If it sounds too good to be true, then it likely is. Financial problems are among the most stressful and trying issues in a person’s life. Anything that involves an individual’s livelihood, such as credit, makes people upset and vulnerable. The information on your credit report can affect your ability to qualify for a loan, rent an apartment, get a mortgage or a car, qualify for insurance, or even qualify for jobs. Unfortunately, vulnerable people with credit problems make easy prey for unscrupulous credit repair agencies that lure people facing problems in with promises of quick fixes. Fortunately, even an individual with terrible credit can take the steps necessary to rebuild his or her credit score. However, this is not an easy fix. Credit repair requires time and discipline, and sometimes money.

The first step individuals must take in rebuilding their credit is to be realistic. Many credit repair companies make outrageous and untrue claims just to get customers locked into a contract with them. If a credit repair company claims that your credit can be fixed immediately or that your credit history can be wiped clean, steer clear! This is simply untrue and impossible. No one can remove the negative statements on your credit report if they are true and accurate. In some cases, it is even difficult to remove untrue statements from one’s credit report. Your information is stuck there, whether you like it or not, for up to seven years.

So how do you know if the credit repair agency you are considering is a legitimate agency and is not going to scam you? Legitimate credit repair organizations will first and foremost tell their clients or prospective clients that their services are NOT necessary. Credit repair is something that you can potentially handle on your own, with the proper education and guidance. Credit reports are available to the consumer for free every 12 months (one year). If you have the time, you can research your own credit history and identify what needs to be corrected or worked with. Any reputable credit repair agency will provide the education required to handle this yourself. However, it is entirely possible that the hassle is not something you wish to deal with, in which case you may wish to hire a professional agency to handle your credit repair for you.

Steer clear of any credit repair company who attempts to dissuade you from contacting credit reporting agencies for your credit report. Clearly, they do not have your best interests at heart. If you select a credit repair agency to do business with, be sure that it does not require you to pay any sum of money up front before they have done the work they claim that they will do for you. You are legally obligated to pay for services only after said services have been rendered; in essence, once the credit repair firm has performed the task it has promised to do for you. If it fails to do what it sets out to do for you, you do not pay.