Don’t fall for credit repair scams

Local News
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If you’re looking to get your credit back on track you should steer clear of companies pitching the sale of Credit Profile Numbers, or CPNs, warns Attorney General James D. “Buddy” Caldwell. 

A CPN is a nine-digit number, that appears to look like a Social Security number, illegally sold to consumers with the promise of erasing bad credit.

Attorney General Caldwell said credit repair scammers often tell consumers to apply for credit using the CPN,
rather than their own Social Security number, and that the new number is totally legal, when in fact it’s a scam that could land consumers in prison.

“These companies may be selling stolen Social Security numbers, which could be taken from children,” Attorney General Caldwell said. “By using a stolen number as your own, the con artists will have involved you in identity theft.”

Earlier this week, Attorney General Caldwell announced the arrest of the operator of a bogus credit repair service that tricked consumers into using stolen Social Security numbers to apply for millions of dollars in loans.

Donald Batiste of Baton Rouge was charged with using his Baton Rouge-based credit repair company to engage in a pattern of racketeering activity, including theft, identity theft and money laundering.

Brenda Taylor of Carencro was also charged as part of the conspiracy.

Batiste was also ordered to cease and desist from doing business as a credit-repair service organization and from advertising credit-repair services.

Additionally, Attorney General Caldwell’s Public Protection Division provided Batiste with a Notice of Unfair Trade Practice, stating that Batiste is in violation of the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law. 

How can you tell if a credit repair service is a scam?  Attorney General Caldwell said learn the warning signs and avoid a company that:

  • Insists you pay them before they do any work on your behalf.
  • Tells you not to contact the creditor or the credit reporting companies directly.
  • Tells you to dispute information in your credit report — even if you know it’s accurate.
  • Tells you to give false information on your applications for credit or a loan.
  • Doesn’t explain your legal rights when they tell you what they can do for you.

If you have a problem with a credit repair company, report it to Attorney General Caldwell’s Consumer Protection Section at (800) 351-4889.

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