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The Ultimate Credit Repair Guide

Written by William Lingle

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The Ultimate Credit Repair Guide

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Published by: William Lingle

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Copyright ©2008 by www.CleverCreditRepair.com All Worldwide Rights Reserved.

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The Ultimate Credit Repair Guide

Forward
The intention of this guide is to give you, the reader, the tools and techniques needed to
effectively repair your own credit. It gives me much pleasure knowing that many people will
be successful in repairing their own credit. At the time of this writing, the year 2008, the
economy in the U.S. is less than ideal, and foreclosures are on the rise. Approximately
80,000,000 (yes that's 80 million) people in the U.S. suffer from poor credit. I believe in the
coming years that number will rise dramatically.

I urge you to pass this guide along to your friends, family and co-workers. I hope the
information in the pages of this guide are informative and instructive, but mostly I hope it
helps you to establish great credit and keep that credit for many years to come.
And I want to thank my wife and kids for putting up with me while I did the research and
time making this e-book.

William Lingle

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The Ultimate Credit Repair Guide

Table of Content
Section 1 - Introduction
How did I get here?............................................................................7
Where do I start?..................................................................................8
Myth 1 - Checking your own credit will harm your credit............8
Soft Inquiries vs. Hard Inquiries............................................8
Myth 2 - Credit data is the same between all bureaus................9

Section 2 - The Credit Report


Single Bureau report vs. 3 Bureau report...............................................11
Reading your report the right way.........................................................11
The four sections of your credit report...................................................12
The MyFico 3 bureau credit report, the only one for you.........................12

Section 3 - Your Credit Score


Why the FICO score is all that matters...................................................14
Why your score could be costing you a fortune......................................14
How your score is calculated.................................................................15
What is a good score?..........................................................................15

Section 4 - Building Your Credit


On-time Payments are crucial...............................................................17
Revolving Credit vs. Installment Credit..................................................17
Debt to Credit Ratio.............................................................................18
Keep just the right balance of loan types...............................................18
Using Secure Credit Cards....................................................................19

Section 5 - Repairing Your Credit


The Credit Secrets Bible.......................................................................22
Disputes and the Fair Credit Reporting Act.............................................23
Pay For Deletes....................................................................................23
Credit Repair Services – Lexington Law Firm..........................................25

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Section 6 - Identity Theft


Credit Monitoring is the key..................................................................27
10 steps not to be a victim...................................................................28
What to do if you are a victim...............................................................30
Stop Credit Card offers forever..............................................................32
Identity Theft Services.........................................................................34
Lifelock Identity Theft Service...............................................................34

Section 7 - Debt Consolidation Services


The pros and cons of debt consolidation................................................36

In Summary……………………………………………………………………………………..38

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SECTION 1 - Introduction

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How did I get here?

If you are reading this, than most likely your credit is less than desirable. Perhaps
you are in the process of buying a house, or refinancing an existing house. Possibly
you want to buy a car or just get a credit card. Whatever it is that got you here,
most likely means you are trying to repair your credit. This guide is intended to
help you on your quest to repair your credit.

The truth is that many of us today don't take the time to learn how to manage our
money properly or take advantage of all the tax benefits available to us. More and
more of us are getting deeper in debt each month while we borrow from credit
cards just to make ends meet.

It is usually too late when you realize your credit is critically damaged. Your credit
is most often the last thing on your mind when times are tough. But in reality it
should be the first thing on your mind. In fact keeping your credit in check at all
times, could actually help you each month.

I'll show you that repairing your credit shouldn't be difficult and in fact you should
see results in as little as 30 to 90 days. Whether you determine to take matters into
your own hands, or hire a credit repair service is up to you. It is really a decision
based on how much time you can spend on it yourself versus how much you can
afford to pay someone else. We will discover the pros and cons of each.

In the end, once you are able to achieve stellar credit, it comes down to how to
keep it. Many of the steps you take to fix your credit will help you keep your credit
stellar. I hope these steps will become second nature to you. The truth is that
"credit repair" is really something that I hope will become a lifestyle change for
you. Maintaining stellar credit will benefit you in so many ways it could fill
another book entirely.

So let's get started.

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Where do I start?

The very first thing I am going to recommend is to sign up for the Clever Credit
Repair Newsletter. Each month you will receive tips and links to discounts on
products and services geared to help you repair and maintain your credit. Look for
more "in depth" articles on credit repair, identity theft and debt consolidation on
the Clever Credit Repair website if you want to really delve into learning about
credit repair.

Credit Repair is a two part operation - removing negative items and building new
credit. However, before you can begin, you will need to get copies of your credit
report and credit score. It's at this point I need to let you know that there is no one
method that can help everyone.

Unfortunately everybody's credit report is different and will require a different


"game plan" to repair. Luckily most of the techniques I will teach you in this guide
can be applied to everybody. So don't discourage, credit repair won't be difficult.

Before we roll up our sleeves and jump right in lets dispel a few myths of credit
repair.

Myth #1 - Checking your own credit will hurt your credit.

Let's dispel this myth now. Checking your own credit will have no impact on your
credit. But if someone like a lender checks your credit, this can have an impact on
your credit score. So why is this?

Soft Inquiries vs. Hard Inquiries

An inquiry on your credit is often called a credit check. All credit checks appear as
inquiries on your credit report. Soft inquiries do not impact your credit score. A
soft inquiry is when a consumer checks his or her own credit. Other forms of soft
inquiries can come from employment checks and landlord checks.

However, when a lender checks your credit, this is a "hard inquiry" and can have
as much as a 5 point impact on your credit score. When you are applying for credit,
lenders will run a credit check to determine if you are worthy to extend credit to.

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If you are shopping for a home loan or auto loan, any grouping of hard inquiries on
your credit made within a 45 day period will count as one inquiry. This allows you
to shop for the best rate and not feel the affects of multiple hard inquiries.

All inquiries will remain on your credit report for up to 2 years but after 1 year will
have little effect on your credit report.

Myth #2 - Credit data is the same between all bureaus

There are three major credit bureaus and each keeps a credit profile on you. You
might be surprised that your credit report is not the same at each bureau. Therefore
you will want a copy of your credit report from each bureau so you will know
exactly what needs fixed and what doesn’t. And with each bureau comes its own
credit score.

Once you establish credit, whether a credit card, a home loan, or a car loan, each
lender will begin reporting back to the credit bureaus. But there is no written rule
that they have to report to the bureaus. In fact they may report to one, two or any
combination of the three.

Because lenders report to different bureaus, your scores and reports are reflective
of that. This means each bureau will possibly be maintaining a slightly different
profile on you than the other bureaus. Because that profile is different, it will result
in a different credit score from the other bureaus as well.

As we progress towards developing your strategy of credit repair, you will need to
have copies of your credit report from each of three bureaus. When a lender pulls
your credit report in an effort to extend you credit, you don't know which bureau
(or combination of) they may choose to check on your existing credit history. That
is why you need to be aware of your credit score at all the bureaus, not just one. So
you can see why it's so important to have copies of your credit report and scores
from all three credit bureaus.

We will discuss later in this guide strategies for pulling your credit reports from all
three credit bureaus.

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SECTION 2 - The Credit Report

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Single Bureau Credit Report vs. 3 Bureau Credit Report

Since we will be in the market for getting our credit report from all 3 credit
bureaus, you will be happy to know it won't cost you a fortune. In fact many
companies offer a combined 3 bureau credit report. This will make it easy to get all
three copies of your credit report, but also will make it easy to compare the three
reports for any inconsistencies.

The Four Sections of Your Credit Report

On your credit report at each agency will be four main sections:

The first section highlights personal information about you such as the spelling of
your name, aliases you go by, current and past addresses, your social security
number and any other pertinent information.

Section two will typically be the largest section and will contain all of your past
and current credit line information. Credit lines are your home, auto and other
loans in your name as well as revolving credit lines like credit cards. This section
will show the lenders name, account number, credit limit, payment history, late
payments and also the status of the loan (closed, open, inactive, paid or sent to
collections).

The next section is Public Records. This section has foreclosures, bankruptcies, tax
liens and other judgments against you. Depending on when these judgments took
place, these items will most likely have the most impact on your credit score.

The last section deals with Inquiries. Each time a lender views your profile to
approve you for credit it is noted in the Inquiries section. A few points may be
taken from your score each time this happens. If you view your own credit, you
will not be assessed any points from your score.

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Initial Strategies for Reading Your Credit Report

When you receive your 3 bureau report, the first thing to look for is erroneous
information. Don’t be surprised to see misinformation, wrong information, credit
lines that don't belong to you, any number of things that could be wrong, and
probably will be. Luckily these things are the easiest to dispute. Think of these as
the "low hanging fruit" of credit repair. Make sure to scan thoroughly each section
of your report, right down to your name and social security number and any trade
lines that don't belong to you. Checking the "personal information" section and
"trade line" section of your report may lead to finding possibilities of Identy Theft,
discussed in detail later in this guide.

The MyFICO Three Credit Bureau

There is one product out there that gives you both a 3 bureau credit report and your
FICO score from all three credit bureaus in one product. Although we haven't
discussed the importance of the FICO score yet, just know that this is the score that
lenders use when they decide to give you credit. A company called MyFICO (part
of the Fair Isaac Corporation that developed the FICO score) offers a product
called FICO Credit Complete.

This is the product I recommend getting as it gives you everything you need to get
started with repairing your credit.

The FICO Credit Complete package includes:

One FICO score from each national credit bureau -


TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax

Three credit reports from each national credit bureau -


TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax

Fico Score Tools


These tools can help simulate changes to your score when making additional
payments on a loan, missing loan payments, getting a new loan, cancelling a credit
card and many other factors.

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SECTION 3 - The Credit Score

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Why the FICO score is all that matters

The score used most by lenders to grade your credit, is the FICO score. For this
reason then, the FICO score is the only one that matters. Improving this score then
becomes the ultimate goal in credit repair. But the FICO score is complex and
therefore we will have to take into consideration many things to begin making your
score start climbing higher. The higher the score the better.

Why your score could be costing you a fortune

Even though the difference between a score of 719 and 720 is only 1 point, that
one point could be costing you thousands of dollars in interest payments over the
course of a loan. 720 is what most lenders consider "excellent" credit. And if you
have a score of 719, you won't be getting the same interest rate. This is why it's so
important to know exactly what your score is and from all three credit bureaus.

How your score is calculated?

There are many types of credit scoring systems, but the one used most often by
lenders is undoubtedly the FICO Score. The FICO score software was developed
by the Fair Isaac Corporation for each one of the 3 big credit reporting bureaus.
Because not every lender reports about your loans and credit card information to
all 3 of the reporting bureaus, your score may differ from each one.

That's not to say that each one calculates the score differently, only that each credit
bureau may not have the same data about you. That's important to know, and one
of the keys to improving your credit is getting a copy of your credit report from
each one of the 3 major credit reporting bureaus - Equifax, Trans Union and
Experian.

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How are the scores calculated? (source from FICO.org)

35% of your score is based on Payment History.


30% of your score is based on Amounts you owe.
15% of your score is based on Credit History
10% of your score is based on New Credit (new accounts and recent requests)
10% of your score is based on Credit in Use (types of credit - mortgages, auto
loans, credit cards)

What is a good score?

Below 620 Poor Credit (in other words - hurting!)


620-660 You will be extended Sub-Prime financing. Still, ouch!
660-720 This is Average, but you will still be assessed higher rates.
720-750 This is Excellent. We all aspire to this.
750 + Champaign pours from the heavens. This would be a perfect score.

These numbers are not set in stone, but lenders typically go with these numbers.

In all honesty, we are shooting for 720. This "typically" is what lenders gauge
excellent credit on and will give you the best interest rates on loans.

Don't forget that the only product available with all 3 FICO scores from each of the
national credit bureaus is the MyFICO Credit Complete package from MyFICO.

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SECTION 4 - Building Your Credit

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On-time Payments are crucial

It's almost difficult for me to state what seems so obvious, but making on-time
payments on your credit cards and home/auto loans is probably the most important
credit building activity you can perform. This should include the obvious payments
for mortgages, car loans, credit cards, but also the less obvious payments like gym
memberships and movie rentals. Unless you are sure that someone is not reporting
on you, it is best to pay on time. If there is one thing that will ruin your credit
history overnight, it's making payments late. One late payment can have adverse
affects on your credit report and resulting score.

From this point on, make absolutely certain that all your revolving and installment
type debt payments get made on time. Once you make the effort to repair your
credit and achieve that dream score, you don't want to mess it up at any cost.

Revolving Credit vs. Installment Credit

Revolving credit is credit extended to you in the form of a major credit card or
department store credit card. You will be given a maximum amount that you can
charge on this card and then be assessed a minimum payment based on your
current balance due. The interest rate is determined ahead of time, typically when
you initially apply for the card. Revolving credit is a great starting point for those
trying to establish a credit history for the first time. Your revolving credit will be
displayed on your credit report. It is important to make sure you keep your
payments up to date and on time, as late payments will negatively affect your
credit score.

Installment credit is a fixed term amount and fixed term payments. Examples of an
installment account would be a student loan, an auto loan or a home loan. Like
revolving credit, your payment history will be reflected on your credit report. That
includes on time payments and late payments.

Defaulted loans on car loans and student loans, or foreclosures will remain on your
credit report for 7 to 10 years. To maintain a great credit score make sure to keep
payments on all loans on time.

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Debt to Credit Ratio

Are you the kind of person who pays off all their credit card bills at the end of each
month? You might be surprised to find out this actually has an adverse affect on
your credit. Because lenders make money by charging interest, your credit score is
derived by your ability to maintain a monthly balance and make payments over an
extended time period. This actually demonstrates to lenders your true credit
worthiness and will help raise your score if done correctly.

Lenders want to see that you can consistently over time maintain a balance and
make monthly payments. This is what is considered good credit history and will
improve your score over time. This only applies to revolving accounts like credit
cards. If you have $10,000 in credit and are maintaining a $2500 balance, this
would be a 25% ratio. Anything over 50% is considered too high and you will be
considered a risk to the lender. In fact a 30-35% balance would be ideal to
maintain to help improve your score.

Am I advocating that you keep 30-35% balance on your credit cards? Yes and no.
A good strategy might be, if you are going to be in the market for an auto loan or
mortgage loan (installment accounts), then you may want to position yourself with
the right debt to credit ratio perhaps 3 to 4 months before applying for a new loan.
This should be sufficient time to raise your credit score.

Keep just the right balance of loan types

Lenders will want to see a variety of loan types especially when applying for a
home loan. Having 2 to 3 credit cards in combination with an auto loan and on
time payments with your gym membership will demonstrate you are a good
consumer who pays his loans on time. You in fact become the ideal candidate to
extend credit to since you have demonstrated you can juggle multiple lines of
credit and make payments to each. This is yet another way to build credit and
improve your credit score.

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Using Secure Credit Cards to build Credit

For those of you familiar with golfing, you know what I mean. You step up the
first hole, the flag is 240 yards out, a small breeze from the southeast, your
backswing is perfect and....you chunk it 20 feet to the right and nail the golf cart.
Time for a mulligan. Or a "do over" as the rest of us might call it.

Improving your credit is a really a systematic process of removing the bad items
that drive your score lower, while improving or adding to those things that help
drive your score up.

One of the quickest ways to drive your score up is to maintain a small balance on
your credit card and make monthly payments (on time) over a 6 month to one year
period. If nothing else, this can have a significant affect on helping your credit
score.

However, for some folks, they can't get approved for a regular credit card. And
since this can be such a big part of your strategy to improve your credit, there is an
alternative - the Secured Credit Card.

For those of you with bad credit, or perhaps new to credit, the secured credit card
is a great place to start building credit.

A secured credit card is available to almost anyone (unless your credit is severely
bad). It works by making a deposit into a savings account or CD. This money is
unavailable to you during the time you have the card. It can earn interest and that
interest will go to you. Always check the fine print to be sure. This deposit is used
by the lender much like a security deposit on an apartment. If you fail to make
payments, the lender can draw from this to cover their losses. Don't let this happen
as not making your payments will have an adverse effect on your credit just like
any credit card. Remember, we are trying to build credit here.

Typically your credit limit will be 100% of your deposited funds. Since there is
little risk to the lender for this type of card you should be able to shop around for a
good interest rate.

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Application fees should be between $50 and $100 as well as annual fees. This
seems like a lot to give up just for a credit card, but your alternative would be to
get an unsecured card with an extremely high interest rate. In the end it may be
more advantageous to get the secured card.

Of course the most important aspect of getting a secured card is to establish credit
and begin driving your credit score higher. In that vain, you want to make sure the
card you apply for reports to all the major credit bureaus. This is the whole reason
to get a secured credit card so do your homework in choosing the rights card.
Every month as you make your monthly payments on time, they get reported to the
credit bureaus. As these new payments are the most recent, they will take
precedence over past due amounts and in time this will begin driving your score
higher!

I personally recommend getting the Horizon Gold Secure Card.

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SECTION 5 - Building Your Credit

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The Credit Secrets Bible

It’s at this time I want to introduce you to a product called the Credit Secrets Bible.
Essentially when it comes to matters of credit repair, you can do it yourself, or hire
a credit repair service. It’s really a matter of personal choice which avenue you
choose to repair and maintain your credit. Each method has its pros and cons. The
do it yourself (diy) approach will take more of your personal time, but in the long
run will cost you less. Picking the right credit repair service will get the job done
with less of your time, but will cost more out of pocket in the long run. I’m a big
advocate of the do it yourself approach because I see credit repair as something I’ll
most likely be doing the rest of my life. Think of it as a lifestyle change.

In that vain, it makes sense to me to educate myself the best that I can with credit
repair knowledge so I can do the best job. I’m not knocking credit repair services,
but I just feel when I do something for myself, I tend to get the job done better than
hiring out.

The Credit Secrets Bible is the “holy grail” of credit repair knowledge. Packed
with the latest forms, and credit repair techniques, this product will make it seem
easy as they hold your hand through the many intricate steps of credit repair. By
the time you are finished reading this you will be overwhelmed with the
knowledge you have gained. I truly felt empowered when I finished reading it
(actually after about the 3rd time because there is so much information to be
gained).

If you haven’t signed up for the Clever Credit Repair Newsletter, I urge you to do
that now.

Truly the combination of my newsletter and the Credit Secrets Bible will be all the
ammunition you will need to keep your credit “in check” for a long time to come.

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Disputes and the Fair Credit Reporting Act

Removing negative items from your credit report is a more complicated subject.
Enter the Fair Credit Reporting Act to your rescue. This law was passed to help
the consumers. The FCRA says that the consumer can dispute negative items
found on their credit card deemed to be inaccurate. Presented in the correct
fashion to the credit bureau will prompt an investigation from the credit bureau to
look into this inaccuracy.

The credit bureau then has 30 days to investigate the matter and if it can’t be
resolved than the negative item will be removed from your report.

This is one of many techniques used to remove items from your credit report, so
use it correctly. Details of this technique can be found in the Credit Secrets Bible.

Pay For Deletes

Everyday I’m in this business I hear people giving bad advice. The one piece of
bad advice that I hear the most is that you must wait 7 years to have negative credit
removed from your credit report. It really depends on the trade line in question.

Some of the ones you can’t change:

Chapter 13 Bankruptcies will remain on your credit report 7 years.


Chapter 7, 11 or 12 Bankruptcies will remain on your credit report for 10 years.
Judgments - 7 years
Paid Tax Liens - 7 years
Unpaid Tax Liens - 15 years
Foreclosures - 7 years (in rare cases, this could be removed)

If you have an unpaid collection on your credit report, then there are several
courses of action that you can take try and have the item removed from your credit
file.

If your debt has gone to a collection agency than there may be some hope to have
this negative item removed from your credit report. Hopefully you have not
already started making payments or have had any verbal or written communication
with the collection agency, or you may not be able to use this technique.

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You can try and negotiate with the collection agency verbally or by written letter
but you must ABSOLUTELY get there response in writing. I suggest that all
communication be in writing so you don’t accidentally say the wrong thing. I will
put some links to some “Pay for Delete” sample letters at the end of this post.

First, always try and negotiate to pay pennies on the dollar, and not pay in full. Let
me pause here and say that I would normally feel guilty not paying my debt in full,
but understand that the collection agency paid pennies on the dollar to get this
collection. Why should they make a profit? In your negotiation with the collection
agency, ask them for a “Pay for Delete”.

Essentially in negotiating to pay off this debt (hopefully for less than the original
amount), you are asking them to remove the trade line from your credit report
completely. Even if you have to pay the full amount, this will really help your
credit score.

The next best thing will be to get the collection marked as “Paid Satisfied”. This
won’t nearly help your credit score as much as getting it completely removed but
it’s better than “unpaid”. Some collection agencies just won’t bargain with you for
“pay for delete”, so this is next ideal situation.

Remember, you need to get something for paying the debt. If the debt has been
around for many years you might want to check the Statute of Limitations. This is
the amount of time that passes by when this debt can’t be collected upon (so no
reason to pay it). Don’t confuse this with how long it can be reported on your
credit report.

This is yet another of the many techniques used to remove items from your credit
report. Details of this technique can also be found in the Credit Secrets Bible.

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Credit Repair Services – The Lexington Law Firm

“Lexington Law is the oldest and largest attorney provider of affordable credit
repair services.”, at least that’s what there website says. Who am I to dispute that?
I have heard only good things about them, and from what I can see on their website
they have helped over ½ million clients repair their credit since they started in
1991.

Perhaps you don’t have the time to do it yourself, or you just don’t care to learn
how, a credit repair service is there to do the footwork for you. After an initial
consultation, these folks go into action quick to start the credit repair process on
your behalf. Since I’ve not tried it myself I don’t have much knowledge to convey
about the subject.

I can say that if you’re thinking of going this route I’ve only heard good things
about The Lexington Law Firm.

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SECTION 6 – Identity Theft and Maintaining your


Credit

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Credit Monitoring is the Key!

A credit monitoring service allows you to access your credit report at one or all 3
major credit bureaus. The typical service will also allow you to see your credit
score initially and then at specified time periods. You can setup alerts to notify you
of major changes to your credit file. This could mean the possibility of Identity
Theft.

Many credit monitoring services even offer Identity Theft insurance just for
signing up that helps to reimburse you monetarily for damages in case you're a
victim.

If you are in the process of repairing your credit you are going to need a copy of
your credit report from each major credit bureau. When creditors report
information to the credit bureaus about you they may or may not report to all 3
credit bureaus. This means that each credit bureau will have different credit history
information about you. It is possible to have information in your credit report that
doesn't even belong to you. This can happen quite often to people that have
common name spellings, like John Smith or Mary Jones. Even if you have a
unique name, you need to scrutinize each detail on your credit reports from each
credit bureau. You will be surprised how many mistakes you can find.

You can order your credit report from each credit bureau, but an easier solution is
to order a 3 bureau credit report from just one service. The format of each report
will be identical making it easier to spot the differences between each credit report.

As you begin the credit repair process, you will want to monitor your FICO score
as it pertains to each credit bureau. The FICO score is the score most commonly
used by lenders in approving credit applications. Each of the 3 major credit
bureaus has its own FICO score based on the way it maintains credit information
about consumers. For this reason you will want to know what your FICO score is
at all 3 credit bureaus. As an example, if you apply for credit from ABC Credit
Card knowing your FICO score at Experian is 725, but they check your FICO
score at Trans Union which is 680, you may not get a favorable interest rate. The
only service that provides FICO scores and credit reports from all 3 major credit
bureaus is MyFICO, the consumer division of the company that created the FICO
score. By monitoring your FICO score you will be able to determine if your efforts
of credit repair are making any kind of impact.

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When you have achieved good credit it is also a good idea to monitor your FICO
scores and credit reports. You don't want all that effort of establishing good credit
to be wasted. And it's much easier to keep good credit than to have to repair it all
over again.

By setting up alert monitors you can be notified of major changes in your credit
file via email. This can be a good indication someone is trying to steal your
identity or that something else major has happened that requires your attention. It's
one of the great features of a credit monitoring service so take the time to set them
up.

Most credit monitoring services offer Identity Theft insurance that can pay you up
to $25,000 in damages incurred my stolen identity.

The 10 Steps to Avoid Identity Theft

I remember logging on to my bank account one day to see a negative $800 balance.
I immediately called the bank and they told me I wrote too many checks. I replied
back "I don't even use this checking account, it's for a rental property!”.

Identity Theft victim number 2,375,394,293

Someone had stolen the checkbook from my truck a couple of weeks earlier. I
hadn't even noticed since I didn't really use the account. They wrote several bad
checks. Luckily for me the bank ruled in my favor, but I still needed to fax several
documents to about 20 different stores to get them to stop harassing me.

That's one of hundreds or thousands of ways people can make money from you and
wreck your credit history, or worse. It's called Identity Theft and it's growing at a
troublesome rate.

Here are some steps you can take to try and avoid this happening to you:

1. Shred Everything
If you think it has even a hint of information that someone might use to
steal your identity, don't hesitate to shred it. Shredders are common place
items now in homes and office. You can buy a shredder for less than $20 at
any office supply store. It's worth the price. I shred everything including the
envelope they come in. Especially any kind of statements, bills, receipts and
especially credit card offers.

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2. Remove your name from the lists


Remove your name from the lists offered up by the credit bureaus to
lenders with your credit information contained in it. I have given
instructions later in this guide with instructions on how to do this.

3. Don't carry your credit cards


Don't carry your credit cards on you unless absolutely necessary. And by all
means, don't ever carry any PIN numbers in your wallet or purse. Credit
cards should be left at home if at all possible. And perhaps locked in a safe.

4. Monitor your Credit Report


Credit monitoring services allow you to monitor your credit scores and your
credit reports from all the major credit bureaus. You can even be notified
by phone or email if something dramatic changes on your credit that could
be construed as Identity Theft. Check out MyFico for great credit
monitoring solutions.

5. Guard your Social Security Number


Absolutely do not carry around your Social Security Number card with you
at any time. Be very careful who you give out your number to, and ask if it's
really necessary if they have it. Just use your best judgment before giving it
out too easily.

6. Photocopy all the contents of your wallet


This includes credit cards, drivers licenses, etc. Make sure to get both sides,
expiration dates, account numbers, customer support phone numbers. This
way, in the event your wallet is stolen, you can very quickly cancel or
suspend these accounts or notify the proper officials.

7. Cancel unused Credit Cards


If you have credit cards that you aren't using, and that you haven't
established a credit history with, you should cancel these. Some folks save
these for a rainy day, but the risk of these being stolen and used before you
are aware of it is too risky. Be careful not to cancel cards that have a credit
history because it could have adverse affects on your credit.

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8. Be careful giving out Credit Card info on the phone


Know who you are dealing with on the phone. Did you call them? Have you
done business with them before? Did they call you claiming to be a business
you recognize? Are you sure? Just be careful before giving out info over the
phone.

9. Make sure to use SSL on the Ineternet


Before giving out Credit Card info or any personal information over the
web, be sure you are using SSL. You will know this when the websites URL
begins with HTTPS:// as opposed to HTTP://. If you are not sure, call the
technical support department to be sure the transaction will be safe.

10. If you have been victimized!


Place a fraud alert on your credit reports, and review your credit reports.
Fraud alerts can help prevent an identity thief from opening any more
accounts in your name. Contact the toll-free fraud number of any of the
three consumer reporting companies below to place a fraud alert on your
credit report. You only need to contact one of the three companies to place
an alert. The company you call is required to contact the other two, which
will place an alert on their versions of your report, too.

Equifax: 1-800-525-6285; www.equifax.com; P.O. Box 740241,


Atlanta, GA 30374-0241

Experian: 1-888-EXPERIAN (397-3742); www.experian.com;


P.O. Box 9532, Allen, TX 75013

TransUnion: 1-800-680-7289; www.transunion.com; Fraud


Victim Assistance Division, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA
92834-6790

Once you place the fraud alert in your file, you're entitled to order free
copies of your credit reports, and, if you ask, only the last four digits of your
Social Security number will appear on your credit reports. Once you get
your credit reports, review them carefully. Look for inquiries from
companies you haven't contacted, accounts you didn't open, and debts on
your accounts that you can't explain. Check that information, like your
Social Security number, address(es), name or initials, and employers are
correct.

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If you find fraudulent or inaccurate information, get it removed.

Close the accounts that you know, or believe, have been tampered with or
opened fraudulently.

Call and speak with someone in the security or fraud department of each
company. Follow up in writing, and include copies (NOT originals) of
supporting documents. It's important to notify credit card companies and
banks in writing. Send your letters by certified mail, return receipt
requested, so you can document what the company received and when.

Keep a file of your correspondence and enclosures. When you open new
accounts, use new Personal Identification Numbers (PINs) and passwords.

Avoid using easily available information like your mother's maiden name,
your birth date, the last four digits of your Social Security number or your
phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.

If the identity thief has made charges or debits on your accounts, or on


fraudulently opened accounts, ask the company for the forms to dispute
those transactions:

• For charges and debits on existing accounts, ask the representative to


send you the company's fraud dispute forms. If the company doesn't have
special forms, use the sample letter to dispute the fraudulent charges or
debits. In either case, write to the company at the address given for "billing
inquiries," NOT the address for sending your payments.

Once you have resolved your identity theft dispute with the company, ask
for a letter stating that the company has closed the disputed accounts and
has discharged the fraudulent debts.

This letter is your best proof if errors relating to this account reappear on
your credit report or you are contacted again about the fraudulent debt.

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File a report with your local police or the police in the community where the
identity theft took place. Then, get a copy of the police report or at the very
least, the number of the report. It can help you deal with creditors who
need proof of the crime. If the police are reluctant to take your report, ask
to file a "Miscellaneous Incidents" report, or try another jurisdiction, like
your state police.

You also can check with your state Attorney General's office to find out if
state law requires the police to take reports for identity theft. Check the
Blue Pages of your telephone directory for the phone number or check
www.naag.org for a list of state Attorneys General.

Stop Credit Card Offers Forever!

If you are like me, when I bring in the mail everyday, invariably there are a
few credit card offers. I used to just toss them out. Now, I've made sure
that I don't get them anymore, and I'll show you too. To someone trying to
steal your identity it's like gold. Simply fill it out, change the address and
they are on their way to a new credit card, IN YOUR NAME! Don't let it
happen to you.

Even if you think you won't be the candidate for Identity Theft, think of the
incredible waste of paper being generated every day by these unused offers
for credit. It must amount to tons of paper being thrown away everyday. We
owe it to globe to stop this madness, even just one person at a time.

The Fair Credit Reporting Act gives the credit bureaus permission to sell
your credit history information to credit lending companies. By default they
can sell your information if they so choose. An amendment to this act in
1990 allows for consumers to choose NOT to receive these offers. I feel it
should be the other way around....

Probably the reason I currently have 4 credit cards is due to temptation.


Offers rolling in with the ability to transfer balances from other cards, lower
interest rates, etc.

By not reading the fine print, I've been burned on this a few times. If you
feel you are susceptible to this, then another great reason to stop offers
come in is to stop the temptation of acting upon them.

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OK! ENOUGH! How do I do it?


First there is a service run by the four main credit bureaus that will get you
off their lists. This step alone should stop all "Pre-Screened" offers from
rolling into your mailbox.

This service can be contacted via two different methods:

Website: http://www.optoutprescreen.com

Phone: 1-888-5-OPTOUT

Either method should exact the required results.

Theoretically that should work with all your pre-screened offers. But you
will still most likely receive offers and "convenience" checks from any banks
or credit cards you currently are associated with.

On the back of each of your credit cards will be a customer service number.
Call each number and ask to be removed from any additional card offers,
convenience checks, phone calls, etc.

I found that when I did this, the customer service reps were very helpful in
explaining all the services and removing from each one.

Call your bank(s) customer service and ask to be removed from all credit
card offers, convenience checks, etc. also. My banks, too, were very helpful
in this matter.

This all seems very tedious and it is. But you will be surprised how that big
handful of mail everyday, becomes a small handful. You will be helping the
environment, saving yourself from temptation, and reducing your chances
of being a victim of identity theft. It's worth the effort.

Good Luck and start dialing!

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Identity Theft Services – Lifelock Identity Theft Service

There is a service out there that deals explicitly with Identity Theft. I remember
seeing the TV commercial for the first time where the owner proudly presents his
social security number on the side of a bus. He didn’t seem worried at all that the
world knows his social security number. I remember thinking this can’t be right.

Well, after some investigating on Google, I found out this really is his SSN
number. The name of the company is Lifelock Identity Services.

Again, some of these ideas, you can do yourself, like monitoring the 3 credit
bureaus for changes, but for the sake of time a service like this can do these things
for you.

For I believe $10 a month, it is cheap insurance. Plus, they have a $1 million
dollar guarantee. They take care of monitoring your credit, setting fraud alerts, etc.
They say it well on their website, “sure you can change your own oil, but most of
have specialists do it for us. It’s the same with Identity Theft….”.

I suggest at least checking out Lifelock Identity.

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SECTION 7 – Debt Consolidation Services

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Don’t fall for it!

I wish I could tell you there was a magical way to make your debts go away. The
truth is that there really is no way to take all your debts, consolidate them,
negotiate the whole enchilada down to a few hundred bucks and pay it all off in
$10 payments in the next 6 months.

The truth is most of these services will consolidate your payment into on payment
that very often is a higher interest rate average than what your paying now, plus
stick in a nice fee every month to themselves. The reason the interest rate is higher
is because you are a credit risk to them. If your credit was great you would get a
good interest rate. Most likely however you are in debt because you are behind in
your payments, and therefore most likely your credit rating is no good. I haven’t
met too many people with major debt and great credit.

Do it yourself debt consolidation is an option

Like everything I advocate in this guide, doing things yourself will yield the best
results. But consolidating your own debt is going to require discipline on your
part. It won’t be easy because most likely it’s lack of discipline that got you into
your debts to begin with. I’m hoping to arm you with enough ideas to tricks to
make this easy for you. Ok, let’s get going with this.

Honestly your best bet is to negotiate directly with your credit card companies to
try and reduce your interest rates.

If you have equity in your home, get an equity line of credit to pay off your credit
cards. The interest rate will be much lower.

The problem I see most people get into is this. They will get an equity line of
credit for $40k. Then pay off there $30k in debt. Now they have credit cards with
an instant $30k in available credit and still have $10k in the bank remainder from
there equity line of credit. The smart thing to do here would be to pay back $10k
on their equity line of credit and cut there credit card into pieces.

Most people however will begin racking up more debt on their credit cards. Use
the $10k as a down payment on an expensive sports car and be right back where
they started plus have an additional $40k equity line of credit to manage.

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Do it yourself debt consolidation is possible, but it is going to require some serious


discipline on your part.

A few steps I personally have done.

My suggestion is to first take all your credit cards and freeze them, literally. Get
out a zip lock bag for each credit card. Fill each bag with water and place exactly
one credit card in each bag. Place in freezer. This will stop the temptation of
using the cards because they won’t be in your wallet when you see something on
sale when you happen to be walking through Nordstrom during one of there many
half yearly sales.

If in the case of an emergency, you do need a credit card, pull one out of the
freezer and let it thaw. Do not use a microwave oven to thaw out your credit card
or you will destroy it. By keeping each one its own bag, you now won’t have all of
your credit cards back in your wallet/purse again, just one. Hint: refreeze it to
avoid any temptations.

Since this guide isn’t about Debt Consolidation you can look for further tips and
ideas on debt consolidation on the Clever Credit Repair website.

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In Summary

Well, we have covered a lot of information. I really hope this helps you get started
on the road to credit repair. Credit Repair is not really just fixing your credit, it’s
really about keeping your credit in good standing at all times. As you move
through life, this will literally save you tens of thousands of dollars in interest on
home loans, refinances, car loans, school loans and credit card interest.

Please check in with me at http://www.CleverCreditRepair.com. You will always


find new articles and interesting reading on the topic of credit repair.

I wish you the best life has to offer,

William Lingle

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