Targeting desperate peopleCredit-repair companies target people who desperately want a car,a house, insurance or even a job but have bad credit. Thesepeople are lured by ads claiming, “We can erase your bad credit– 100-percent guaranteed.”They wrongly claim they can erase information from your creditreport.If you feel you need to seek repair for your bad credit, keep inmind: By Michael RupuredUniversity of GeorgiaOnly serious effort, time and a good debt-repayment plan can helprepair bad credit. Unfortunately, many companies want people tobelieve otherwise. These companies make false claims about credit repair. Peoplebelieve these claims, pay the companies money and find themselveswith the same bad credit.In many cases, the credit-repair company may encourage you tocommit a crime by asking you to create a federal ID number.Basically, they’re asking you to create a new identity, which isillegal. Credit-repair companies are not allowed to make false claimsabout their services.They can’t charge you until services are complete.They can’t perform any services until they have your signatureand have completed a three-day waiting period.Inaccurate information can be removed at no cost by reportingthe error to the credit-reporting agency.It’s illegal to create a new identity to get credit.Sometimes self-help may be the best option. There is a simple, free solutionThe secret to improving your credit rating is simple and free.First, pay your bills on time. Next, report discrepancies to thecredit bureau, reduce the amount you owe and close unused linesof credit.And remember to get a copy of your credit report at least once ayear. You can do so by contacting the three national creditbureaus: Equifax, 1-800-685-1111; Experian, 1-888-397-3742; andTransunion, 1-800-916-8800.In some states, including Georgia, you can request two freereports a year from each bureau.