Tips to avoid falling for credit repair scams

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A Guilford County couple paid more than $900 to someone they thought represented a credit repair service, but it was a scam.

They didn’t want to share more of their story publicly but they asked FOX8 to warn people.

This is a scam that Lechelle Yates, with the Better Business Bureau of Central North Carolina, warns is on the rise. Yates says the first red flag that it’s a scam is if the person over-promises.

Yates told FOX8, “They can’t improve your score. They can’t knock things off your report. They can’t promise debt relief or give you a new credit identity. They can’t do any of that.”

Also, never pay upfront for a credit repair service.

Yates says, “It’s actually illegal for them to take any money upfront. Some of them try to get around this by charging a monthly fee rather than one big upfront payment but that’s still illegal.”

What can you do to improve your credit history and score? FOX8 asked Patrick Rush for some advice. He’s the author of Gain Big and Give Back and is the CEO of Triad Financial Advisors.

He said it’s a good idea to pay your credit card bill throughout the billing cycle.

Rush says, “The credit rating agencies are looking at credit utilization and it’s reported each month. If you’re waiting until the credit card statement cuts to pay off the bill you have a high utilization rate and you want to keep that below 30 percent of your credit limit.”

Rush also recommend that you pay attention to medical bills.

He said, “One of the biggest problems we see are past-due medical bills received long after service provided and that can hurt your credit score because you didn’t even know about it.”

If there’s a problem with a creditor, make sure you resolve it. Rush said, “disputing debts on your credit isn’t enough. You need to have them resolved to truly improve your score.”

You can get help doing that for free. The Family Service of the Piedmont offers counseling in financial stability. For more information, visit their website.

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