Though you can illegally change your credit score by paying a hacker to change it for you or inventing a new “credit identity,” these are dangerous and (again) illegal credit repair tactics. Rather than resorting to these methods, you can legally repair your credit score by making timely payments, reducing your credit utilization, or enlisting a credit repair company for help.
Bad credit can be a major obstacle that hinders your chances of getting a loan, renting an apartment, or even getting a job. For some people, these desperate times call for desperate measures, such as resorting to illegal measures.
Resorting to illegal credit repair tactics can sound tempting. After all, who wouldn’t want to boost their credit score fast and qualify for low-interest rates? But the reality is that changing your credit score through illegal methods is oftentimes ineffective and extremely risky. In this article, we’ll take a look at why you shouldn’t change your credit score, and explore some of the legal alternatives instead.
Why illegally changing your credit score is a bad idea
Is there a way to illegally change credit scores? Technically, yes. You could hire a hacker to change your credit score by breaking into the system and clearing bad credit records. However, while it might sound like a tempting solution to revive your poor credit score, hiring a hacker is a bad idea. Here’s why:
For one thing, it’s illegal. Under the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA), hacking into someone else’s system is a felony, so you could end up in hot water with the law if you’re caught. Even if you’re not caught, there’s no guarantee that the hacker will be able to fix your credit score.
What’s worse is that this could also put you at risk for identity theft. To “fix” your credit, the hacker would most likely request sensitive personal information from you, such as your social security number, address, birth date, and account numbers. There’s no guarantee that the hacker wouldn’t sell your data on the black market and further ruin your credit.
Legal methods to repair your credit score
There are several legal ways to repair your credit score. While these methods may not be “quick fixes,” repairing your credit score legally is the best way to ensure your private information stays private and you remain free and clear in the eyes of the law.
Seek help from credit repair companies
A credit repair company can work with you to repair your credit score and get your finances back on track. They help to identify errors on your credit report and file disputes on your behalf with the major credit bureaus. This can save you a lot of time trying to figure it out yourself.
Make sure to shop around and compare the services offered by different credit repair memberships. Also, watch for red flags such as expensive upfront fees and exaggerated promises— both are violations of the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA).
Another way to repair your bad credit is by becoming an authorized user on someone else’s credit account. This is often called “piggybacking.” When you piggyback on someone else’s account, you pass off their good credit as your own.
You can ask either your family or friends to add you to their accounts as an authorized user. Or, you can pay for a piggybacking service where you’ll be paired with a stranger who has an excellent credit score and payment history. While experts such as the Federal Trade Commission don’t typically recommend this credit repair method, you could still benefit from piggybacking if it’s done carefully.
Pay for delete
Under this arrangement, you agree to pay a collection account in exchange for the creditor to remove the account from your credit report. To request pay for delete, you’ll need to send a written letter to the collection agency or creditor.
Keep in mind that pay for delete falls in a legal gray area, which means it’s not dependable. The collection agency could agree to your proposal, but not follow through in the end. In other words, even after receiving payment, they might not remove the account from your credit report.
Ways to repair bad credit yourself
Hiring a hacker is a risky proposition that’s not worth your consideration. If you don’t have the budget, paying for credit repair services might also not make financial sense. Don’t worry, you can still achieve a good credit score by doing it yourself and without spending a fortune.
Here are some of the best legal credit repair options for anyone on a budget.
Dispute credit report errors
The credit dispute process may seem daunting, but it’s actually fairly straightforward. Keep in mind that you also have the Fair Credit Reporting Act on your side. This act requires that any lenders and credit bureaus must report accurate information.
First, request an annual free credit report from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion through AnnualCreditReport.com. Next, carefully review the report and check for any errors. If you find any, contact the credit bureau and initiate a dispute by providing supporting documentation.
After receiving your dispute letters, the credit reporting agency should begin an investigation within 30 days (45 days in some cases). If an error has indeed been made, it should promptly be corrected. This can be a very effective way to improve your credit, as even a small correction can have a significant impact on your creditworthiness.
Pay bills on time
One of the best ways to repair your credit is to be diligent about paying your bills on time. This is the “payment history” portion of your credit score, which accounts for a whopping 35% of your score calculations.
Late payments are one of the biggest red flags for creditors because it demonstrates your lack of financial stability. Not to mention that missed payments can stay on your credit report for seven years.
If you’re not great at remembering to pay bills on time, consider using a budget tracker app that has bill reminders, or setting up automatic payments.
Keep credit utilization under 30%
Your credit utilization ratio is one of the factors used to determine your credit score. Simply put, it’s the amount of debt you have compared to your credit limit.
For example, if you have a credit card with a $1,200 limit and you owe $600, your credit utilization would be 50%. Ideally, you want to keep your credit utilization below 30%. This shows lenders that you’re only using a small portion of your available credit, and that you aren’t overextended.
Pay down existing debt
Though your debt-to-income ratio doesn’t directly affect your credit score, most lenders will still take it into account when determining your eligibility for a loan.
To improve your creditworthiness — apart from improving your credit score — you should also work on paying down existing debt. By doing so, you’ll lower your debt-to-credit ratio, and show potential lenders that you’re a responsible borrower.
Is there a way to fake your credit score?
Without committing fraud, there’s no easy way to fake your credit score. The best thing you can do is focus on building up your credit history and improving your credit score the right way. If you do this, you should see your score gradually improve over time. Though you can’t boost credit your score overnight, your effort will eventually pay off.
How do I drastically change my credit score?
While there’s no easy answer when it comes to rapidly boosting your credit score, taking some simple steps can make a noticeable difference over time.
As mentioned above, you can pay to have professionals repair your credit for you, or you can take the more economic route and do it yourself. Either way, to drastically improve your credit score and maintain it long-term, you must be intentional about the way you manage your finances. Whether that’s paying your bills on time, tracking your monthly expenses, or keeping your credit utilization low.
As long as you’re taking all the right steps toward improving your credit, having a near-perfect FICO score will no longer be a distant dream.
Is it true that after seven years your credit is clear?
Not always. Though most negative information on credit reports will disappear after seven years, some information can stay on your report for even longer.
For example, depending upon the type of bankruptcy you’ve filed, this record could leave a stain on your credit history for up to 10 years.
- Changing your credit score illegally can result in serious consequences, such as identity theft and legal trouble.
- If you find errors on your credit report that are bringing your credit score down, be sure to file a dispute with the credit bureaus.
- There’s no way to fake your credit score without breaking the law. Instead of taking the illegal route, try to repair your credit score yourself by managing your finances wisely and improving your credit habits.
- If you need help with credit repair, you can turn to credit repair professionals to guide you through the process. Make sure to do your research beforehand to find the company that best suits your needs.
Start repairing your credit score now
If you have a less-than-ideal credit history, the best thing to do is take action and legally repair your credit. This may require some effort on your part, but it’s worth it in the end. Remember, don’t resort to illegal tactics to fix your credit, as this could lead to disastrous consequences. Instead, focus on making payments on time, and managing your finances wisely.
If you need help repairing your credit, you could consider paying a reputable credit repair company to do the heavy lifting. Be sure to compare services and fees before choosing the best credit repair company for you.
View Article Sources
- Don’t Be Misled by Companies Offering Paid Credit Repair Services — Consumer Financial Protection Bureau
- Fixing Your Credit FAQs — Federal Trade Commission
- What is the Quickest Way to Fix Your Credit Score? — SuperMoney
- How to Improve Your Credit Score — SuperMoney
- Is FICO The Only Credit Score I Need To Worry About? — SuperMoney
- Paid Vs. Free Credit Reports — SuperMoney
- 10 Important Things You Have To Know About The Recent FICO Credit Score Changes — SuperMoney
- Best Credit Repair Companies | June 2022 — SuperMoney