There are plenty of scams out there: weight loss miracles, money-making miracles, healing miracles, and of course, credit repair miracles.

The fact is, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

When it comes to hiring someone to help you improve your credit profile, here are a few red flags to help you decide whether it’s a scam.

Amazing Promises

If a company promises to fix your credit within six months, regardless of how bad your credit is, this is probably a scam.

Guaranteed Results

While credit scores can definitely be improved over time, anyone who guarantees that they can remove your negative credit is scamming you. And their promise is deceptive.

The truth is, traditional credit repair strategies (letter-writing campaigns, etc.) will remove only 30-40 percent of your derogatories—and those deletions rarely occur across all three credit bureaus. That means that if a collection account is removed from Equifax and TransUnion but still remains on Experian, lenders will still see that negative account when they pull a merged report (as used by car dealers, mortgage lenders, business lenders, etc.). In such cases, those “deletions” don’t help you at all.

No Web Presence  

If a company has little more than a web page and a phone number, you have to ask yourself how legitimate they are. Do they participate in social networks? Are there regular posts of positive testimonials and results? Do they have a Facebook page? Are there discussions with real people? If they are not offering free information to the public to empower them to improve their credit, are they really interested in helping people, or are they just interested in making money off of desperate people with bad credit?

Gimmick Pitch

You should be careful hiring any company that guarantees to increase your score by 100 points in less than 90 days.  One that we hear about often is someone claiming that they have a special relationship with one or more of the credit reporting agencies. These are the same companies who will ask you to pay them up front in cash.

No Testimonials

There are a few legitimate credit restoration firms.  Choose one that has a proven track record and happy customers who are willing to verify their services.  When people successfully improve their credit profiles they are extremely happy—and they usually will tell you about it. {insert video} Does your credit company let you actually talk to their clients before you sign on the dotted line?

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While scams and false promises abound, there’s still a handful of companies out there that will successfully help you turn your credit profile around. Here are some things you should look for in a legitimate credit profile improvement firm:

Realistic Promises

Legitimately improving credit is a time-consuming and tedious task.  Most people could do it on their own, but the time required to do it properly and effectively is just too much. A real firm will be straightforward and honest about the effort involved. They will also give you an honest assessment about how long it will take.

Testimonials

If a firm has ever helped anyone with their credit, they will have satisfied customers. Improving someone’s credit is similar to curing someone of a disease. Poor credit affects a person’s life tremendously. Once a client has good credit, it feels like they have been given a new lease on life.  These people are typically enthusiastic to tell others about it and write positive reviews.

Customized Plan

Everyone’s situation is different. Yet credit repair firms can only offer you one strategy—letter-writing campaigns that bombard the credit bureaus with ineffective dispute letters. A good firm will give you a free and thorough review of your credit profile, and then offer a customized plan indicating the results you should expect over a certain period of time.

Payment Options

It’s a bad sign if a firm requires its fees up front. A good firm is willing to be paid over time as work is completed. If a firm is really confident in their ability to fulfill their promises, they will be happy to earn your business month after month.  Also, be wary of any contract that obligates you to pay a certain amount regardless of results.

Performance Warranties

A good firm will provide a performance warranty that clearly states what results you can count on and how they will make it right if they fail.

Great Reputation  

Google them.  There is so much information on the internet regarding reputation, and complaints against various firms.  A good firm should be willing to display the name of employees and owners and not hide behind nameless phone numbers. Check their Better Business Bureau reports. If they are NOT accredited by the BBB, it means that they didn’t buy their reputation, but earned their great reputation the hard way.

You can improve your credit!

Having great credit is essential! Deciding to improve your credit yourself is kind of like deciding to change your own car transmission.  It can be done, but it may require more time and skill than you presently have.  Hiring a good firm to help you will make the process easier, will save you money, and make you feel great. Check us out and see if we meet your criteria.