Attempting to claw your way out of debt and past credit issues is frustrating when you’re trying to earn a good credit score. Even when you do everything right, it still seems like it takes forever to see changes.
It might be tempting to take dishonest shortcuts to reach a better credit score overnight, but you’ll likely find yourself battling new problems instead. We’ll cover four ways to change your credit score illegally, and why they’re risky.
Then we’ll review effective alternatives to changing your credit score legally.
1. Hire a Hacker
In recent years you’ve likely heard reports of hackers infiltrating large companies to steal the personal data and passwords of millions of customers.
You’ve probably wondered, “If they can hack in to steal my credit then why can’t they hack in to fix it?” Spy movies make a hacker’s job seem as simple as a few taps on a keyboard, but there’s much more that goes into hacking your way to good credit.
Credit bureaus and financial companies install state-of-the-art security to protect consumer information. They also employ cyber security professionals to monitor those systems around the clock for signs of attack.
So any hacker you might find to pull this off would have to break through multiple levels of security and fail-safes to get anywhere near your credit report information. Pursuing a better credit score with this method brings a good chance that both of you will be caught.
The penalty for trying to falsify credit information comes with serious criminal charges that may result in jail time or a hefty fine for you and the hacker. Since this comes with such a large risk, you can be sure that a hacking expert will charge handsomely to do this work for you.
What to Do Instead: Beat the System Legally
There are legal ways to reach an 800 credit score. Instead of hiring a hacker to change your credit score, you should take the honest route and beat the system legally. Learn the ins and outs of the credit system and make it work for you.
With a little education and consistent work around improving your credit score, you can go from bad credit to a 700+ credit score within 6-12 months. All without looking over your shoulder wondering when you’ll get caught.
The most important aspect of your credit to maintain is your payment history. It makes up 35% of the calculation for your credit score. You’ll also want to keep your credit utilization low on credit card debt as that makes up 30% of your FICO credit score.
The length of time your accounts have been open is important as well as your credit mix and the number of new credit accounts you have. Use this information and other credit basics to make a plan and get a handle on your credit reporting.
If you’re not sure where your credit scores stand, use a credit score app to get a free credit report along with tips on how you can improve.
2. Get a CPN
A CPN or credit privacy number is often presented as a solution for people with bad credit. While the use of a CPN might be necessary for some situations, it’s not a solution to hide a bad credit profile.
Typically a CPN is used by government officials or celebrities to protect their personal information, but it’s still connected to their actual credit profile and credit history.
When you’re issued a legitimate CPN from the Social Security Administration, the nine-digit number doesn’t erase any of your previous credit history. Plus, if you actually need a CPN, the Social Security Administration offers them for free.
When a crooked credit repair company suggests buying a CPN, they’ll require you to take other steps meant to create a fake identity. They’ll tell you to change the address on your driver’s license or use a new phone number or email address on credit applications. Don’t do it!
The “CPN” number they’re giving you is a Social Security number that likely belongs to a child, a deceased person, or even a prison inmate. By purchasing a CPN from a disreputable credit repair company you’re committing identity theft. That’s a federal crime.
What to Do Instead: Fix Your Own Credit
Instead of potentially facing federal charges for stealing someone’s identity, try fixing your own credit. While fixing your credit might seem like an overwhelming project, there are free tools and resources available that teach you how to do it.
Most DIY credit repair follows a basic plan such as:
- Pull and review your credit report for any errors
- Send dispute letters to the credit bureaus for any inaccurate information
- Arrange to make all of your monthly payments on time
- Pay down high-interest debt
- Keep new credit applications to a minimum
- Monitor your credit report and credit score for changes
If you simply don’t have the time, work with a reputable credit repair company to dispute any outstanding errors and get your credit scores to a better place.
A reputable credit repair company will abide by the Credit Repair Organizations Act (CROA) in the methods they use to repair your credit. They won’t ask you to get a new SSN, a CPN, or an EIN to avoid past credit mistakes.
Earning good credit this way isn’t always fast, but it’s rewarding to see your hard work reflected in a higher score.
3. Dispute Every Bad Thing On Your Credit Report
Shady credit repair companies often suggest disputing every bit of negative information on your credit report whether it’s accurate or not. Even if you’re not using a credit repair company, you might think to do the same thing out of desperation.
When you dispute everything on your credit report rather than just the wrong information, you run the risk of delegitimizing any true disputes you’re making. This can sometimes result in everything being returned as a “frivolous dispute”.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) only gives consumers the right to dispute any information on their credit report they believe to be unverifiable, inaccurate, or misleading. Accurate information shouldn’t be disputed.
While it’s not technically illegal, it won’t take you far in your quest for good credit. Even if you manage to get an accurate negative item removed, it may still reappear on your credit record once it’s verified with the creditor.
This means you’ll have wasted your time and potential money if you paid a credit repair company to do it.
What to Do Instead: Dispute Inaccuracies and Wait It Out
Instead of disputing all of the negative items on your credit report, you should only dispute the inaccurate information. This gives your dispute legitimacy. When you send the dispute, you should include any relevant documentation that proves why you’re disputing the record.
From there you’ll have to wait about 30 to 45 days for the credit bureaus to complete their investigation with the lender, debt collector, or creditor before sending you a response. They may ask for more information or decide that your dispute is valid and remove the error.
The credit reporting agency can also choose to decline the dispute altogether. If they do, you can choose to challenge the decision.
Most people think that you have to wait seven years before true bad information stops hurting your credit. That’s not true. After 2 years, late payments and other bad items on your credit report don’t hurt you very much.
There are people who achieve a 700+ credit score just two years after obtaining a bankruptcy. You can completely turn around your credit profile within just two years!
4. Buy Authorized User Tradelines
Building credit isn’t easy. If you’ve been at it for a while, you may have even encountered a credit score decrease when nothing changed in your credit file. Instances like this drive many people to find fast and easy solutions like buying tradelines.
Buying authorized user tradelines straddles the line of legality. Technically, buying authorized user tradelines isn’t illegal…yet. There are currently no federal regulations against buying authorized user tradelines. However, there is legislation being introduced to ban the practice.
The lack of solid legislation hasn’t stopped credit card issuers from prohibiting this within their terms and conditions. Credit card companies are very good at recognizing what tradeline selling and buying looks like and they’re known to shut down accounts that participate in it.
The penalties aren’t just for the seller.
If it’s discovered that you purchased a tradeline to improve your credit scores before a credit application, you’ll have your application denied or have any approvals revoked. It’s viewed as a deceptive practice that aims to defraud creditors and lenders.
When you really want that new car, home purchase, or credit card, it’s a tempting solution that seems to get you what you want. In reality, it’s dishonest and circumvents the protective aspects of the credit system. That could lead you to qualify for more debt than you can afford.
What to Do Instead: Buy Legitimate Tradelines
According to the latest credit score statistics, the average credit score for homebuyers in 2021 was a solid 731. There’s no getting around the fact that you need good credit to make things happen.
Instead of risking it all by buying expensive authorized user tradelines, try getting your own tradelines. You might think you can’t because of previous credit issues, but these tradelines are built to help you improve your credit score without putting you in debt.
- CreditStrong’s Credit Builder Loan
- Self Credit Builder
- Grow Credit
The first two are credit builder installment loans. CreditStrong is best if you’re looking for a higher loan amount with affordable payment options. They also have a revolving credit builder plan which gives you the credit reporting benefits of a credit card without the extra debt.
Self has multiple payment options to fit your budget and offers a path to a secured credit card. With both of these credit builders, your monthly payments get stored in a locked savings account until the end of the loan. So you build savings and credit instead of having debt.
BoomPay allows your monthly rent payments to be counted towards your credit score. For a small fee of $2 a month, they report each rent payment to all three credit reporting agencies. You can even pay to have the previous 24 months of rent payments reported with this service.
Grow Credit allows your monthly subscriptions to count towards your credit score. Simply choose a plan that fits your needs and Grow Credit will integrate with your bank account and issue a card with a credit limit to pay your subscriptions.
None of these options run a hard credit check and you have the option to cancel at any time.
Also read the rest of the articles from our series:
- How to Increase Your Credit Score to 800
- Can You Raise Your Credit Score 100 Points Overnight
- 800 Credit Score After Bankruptcy
Can You Cheat Your Credit Score?
There’s no way to cheat your credit score without landing yourself in serious legal trouble. All of the options to cheat your way to better credit come with criminal charges and/or monetary penalties.
How Do I Drastically Change My Credit Score?
You can drastically change your credit score by drastically changing your credit habits. You’ll find that to be true whether you try to fix your credit on your own or with the help of a reputable credit repair company.
Make significant changes to your financial habits and you’ll see a change in your credit score. If you regularly make late payments, make every effort to pay on time. If you usually pay the minimum on your revolving debt, direct some extra funds to those monthly payments.
Is It True That After Seven Years Your Credit Is Clear?
This is true in some cases but not all. For situations involving a collection account, the account will be removed from your credit report after seven years.
This isn’t always true for bankruptcies. Depending on the type of bankruptcy you filed for, it may take up to 10 years to remove the record from your credit report.
More from MediaFeed:
How closing a credit card could hurt your credit
Featured Image Credit: GCShutter.