"Operation Clean Sweep" Launched by FTC & 24 State Agencies to Stop Bogus Credit Repair Companies

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We've all seen the TV and radio ads that promise for a price, they will work to clean up your credit reports for you. Many ads falsely claim they can work magic and accomplish what you can not...remove accurate negative information.  These ads and bogus claims continue to trick and bamboozle unsuspecting consumers out of their had earned money by promising them things they know they can't deliver on. The FTC, along with 24 State Agencies, are stepping in to stop these companies from their aggressive and deceptive practices by launching Operation Clean Sweep.

According to the Federal Trade Commission "Operation Clean Sweep" was launched to effectively stop these illegal credit/debt repair organizations from continuing to "deceptively claim they can remove negative information from consumers credit reports, even if that information is accurate and timely...and prohibit further violations, and make them pay consumer redress and return their ill-gotten gains."

"Companies that promise they are able to scrub your credit reports of accurate, negative information for a fee are lying - plain and simple,' said Lydia Parnes, Director of the FTC's Bureau of Consumer Protection. 'Under federal law, accurate, negative information can be reported for up to seven years, and some bankruptcies can be reported for up to 10 years."

Here's a partial list of companies on Operation Clean Sweep's radar...

Nationwide Credit Services, Inc. and James R. Dooley

Clean Credit Report Services, Inc., Ricardo A. Miranda, Daniel R. Miranda, and Ruthy Villabona

Successful Credit Service Corporation, also doing business as Success Credit Services, and Tracy Ballard, also known as Tracy Ballard-Straughn

Advantage Credit Repair LLC and Mark D. Solomon
RCA Credit Services, LLC, Rick Lee Crosby, Jr., and Brady Wellington

Latrese & Kevin Enterprises, Inc., also d/b/a Hargrave & Associates Financial Solutions

ACE Group, Inc., also d/b/a as American Credit Experts, Inc., The Ace Group, Inc., The Ace Group, and ACE; Legal Credit Repair Center, Inc., also d/b/a LCRC, Michael Singer, Melvin Kessler, and Gerald Roth.

See the FTC's  full Press Release: Operation Clean Sweep': FTC and State Agencies Target 36 'Credit Repair' Operations...& for additional info on these companies see Clean Sweep List (PDF version)

How can you avoid being scammed by credit repair companies?

Here are a few suggestions from the FTC:

•Avoid any company that wants you to pay for credit repair services before they provide any services. It is against the law.

•Avoid any credit repair company that will not tell you your legal rights and what you can do, yourself, for free.

•Avoid any credit repair company that tells you not to contact a credit reporting company directly.

•Avoid any credit repair company that advises you to dispute all of the information in your credit report.

•Avoid any company that suggests creating a 'new' credit identity - and then, a new credit report - by applying for an Employer Identification Number to use instead of your Social Security number. That is against the law. If you follow illegal advice and commit fraud, you also may be subject to prosecution.

If you think you have been the victim of a credit repair scam, contact the FTC. You can file a complaint at www.ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. You can also ask for free information about recognizing credit repair scams and building a better credit record.

A few tips to help repair your own credit reports;

1. Order your free annual credit reports from the official place. Either call the automated toll-free line at 877-322-8228 or order them at annualcreditreport.com.
2. Carefully review your credit reports and note any any errors, including erroneous middle initials, accounts more than 7 years old, inaccurately noted places of employement and home addresses, accounts that are not yours.

3. Send your dispute to the CRA's via certified mail so you have proof that you disputed inaccurate and/or fraudulent information if they don't comply with the FCRA and you need to find an experienced consumer attorney.

Also see earlier blog: Court Ruling; Credit Reporting Bureaus Must Revamp their Systems -and Remove Old Debts...:

What can you do about abusive debt collectors?

If you are being harassed by a debt collector for a debt you may or may not owe, it's important to know your rights under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

See a couple earlier blogs:
Florida AG cracking down on Debt Repair:

Debt Collectors being held accountable...

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1 Comment

Almost every day we read about many fraudulent activities made by some mortgage companies. Many people suddenly find some credit repair firms promise to give you a new credit identity so you can escape a bad history of bill-paying. Sometimes they give you an employer identification number so you can avoid being tracked by your Social Security number. In order to avoid this first and foremost, we should look for guidance you should be able to get free credit counseling help, and should be given real counseling rather than simply a debt payment plan. To find a counselor contact the National Foundation for Credit Counseling (NFCC) and check on the referral with the Better Business Bureau.

Avoid firms that advertise. Finding firms supported by your local United Way is a good idea. In this current economic situation, there needs to be some kind of viable way to repair credit lines and get the economy moving again. Treasury Secretary Paulson’s Troubled Asset Relief Program, or TARP, doesn’t seem to cover enough. The FDIC’s chairperson, Sheila Bair, has set up her own strategy; a $24 billion plus plan for the 1.5 million homeowners facing foreclosure. Her idea is to give a stimulus of $1,000 to lenders for each renegotiated loan to owners in danger of heading to foreclosure. In the event of default, the FDIC will take on up to half of the burden. Paulson hates it, straight away, and proclaims that its just more spending that will lead to the bankruptcy of the FDIC. Some others view Bair’s actions as one of the first real attempts to help repair credit of the banking system and get cash flowing again.

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