Your credit history can determine whether you get a loan, get credit, insurance or a home. Some employers also may look at your credit history. A rule of thumb is if you have a good credit history, you will pay lower interest when borrowing money.
If you have negative information in your credit history, most of it will stay on your credit report for seven years, and bankruptcy information will stay on for 10 years. That negative information, if it is true, cannot be removed. It simply takes time for it to go away.
A credit repair company can help you investigate mistakes on your credit report, but they cannot remove negative information. So, be on the lookout for a company that says they can.
If you choose to work with a credit repair company, do not pay before they help you. This could mean a scam. Other ways of knowing you may be dealing with a scam are if they tell you:
- Not to contact the credit bureaus directly
- To dispute information in your credit report you know is accurate
- To lie on your applications for credit or a loan
If you think you may have been scammed by a credit repair company, report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ReportFraud.ftc.gov and your state attorney general’s office. In Iowa, the Attorney General may be reached toll free 1-888-777-4590 or visit https://www.iowaattorneygeneral.gov/.
Sandra McKinnon is a Human Sciences specialist in Family Wellbeing with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach, serving southwest Iowa.