Scammers play name game and get caught

From Bridget Small from Federal Trade Commission

Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes it’s illegal. Just ask the people behind First Time Credit Solutions, who promoted their business as “FTC Credit Solutions” until the real Federal Trade Commission shut them down. The group claimed their credit repair firm was licensed by the FTC, and allegedly took thousands of dollars from people after promising to delete negative, but accurate, information from their credit reports. In fact, the operation wasn’t licensed by the FTC — no credit repair service is — and didn’t get true, negative information removed from credit reports, because that’s against the law. The FTC is working to permanently ban the operators from offering credit repair.

FTC Credit advertised nationwide — online, in print and on radio and social media. According to the FTC, the company preyed mostly on lower-income Spanish-speaking people who wanted to modify heavy debts or improve low credit scores. It took illegal advance payments of about $2,000 per person. The FTC said the company mis-used the Commission name and an altered Commission seal, and boasted that its connection to the FTC allowed it to lawfully “delete” true information about late payments, defaults, even bankruptcies. In the end, all it did was draft dispute letters full of false information for people to send the credit reporting companies, the FTC said.

Scammers play name game and get caught

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Imitation may be the sincerest form of flattery, but sometimes it’s illegal. Just ask the people behind First Time Credit Solutions, who promoted their business as “FTC Credit Solutions” until the real Federal Trade Commission shut them down. The group claimed their credit repair firm was licensed by the FTC, and allegedly took thousands of dollars from people after promising to delete negative, but accurate, information from their credit reports. In fact, the operation wasn’t licensed by the FTC — no credit repair service is — and didn’t get true, negative information removed from credit reports, because that’s against the law. The FTC is working to permanently ban the operators from offering credit repair.

FTC Credit advertised nationwide — online, in print and on radio and social media. According to the FTC, the company preyed mostly on lower-income Spanish-speaking people who wanted to modify heavy debts or improve low credit scores. It took illegal advance payments of about $2,000 per person. The FTC said the company mis-used the Commission name and an altered Commission seal, and boasted that its connection to the FTC allowed it to lawfully “delete” true information about late payments, defaults, even bankruptcies. In the end, all it did was draft dispute letters full of false information for people to send the credit reporting companies, the FTC said.

You can improve your credit, with time and effort. You don’t have to use a credit repair company; you can do it yourself or with a credit counselor. It doesn’t cost anything to dispute mistakes or outdated items on your credit report. Some accurate negative information will stay on your report for a time, and there’s nothing you can do to make it go away sooner. Most accurate negative information stays on your report for several years. Bankruptcy information usually stays for seven to 10 years.

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