Beware of Common Consumer Scams

Authored By: Community Legal Services of Mid-Florida

Common Scams

Credit Repair

If you have been behind in your debt payments, no agency can repair your credit. “Credit repair” is just a clever way to get you to spend money on a useless project. You can clean up your credit on your own.

  • First request copies of your credit reports—you can receive free reports annually at https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
  • Second, read carefully and dispute what is untrue. If your dispute does not work, contact your local legal aid provider. 

High Rate Loans

Don’t be fooled by lenders offering mortgage consolidation loans to assist you in paying off your debts. These high-rate loans often increase the problem by creating additional debt and possibly put your home at risk. Your home cannot be taken from you to pay normal consumer debts. However, when you take on a mortgage consolidation loan, you put your house up as security and then it can be sold to pay this debt

Loan Brokers

Beware of loan brokers who advertise to people with weak credit histories. These companies are often looking to sell you a loan at the highest interest rate possible because they earn a higher commission from the lender

Home Repairs

Use only contractors who have not just a business license but a contractor's license. You can preform a check on contractors before you hire them to ensure they are licensed.  Go to www.myfloridalicense.com and click Search for a License, Permit or Registration or call (850) 487-1395.

Report unlicensed construction activity to (850) 488-6603.

Advertising gimmicks like "No credit checks" or "Bad credit-no problem."

Companies that place ads like these are looking for people who believe that if they apply for a loan, they will be denied credit. It is important to remember the old adage, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”

Lenders or brokers who are willing to lend you money without doing a credit check or who advertise that your bad credit is no problem will make a loan at a much higher rate than other lenders. Shop around! You might be surprised who will loan you money or finance a car.

Most creditors know that many consumers experience problems that can cause them to pay their debts late. However, many creditors are willing to work with you if you are honest about your problems and you are making an effort to get back on your feet.

Updated: April 18, 2017 

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