The Center For Debt Management
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Don't Fall For Credit-Related Scams

If you have credit problems, you may fall prey to fraud artists and unscrupulous companies that offer to "erase" a credit history or "fix" your debt troubles with an "easy" or "guaranteed" loan. These misleading sales tactics and questionable services usually result in exorbitant costs and broken promises. And in the case of a high-cost loan backed by the borrower's home, the risk of foreclosure exists if the loan cannot be repaid.

If you have serious financial problems, you generally should try to cut spending, increase savings and pay off high-cost loans (usually credit cards). If you need professional help, consider asking your attorney, accountant or another trusted advisor to refer you to a reliable credit counselor who, at little or no cost, can help you develop a plan to meet your financial obligations. Credit counseling services also are listed in the Yellow Pages or on the Internet, but independently check out an unfamiliar service with your trusted advisor or your state consumer protection office. "No one can change or erase a payment history for you," says Cora Lee Page, an FDIC Consumer Affairs Specialist. "Only you can repair your credit history by paying the debts owed."

And if you don't have a credit history (common if you never use credit cards, you're just out of school or you're a recent immigrant) or if your credit record is spotty, consider building a good financial foundation, perhaps by applying for a small loan from your bank or a charge card from a local department store. Then be sure to pay off the debt each month.

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