How to Avoid These Credit Report Scams

February 7, 2012  |  

A credit score is a scary number for some people. Con artists use that fear to trick you into taking part in their scams. Once you fall into the trap, they either con you into giving them money or into giving them the information they need to steal your identity and make a big ‘ol mess with your money. The best defense against a scam is knowledge. Once you know what to watch out for, you can recognize these common credit report scams on sight.

Paying for A Credit Report
Each year, you can get a free credit report from each of the three credit reporting bureaus–TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. Many companies claim to give you those free credit reports but require you to sign up for a service or pay a membership fee. These offers are misleading.  The only places you can receive your official annual free credit report is through each of the previously listed agencies or through the government’s annualfreecreditreport.com website.  Anything that tells you otherwise is a scam.

Hiring Someone to Fix Your Credit
There are advertisements for “credit fixers” everywhere. Sometimes they claim to erase your credit mistakes or raise your credit score a certain amount of points. When these offers don’t steal your money outright, they perform simple credit score corrections that anyone can do for free. For example, you can look at your credit report yourself, locate entries that are there mistakenly, and contact the agencies to have them removed. You can do this on your own without hiring a company.

Submitting to a Credit Report for a Craigslist Job
Craigslist has replaced many newspaper employment classifies and has become the go-to search site for many jobseekers. However, it’s also a hotbed for scams. A common one works like this: A scammer places a fake job ad on the site. When you respond to it, he sends you an email saying the job requires a credit check and points you to a credit check website. In this scenario, the scam is to either capture your information in a fake site or to sign you up for a service the scammer receives a percentage of. While it’s possible that certain jobs require credit checks, it’s usually not necessary until the final stages of the hiring process, along with the drug test and background check.

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