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Teen entrepreneur wants to help fix your credit

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CLAYTON, Mo. — Months after his May graduation from McCluer North High School, Michael Gregory is about to begin attending St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley. He’s not old enough to buy a beer, but he knows how to improve your credit score.

“I’m going to school to become an actuary, so I’m going to school for actuarial science,” said Gregory, referring to the use of mathematics and statistical methods to assess risk in insurance, finance, and other industries.

After class most days, Gregory will report to work at a credit repair company. At his age he could be an intern, except that it’s Gregory’s company, Gregory and Jacobs Credit Services, located in a Clayton high rise with a great view.

Because Gregory looks older than his age, some of his clients are surprised when they learn their credit repairman is 18.

“They’re pretty much shocked when I tell them my age because they think I’m older,” said Gregory. Some people think I’m 27 years old and I say ‘I’m just 18 years old.’”

Gregory’s first client was his grandmother. It’s likely her creditors didn’t realize they were negotiating with a 15-year-old.

“I noticed that she was struggling financially,” said Gregory. “She said, ‘hey, my credit cards are up to the limit.’ I wrote some letters and got a lot of late fees waived, a lot of interest reduced on her account, and a comfortable payment plan for her which she could really afford.”

The teen entrepreneur said he wants to help people.

“The majority of my clients have a FICO score below 550,” said Gregory. “The majority of the time, my clients, at the completion of my services, those are upwards of past 700 FICO score.”

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Credit Repair Companies

Exchanging One Business World For Another, Timo Wilson Shows That You Can Find Success No Matter What You Do If You Have The Right Mindset –

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Credit Repair Companies

Introducing Identistopp — The Only Credit Repair Company Dedicated to Helping Victims of Identity Theft

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CORONA, Calif., Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Credit card debt and identity theft are two of the most common issues faced by Americans. Although many victims of identity theft are all too familiar with damaged credit scores as a result, there simply isn’t a single company offering solutions that address both of these problems simultaneously. Or rather, there wasn’t a single service provider offering credit repair assistance for victims of identity theft — until now.

“Identistopp is designed exclusively for those who have suffered credit losses and incurred debt as a consequence of their identity theft victimization,” said [Founder], the founder and developer of the Identistopp concept and its eventual translation into a company.

Given the frequent overlap between identity theft and credit card fraud, it’s somewhat surprising that Identistopp is the first company of its kind. Launched in 2020, it only just recently began offering its services to the public, but considering the relatively awful year that so many individuals have had, from the coronavirus pandemic to political and economic turmoil, their services really couldn’t have come at a better time.

About Identistopp — Not Your Average Credit Repair Agency

You may be thinking, “Aren’t credit repair and debt consolidation companies a dime a dozen?” That’s perfectly fair, and the industry is indeed saturated with far too many “solutions” for credit recovery, in a general sense — especially because many of these companies focus less on helping the clients and prioritize padding their own pockets instead.

But Identistopp, as mentioned, is different from these general credit repair service companies, and the corporate differences seem to be most prevalent in two ways.

“First, we’re not just a website or a financial algorithm,” said [Founder] during an interview about the company’s public launch in November. “Identistopp is more of a management and consultant team, working together for the client to represent them accurately and beneficially in their interactions with creditors.”

And the second difference? They don’t work with just anyone. Identistopp was created specifically for and offers services exclusively to victims of identity theft who have incurred damage to their finances as a direct result of the offense.

Identistopp Services — They Don’t Stop At Debt Consolidation

You get the idea: Identistopp is the first credit repair company for victims of identity theft. Big whoop, right? But what can they actually do for the average consumer who happens to be (or is likely to be) a victim of identity theft and related financial injuries? What can Identistopp do for your credit or debt situation?

Essentially, Identistopp’s services are designed to lessen the burdens of credit score recovery and debt management following identity theft and fraudulent financial activity. Criminal victimization and financial loss are bad enough on their own, but when the two combine as a direct result of one or the other, it can quickly become too much work (and stress) for anyone to handle on their own.

In addition to strategizing your financial recovery plan of action, Identistopp offers ongoing support and professional representation services for any meetings or negotiations with creditors, financial institutions, collectors, and the like.

Other services include optimization of your identity theft protection measures, which include optimizations such as securing your passwords, logins, and other sources of sensitive personal information that criminals can use to commit fraud.

What services Identistopp provides will vary on a case-by-case basis, given the complexities and circumstantial nature of a double-edged issue such as this one.

Contact Information
Lamont
Phone: 213-910-1823
Email: [email protected]
https://identistopp.com/services/

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What You Need to Know to Fix Your Credit

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To hear Steve Weisman tell it, credit repair is part police work and part legal expertise.

“Legitimate credit repair companies,” Weisman says, “are knowledgeable about finding mistakes in credit reports and knowing how to provide evidence sufficient to persuade the credit reporting agencies to remove such false information.”

While it may not qualify as an episode on NCIS, Weisman, who is a noted lawyer, college professor, and one of the country’s leading experts in cybersecurity, identity theft and scams, paints a picture of a process not unlike a criminal investigation. In this case, the “crime” involves damage to you and your credit caused by false information.

Weisman, author of 50 Ways to Protect Your Identity and Your Credit, agreed to an exclusive interview with Investopedia on the subject of credit repair including how to find and hire the right credit repair agency or even whether to attempt to repair your credit on your own.

Defining Credit Repair

Investopedia: Let’s start with the basics. What, exactly, is credit repair?

Weisman: Credit repair is the process by which incorrect negative information on your credit report is removed from your credit report which will result in your credit score going up. A poor credit score can affect your ability to get a loan, rent an apartment, get a job, purchase insurance and more.

It is important to emphasize that no credit repair agency can legally remove accurate negative information from your credit report although there are a number of companies that attempt to do that. By law negative information stays on your credit report for seven years and bankruptcies for ten years.

Investopedia: Is this something credit repair companies only can do or can people repair their credit by removing incorrect information themselves?

Weisman: Credit repair companies help people get inaccurate information removed from their credit reports. They have no more power or authority to do that than individual people do, but some people prefer to have credit repair companies do the work for them.

Initiating Credit Repair

Investopedia: How does the credit repair process start? How do you know you may even be a candidate for credit repair?

Weisman: If you get your credit score and it is not particularly good, you can hire a credit repair company to go through your credit report to determine what was the cause for the low score.

Credit Repair versus Credit Counseling

Investopedia: We often see ads on TV for credit counseling. Is that the same as credit repair or different?

Weisman: Different. Credit counseling agencies attempt to negotiate plans with your creditors to accept reduced payments. Some of these companies are partially funded by the credit card companies themselves who see this as a win-win situation for their customers and themselves.

However, these credit counseling agencies are not credit repair companies. Credit repair companies work for their individual clients who hire them to correct their credit reports and thereby enhance their credit scores.

Investopedia: So, do credit repair companies ever offer credit counseling or vice versa?

Weisman: Credit repair companies do not generally provide credit counseling and vice versa. They each perform separate services.

The Effectiveness of Credit Repair

Investopedia: Does credit repair really work? In other words, are credit repair companies effective at what they do?

Weisman: Legitimate credit repair companies can do a good job of working with the major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian and TransUnion, to remove false negative information from your credit report and consequently increase your credit score.

Many credit reports have mistaken information that can reduce your credit score. Among the mistaken information that commonly appears on credit reports are accounts that are behind in payment that do not belong to you, bankruptcies of other people with similar names, misspellings of names that result in someone else’s negative information appearing on your report, negative information that is more than seven years old and debts that cannot be validated and verified.

Investopedia: Do credit repair companies only work with credit reporting agencies or do they sometimes work with creditors or others in the chain?

Weisman: While generally credit repair companies primarily work with credit reporting agencies, they also may work directly with creditors in order to have the creditors change what they report to the credit reporting bureaus. Credit repair companies may work extensively with creditors in order to induce them into correcting inaccurate information reported to the credit reporting bureaus or to negotiate a settlement with the creditor by which the creditor reports to the credit reporting bureaus that particular debts have been paid satisfactorily.

Credit Repair Timeline and Cost

Investopedia: Once the process of credit repair starts, how long does it generally take?

Weisman: How long credit repair takes depends on how much needs to be corrected and how promptly the credit reporting agencies respond to requests to correct the reports.

The law requires credit reporting agencies to investigate claims of mistakes and respond within 30 days of receiving notice by someone trying to fix their credit report, however, sometimes this time period can be extended if the credit reporting agencies require more information or documentation to complete their investigation. It is not unusual for credit repair to take many months to be completed.

Investopedia: What’s the cost of using a credit repair company?

Weisman: Legitimate credit repair companies will typically charge monthly fees of between $79 and $129 and some charge a set- up fee.

Evaluation and Regulation Credit Repair Companies

Investopedia: Who regulates credit repair companies and how does a consumer know if a particular credit repair company is legit?

Weisman: The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) regulates credit repair companies and is the place consumers should go if they have a problem with a credit repair company. In order to determine if a credit repair company is legitimate, you should check with the FTC to see if any complaints or legal actions have been made against them.

Investopedia: What about legislation or laws that protect people from scam credit repair companies?

Weisman: The Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) requires credit repair companies to provide you with a written contract that details the services they will perform for you and explain your rights under the law, notify you of a three day right to cancel your contract with the credit repair company, inform you of how long it will take to perform their services and explain in detail the total cost to you.

Most importantly, they cannot charge you before they have completed their services. This is the biggest indication of a scam credit repair company. The scammers generally charge large upfront fees before they perform any services.

Investopedia: Is there anything else about the CROA guidelines people should know?

Weisman: The CROA also provides you with the right to sue in federal court a credit repair company that violates the law and obtain not just compensatory damages (money to compensate you for your losses), but also punitive damages (money to punish and deter the scammers from harming other people).

The End of the Process

Investopedia: How can you tell that your credit has been repaired?

Weisman: You can determine if your credit has been repaired by checking your credit reports and credit scores with each of the three major credit reporting agencies, however, you should regularly follow up checking your credit report and credit scores because sometimes inaccurate information that harms your credit score is removed after being disputed, but reappears on your credit report thereby lowering your score later.

Alternatives to Hiring a Credit Repair Company

Investopedia: Are there alternatives to using a credit repair company?

Weisman: The alternative to using a credit repair company is to do it yourself. Again it is important to note that a credit repair service cannot do anything that you cannot do for yourself.

Some people, however, prefer to have the work done for them rather than do it themselves particularly if they are unfamiliar with the process.

Common Misunderstandings About Credit Repair

Investopedia: What do you think are some common misunderstandings people have about credit repair?

Weisman: I believe that the most misunderstood aspect of the credit repair industry is (the belief) that true negative information can be legitimately removed from your report.

People also believe credit repair companies have more power to take actions to remove negative information from credit reports than individual consumers do. Finally, I don’t think people appreciate how much mistaken information commonly appears on credit reports.

Investopedia: Given all that, are there things credit repair companies do noticeably better than their clients can do on their own?

Weisman: Yes. Legitimate credit repair companies are knowledgeable about finding mistakes in credit reports and knowing how to provide evidence sufficient to persuade the credit reporting agencies to remove such false information.

Final Thoughts

Investopedia: What should people know about credit repair that we didn’t ask?

Weisman: Credit repair is a process that should continue. Even after your credit report has been corrected and your score increased, you should regularly review your credit reports at each of the three credit reporting agencies and check your credit scores regularly so that if a problem arises, you can deal with it in a timely fashion rather than having to deal with it in an emergency such as you have applied for a loan and just learned that your credit score is low.

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