Credit report

Monitor money laundering alerts and “corrections” to credit reports

Have you laundered money recently?

You could be accused of doing this if you’re the target of a scam that has resurfaced recently after doing the rounds last year.

The scam centers on a call in which fraudsters accuse people of laundering money or engaging in other illegal activities through their financial accounts. The end goal is to steal money or personal information, according to the Identity Theft Resource Center – idtheftcenter.org.

The callers pretend to be agents of the Department of Homeland Security and use scare tactics to press their charges.

The fake agent reads a list of common banks until victims confirm which one they are using. Once the caller has the account details, the information can be used to drain funds from the account or “to commit a series of different identity crimes on your behalf,” the resource center says.

Please be aware that DHS and other investigative agencies do not call the phone to request sensitive information, or solicit money over the phone.

If you receive such a call, hang up. You can report it to the Inspector General of Homeland Security at oig.dhs.gov/hotline or by calling 1-800-323-8603.

How to fix your credit: A recent lawsuit filed by the US Department of Justice is a good reminder that people looking to repair their credit can be vulnerable to scam schemes.

The lawsuit accuses Texas-based Turbo Solutions Inc., doing business as Alex Miller Credit Repair, of misrepresenting itself by telling consumers it can remove negative information from their credit reports. The lawsuit alleges the company charged an initial fee of $1,500 until a federal judge issued an injunction against the company.

People hire credit repair companies to help them investigate errors in their credit reports, which include information about your loan and credit card history and whether you pay your bills on time.

This information is sold to companies who use it to decide whether to lend you money, offer you insurance, or rent or sell you a home. Credit reports can affect how much you pay to borrow money.

But a third-party company you hire on your behalf can’t get “accurate and timely” negative information removed from reports, the FTC says.

“Only time and a debt repayment plan will fix your credit,” the agency says. “You can improve your credit by showing over time that you can pay your debts on time.”

As for inaccuracies, you can dispute them, as well as outdated information, free of charge by contacting both the credit bureau and the company that reported the information.

Those tempted to hire a credit repair company should also be aware that it is illegal to be charged a fee before seeking help and that the company must explain your legal rights in a written contract.

The following are red flags, according to the FTC:

• You are told not to contact the credit bureaus directly.

• The representative does not explain your legal rights when he tells you what he can do for you.

• You are told to lie on credit or loan applications.

• You are asked to pay in advance.

• You are told to dispute information on a credit report that you know is accurate.

Contact Ellen Marks at [email protected] or 505-823-3842 if you know what looks like a scam. To report a scam to law enforcement, contact the New Mexico Division of Consumer Protection toll-free at 1-844-255-9210, prompt 5. Complaints may be filed electronically at nmag.gov/file-a-complaint.aspX.