Ads abound on television and the Internet offering to provide consumers with their free credit score. These ads lead consumers to believe that the failure to monitor their credit score is negligent, and could result in the denial of credit in the future. However, these ads omit the fact that the credit score that they provide is not necessarily the same credit score that would be used by a potential lender in evaluating a consumer’s credit. They also fail to mention that the credit score is one of several components that will be used to evaluate a potential borrower when they apply for a loan. Instead, the majority of these ads are designed to obtain personally identifiable information, so that it can be marketed to a variety of subscribers.
For a person with good credit, the visitation to one of the sites results in an avalanche of unwanted credit solicitations. However, a person with less than desirable credit can expect communications from companies and individuals professing to be able to fix or repair damaged credit. Some of these companies profess that they can settle delinquent debts for “pennies on the dollar”. These debt settlement companies collect monthly payments from distressed consumers, with the eventual goal of making lump sum settlements with their creditors for significantly less than the amount owed. Unfortunately, the initial payments into such a debt settlement plan are applied to fees and costs, with distributions to creditors occurring months after enrollment in the plan. Inevitably, some of the creditors tire of waiting for their payment, and proceed with the filing of a lawsuit. (Cite to “What to do when you are served with a lawsuit”) This leads the consumer to the offices of a bankruptcy attorney, who is tasked with fixing the damage due to the failure of the debt settlement company to maintain their promises.
There is always a risk when you provide personal information on any website. Furthermore, most people fail to read the “fine print” which discloses how their personal information will be used and who will have access to it. Paying attention to your credit history is much more important than your credit score. Consumers may apply for a free annual credit report so that they may review any entries, and report any mistakes to the credit reporting agency. You will find a link to the website allowing you to obtain a free credit report (not a credit score) on our website. And if you are one of those unfortunate few in the Augusta area whose credit report includes lawsuits, judgments and collection accounts, please take the opportunity to contact Leiden and Leiden for a free bankruptcy consultation.