Did you recently come across an advertisement from a finance company claiming they can perform a “credit sweep” on your credit report to repair the damage? Moreover, did they promise to do away with all those negative items in the said report that lower your credit score? If so, chances are you’re being scammed by an illegitimate credit repair company posing as a legitimate one.
If you’re wondering what credit sweeps are and why you should remain wary of them, you’re at the right place! In this article, we will walk you through what this terminology encapsulates, so you can get yourself thoroughly informed. Ultimately, this is imperative to save yourself from being a victim of fraud companies looking to take advantage of you.
What does it mean by credit sweeps?
“Credit sweep” is a marketing gimmick that’s responsible for ruining thousands of people’s lives every year! These are usually innocent individuals already struggling to get by and make ends meet within the less than satisfactory money they generate each month.
As the name implies, “credit sweep” is the process of sweeping a credit report to remove all those negative items that weigh down your credit score.
What are negative items?
The terminology includes “anything posing a risk to worsen your credit score, including late debt, credit card, and loan payments, in addition to charge-offs, foreclosures, and delinquent accounts.”
When asking for a credit sweep, you are, in fact, claiming that every single thing on your account is fraudulent. Therefore, you’re looking to dispute all items in your credit report.
However, if you’ve ever applied for a credit card, mortgage, car loan, or something akin at some point in your life, it means you can’t label everything on your account as fraudulent. Since this is the case at least 99% of the time, asking for a credit sweep can be safely reported as illegal.
Moreover, your false claims can even subject you to a prominent amount of jail time when you eventually get caught. This applies even if you didn’t know that what the scam companies were offering you was illegal, to begin with!
Can performing credit sweeps ever be considered legal?
Most companies offering their services to perform credit sweeps make it sound like a legitimate process. However, saying that “doing a credit sweep is legal” is acutely similar to assuring someone that it’s a “perfectly legal form of thievery.”
It is extremely rare to sweep a credit where credit repair companies legally dispute everything on the report. For example, a plausible scenario could be when the victim of identity theft is a child who can prove that none of the accounts in their credit report were opened by them.
In short, suppose you’ve asked some organization to conduct a credit sweep, disputing everything in your account. However, even if just one of the mentioned accounts in the credit report is opened by you, it’ll make you, as well as the company you’re using for this purpose, a fraudster.
How is the illegal process of credit sweeping carried out?
Are you wondering, “If credit sweeps are illegal and they ensure behind-the-bars time for everyone involved, how come ‘someone you know’ is doing it without going to jail?”
If that’s the case, let us assure you of something – even if they aren’t caught “yet,” they must have to keep looking over their shoulders to validate they’re not about to get intercepted. Little do they know that they will be left stranded when their time eventually comes, no matter how long or hard they prepare for the fallout.
Nevertheless, to put things into further context, let’s understand how these companies carry out their scamming, making you fall into their trap.
How does it happen?
It’s a relatively complicated process that starts with paying someone to fill out and attest a false affidavit. This document claims that all the negative items and credit present in one’s report are a result of identity theft. After that, a bogus police report is filed to substantiate the claims made in the signed documents.
Once that’s done, a fraud alert and freeze are carried out on each report by sending them off to the three credit bureaus and creditors. This automatically triggers the investigation, in which the credit bureaus have to temporarily remove and block all accounts until the inquiry is complete. The negative sweeping explains why this practice is referred to by its given name – a credit sweep.
Now that you’re aware of what credit sweeps are, and why indulging in this illegal practice can threaten your financial standing in the long run, let’s review what can be done to handle credit card frauds adequately.
What is credit card fraud?
Credit card fraud is a form of identity theft. It is a federal law offense that occurs when someone steals your identity, using your credit or debit card information to make purchases, take out loans, and open new accounts in your name.
What should you do when you’re a victim of identity theft?
Identity theft is a punishable crime, and it makes it severely challenging for the victim to navigate their life on stable financial ground. Not only does it cost you your hard-earned money, but it also takes a prominent amount of time and effort to resolve the issue at hand.
If you’re suffering from the consequences of identity theft, you should always favor taking legal actions instead of asking help from illegal credit repair companies that offer scam services, including a credit sweep.
The legal procedure
Here’s a seven-step practice you can follow to minimize the financial damage when you’re a victim of this destructive crime:
Step 1 – Your first call should be to your insurance company to file an identity theft claim, when applicable.
Step 2 – Secondly, you should not prolong or delay notifying the companies where you detect any irregular activity through your account. This saves you from further potential financial threats.
Step 3 – After that, your next step should be filing a report with the FTC (Federal Trade Commission). They can gather information regarding your identity theft case, which can later be utilized by law enforcement agencies to track down criminals.
Step 4 – Next, you have to get in touch with the local police department. Filing a police report can help your case since it creates a paper trail that proves useful in the future.
Step 5 – Moving on, your next step should be to follow up with the three credit bureaus and request a fraud alert on your credit reports. This alert remains in the report for a year, which helps when an organization pulls out your credit report to scrutinize the data.
Step 6 – Moreover, you can further secure yourself by initiating a credit freeze. This cuts access to your credit report for any organization who requests it while the investigation is carried out.
Step 7 – Signing up for a legitimate credit repair company is the next best step in this case since they can track and review your account to detect any mysterious activities and accounts that you may not recognize. They also scan your credit card report and bank statements for unauthorized charges.
What is meant by credit repair? Is it a legal practice?
Credit repair is the process of restructuring one’s credit and improving their credit score, specifically after it has been damaged due to financial setbacks, identity theft, poor credit habits, or credit reporting errors.
Offering bogus credit repair services is one of the most common ploys of scam artists, which includes performing a credit sweep. However, the process of credit repair itself is completely safe and legal, just as long as you contact legitimate businesses to carry out the proceedings.
The final verdict
Of course, if you ask any illegal credit repair company about the benefits associated with a credit sweep, they will make it their mission to follow up with multiple false positives. Furthermore, they will convince you that not only is it a completely legal practice, but it is also the only way to deal with identity theft. However, the key is to conduct your own research so you can’t get fooled!
In conclusion, it’s useless to turn to an illegitimate credit repair company that will only take your money and loot you of your peace eventually.