department of Banking, Insurance, Securities & Health Care Administration; and Wisconsin’s Department of Financial Institutions.

The FTC appreciates the participation of every state agency involved in this effort.

Advice for Consumers

How can you avoid turning credit repair into credit despair? Here are a few suggestions:

  • Avoid any company that wants you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services. It is against the law.
  • Avoid any credit repair company that will not tell you your legal rights and what you can do, yourself, for free.
  • Avoid any credit repair company that tells you not to contact a credit reporting company directly.
  • Avoid any credit repair company that advises you to dispute all of the information in your credit report.
  • Avoid any company that suggests creating a ‘new’ credit identity – and then, a new credit report – by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number. That is against the law. If you follow illegal advice and commit fraud, you also may be subject to prosecution.

The FTC advises that only time, a conscious effort, and a personal debt repayment plan can improve your credit report. The first step is to learn what information is in your credit report. If you find errors or mistakes, federal law gives you the right to have them corrected – free of charge. Federal law requires that the nationwide consumer reporting companies – Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion – provide you with a free copy of your credit report once every 12 months, if you ask for it. To order your free report, visit, call 1-877-322-8228, or complete and mail the Annual Credit Report Request Form. Other credit repair information is available on the FTC’s Web site,

If you think you have been the victim of a credit repair scam, contact the FTC. You can file a complaint at or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. You can also ask for free information about recognizing credit repair scams and building a better credit record.

NOTE: The Commission files a complaint when it has ‘reason to believe’ that the law has been or is being violated, and it appears to the Commission that a proceeding is in the public interest. The complaint is not a finding or ruling that the defendant has actually violated the law. The case will be decided by the court.

The Federal Trade Commission works for consumers to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices and to provide information to help spot, stop, and avoid them. To file a complaint in English or Spanish, visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357). The FTC enters complaints into Consumer Sentinel, a secure, online database available to more than 1,500 civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad. The FTC’s Web site provides free information on a variety of consumer topics. your resource for free credit reports, credit cards, and free credit repair advice.

Credit Card or Debit Card?

Monday, October 20th, 2008

There is currently 1 trillion in spending using debit cards. The question is should you use a credit card or a debit card for your purchases? This really depends on your current circumstances. The consumer union currently states that if a consumer uses there debit card 20 times or more a year they will spend $223 in bounced check fees. The individual that does not use debit cards pays an average of $40 per year. There are advantages and disadvantages to both types of cards.

If you are a person that holds a balance on your credit card it might make sense to use your debit card. If you are the type of person that has a credit card with no annual fees, and you don’t hold balance on your credit card then credit cards are the way to go. The reason for this is you can keep your money in a interest bearing account as opposed to using your debit card which takes the mosey directly from your interest bearing checking.

There are a lot more advantages to using a credit card especially if you pay off your balance every month. There are credit cards that will reward you with points for every dollar you spend. Your debit card does not provide this type of reward what so ever. Using your debit card like cash can get out of control and cause bounced checks and costly insufficient fund fees. Also debit cards do not report to the credit bureaus as good credit like credit cards.

Just remember that using a credit card should be used responsibly and is not for everyone. If you can’t control impulsive buys then a debit card might be ideal for you.

*some information was taken from

How to get a mortgage checklist

Thursday, October 16th, 2008

In this current market you might think that banks are not lending, but guess again. Its amazing how all the negativity with the media affects what people do. I personally think the media has a negative impact on our markets. At times the media especially the liberal tv stations tend to sway the common opinion for personal gain. That is the current case while one of most controversial elections is taking place. In this article I don’t want to go down the road of special interest but tell the facts about mortgages and what you need to know about getting a mortgage loan in this current cloud of smoke. There are three steps to get the ball rolling and they are get approved, find an agent, and close on your home.

Get approved
One of the biggest problems in the process of buying a home is the buyer assuming they don’t need to get approved first. This is a huge mistake and can end up making the home buying process a disaster. One of the common ideologies out there is “I have good credit and I will find a home first and then get approved.” Well, in this current lending market just because you have good credit does not mean you will get approved. Do yourself a favor and get approved with a reputable lender. It would not hurt to pull your own copy of your free credit report just to see where you stand. Some banks will not tell you much about your credit report.

Find a Real Estate Agent
Since most homes are listed in the (MLS) multiple listing services it’s extremely hard to get around using a agent. To ease the looking for a home process, go ahead and find a reputable agent to help you with your search. Most reputable agents will know the market and give you an idea of what to expect for your budget.

Close on your home
Hopefully by now you are close to closing on your home and everything has gone well. I am sure you learned that you needed a minimum of 3.5% down depending on what type of loan you were approved for. The new lending market does require money down, and requires better credit. Even with the new lending restrictions banks are still lending and will continue to do so. Remember to check your credit and be an educated consumer when it comes to your personal credit worthiness.

What credit card is right for you?

Wednesday, October 15th, 2008

There are all types of credit card offers out there such as reward credit credits, secured credit cards, student credit cards, business credit cards and sub prime credit cards. Obviously depending on your credit report and credit scores will ultimately determine the rate and terms of your card. Credit cards are necessary during this day and age for many reasons. The first reason is credit building and also for emergencies purposes as well. Some card holders will use one credit card to pay all there bills on to get the air line miles or points towards other purchases.

Reward credit cards are a hot ticket currently. You can get points for every dollar spent towards other types of perks. Every credit card company is offering different rewards for charging on there cards. So depending on the credit card company, your rewards will vary, but at times it can be worth it as long as you pay of the charged balance every month. This type of credit card might be ideal for a individual that spends a lot of money on expense or flying regularly.

Business credit cards are a great way to build up your business credit. Some of the business credit cards reward your business for spending as well. Maybe you fly a lot as a result of your business; there are cards that pay you airline miles for every dollar spent. Some business credit cards will give discounts up to 25% on business expenses. Every business owner should have a business credit card.

Secured credit cards are ideal for individuals that are new to credit or are in the rebuilding stage of credit. Secured credit cards are the quickest way to establish credit for newbie’s to the credit arena. A secured credit card usually requires a deposit from you in the amount of $250 to $300 to secure the credit card. Once you have secured this card with your funds in about 30 to 60 days this credit card will report to all 3 credit bureaus. This starts the credit building stage promptly. With a good 12 month payment history you will start getting credit card offers in the mail. Once this starts you are well on your way to building a healthy credit report.

Student credit cards are ideal for anyone that is new to the credit building process while in college. This card is an un-secured credit card that does not require large deposits of your own money. Usually this card will extend low credit limit that will gradually climb with good payment history.

Remember to pay your credit cards on time and to keep your balance owed under 30% of credit limit.

How the 2008 financial crisis will affect you

Monday, October 6th, 2008

Well its official we are in a recession due to the amount of time our country has seen a loss in revenue for many companies. Also with un-employment being at 6.1% and banks still failing you can rest assure that there are going to be some drastic changes with credit requirements. In this article I wanted to discuss in detail how this will affect you and your family.

Your credit score
There has never been a more important time in history to manage your personal credit score than now. With current matters in our credit sector, banks will more than likely over compensate for what is going on. In other words they will get too strict on credit requirements.

For example:
• Higher credit score requirements
• Higher down payment requirement
• More savings in the bank requirement
• Less leniency on past credit issues

During the past there was lots of money flowing to cover any unexpected expenses. With the current economic situation most will not have that extra money. The reason is there are less overtime hours, no bonuses, and maybe not many raises around the corner. When a sector like real estate takes a dive it affects all other sectors of our economy. So with the increase in cost of goods sold we need to save more and cut back on spending. We need to have at least 6 months worth of income in the savings to survive a economic downturn like we are currently in. So my point being the ultimate goal here is to save your money.

Loss of Job
During times like these more and more people will loose there jobs. So you may find yourself in the market for a new job. Guess what companies are doing these days? They are checking your credit report to see how responsible or irresponsible you are. This is just another reason to stay on top of your credit and finances.

Obviously when times are bad some people go to desperate measures to keep afloat. Sometimes those measures are theft of your personal items and personal information. This is another reason to check your credit report to see if anyone has stolen your identity. It only takes a few mistakes and someone is out charging in your good name.

Paid Collections Q & A

Monday, October 6th, 2008

How long will it take for my credit score to come back up after paying 17 bad debts off my report? And why did my score drop much lower than go up after paying the debts off?

Marietta, GA

Hi Shannon,
Typically when you pay off debts your credit score will increase between 50 and 75 points with each credit bureau. You want to make sure that the collections you are paying off report to all 3 credit bureaus. The reason for this is you want the paid status to affect all three bureaus. I have personally found the reason for this is the amount owed status changes to a $0 balance with the reporting creditor. IN some cases your credit score will drop if you pay off very old collections. I typically recommend paying off only collections from the last 2 years. Nether less paying off collections will increase your credit score in the long term. your resource for free credit reports, credit scores, and free credit report repair.

Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.