The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (Bureau) jointly with Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey sued Commonwealth Equity Group, LLC which does business under the name Key Credit Repair  alleging that the company engaged in illegal deceptive and abusive tactics in its credit repair business. Credit repair scams are very common as scammers take advantage of people with debt problems and promise to fix their credit and clear their credit reports of adverse information in return for illegal up front fees.  Key Credit Repair is alleged to have illegally charged advance fees for their services and misrepresenting Key Credit Repair’s ability  to increase consumers’ credit scores and remove negative material from credit reports.

Your credit report is one of the most important documents in your financial life.  The information in your credit report as maintained by the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian is used to calculate your credit score.  This is used by financial institutions to evaluate your creditworthiness and can affect your ability to get a credit card, mortgage loan or a car loan.  It also can affect the rate that you will be charged on such loans.  In addition, your credit score is used in many states by companies in making hiring decisions and landlords consider credit scores when determining whether or not to rent an apartment or home to someone.  Regularly reviewing your credit report is a way to earlier discover in many instances if you have become a victim of identity theft.  Recently, in response to the Coronavirus pandemic, the three major credit reporting bureaus have agreed to extend your right to a free copy of your credit report once a year to a free credit report from each of the credit reporting agencies once a week through April of 2021.  Here is the link to use to get your free credit reports. https://www.annualcreditreport.com/requestReport/landingPage.action

TIPS

Don’t fall prey to scammers operating phony credit repair companies and never pay an upfront fee to one of these companies.  Advance fees for credit repair companies that operate for profit are banned by the Credit Repair Organizations Act.  Negative information on your credit report remains on your credit report for seven years and bankruptcies for ten years.  Anyone who tells you otherwise is just trying to scam you.  Many of the scam credit repair companies use illegal tactics such as applying for a federal employer ID to use as your Social Security number when applying for credit.  This is illegal. If you need real credit counseling you can go to this section of the Department of Justice’s website where it lists agencies approved to assist consumers with debt problems. https://www.justice.gov/ust/list-credit-counseling-agencies-approved-pursuant-11-usc-111    You also may consider contacting companies that are affiliated with the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at this link https://www.nfcc.org/

For those of you receiving the Scam of the day through an email, I just want to remind you that if you want to see the ever increasing list of Coronavirus scams go to the first page of the http://www.scamicide.com website and click on the tab at the top of the page that indicates “Coronavirus Scams.”

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