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March 11, 2021
Avoid These Credit Repair Scams: “Credit Cleaning” Using CPNs is Fraud
If you’re looking to build (or rebuild) your credit history, you might be on the lookout for advice about how to improve your credit score. You may even seek the paid services of a credit repair company. While there are indeed several things you can do to raise your credit score, most of the time, these fixes take time and consistency, so a company advertising a quick fix to your score may be looking to take advantage. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a warning about scams targeting consumers with credit troubles. Be wary of these credit repair scams.
“New credit identity”? That’s fraud.
If a company operates by helping you hide poor credit history or past negative events, like bankruptcy, they may be running a credit repair scam based on fraud and identity theft.
Here’s how the scam goes:
They claim they can wipe out your past mistakes, and they may even lie and tell you it’s above-the-board and legal. They say they’ll provide you with a nine-digit number, a Credit Profile Number (CPN), that will function as a new Social Security number to help you hide your credit history. Or, they’ll have you apply for a new Employer Identification Number (EIN) with the IRS and tell you to use that or the CPN when applying for new credit. So, what’s happening here? Identity theft.
These companies are selling stolen Social Security numbers, often stolen from children, according to the FTC. When you use a stolen number, you’d be involved in identity theft, and any attempt to misrepresent your credit history or provide untrue information on credit applications is fraud. By partaking in such activities, you’d risk prosecution for these crimes.
Big red flags: spotting a scam
At this point, you might be wondering, “How can I tell if credit assistance services are real or a scam?”
Here are a few ways to spot a fraudulent credit repair company:
- They claim to provide an overnight boost to your credit score, especially if they ask you to pay for it. Credit scores cannot be “repaired” or “boosted” overnight.
- They tell you to dispute accurate and true information on your credit report.
- They advise you not to contact the credit reporting companies or your financial institution directly.
- They advise you to give false information on loan or credit applications.
- They neglect to explain your legal rights to you when they describe their services.
- They say they’ll provide a new social security number, a CPN or other nine-digit identification number to use instead of your own Social Security number.
Your credit rights
When it comes to credit repair, the Credit Repair Organization Act (CROA) provides protection for consumers seeking credit repair services. CROA makes it illegal for credit repair companies to lie or misrepresent the scope of their services or to charge you prior to completing the service. According to the FTC, this law requires credit repair companies to explain:
- Your legal rights in a written contract that details the services they’ll complete
- Your right to cancel within three days without any charge
- The projected timeline to see results
- The total cost you will pay
- Any guarantees
Do you believe you’ve been a victim of credit repair fraud or a credit repair scam?
File a complaint online at ftc.gov/complaint or call 1-877-FTC-HELP.
How to Find Your Routing & Account Numbers
When you make a payment online, by phone or on a mobile device, you may be asked for our routing number and your checking account number. Credit unions and banks use these numbers to identify accounts and make sure money gets where it’s supposed to be. You’ll also need to provide your routing and checking account numbers for:
- Direct deposits
- Electronic checks
- Military allotments
- Wire transfers
Where to Find Your Routing & Checking Account Numbers
Your personal checks include both our routing number and your account number, as shown on the Grow check example below.
Don’t have a Grow check? No worries.
Visit any Grow store and ask for a Direct Deposit Form. It lists both your routing number and checking account number.
Making a Loan Payment
When it comes to making payments, we try to make it as painless as possible to pay your loan every month. We have several different ways to pay, including convenient online options.
You have two ways to pay online by transferring funds from another bank or credit union.
- Grow Online Banking (Preferred payment method for any loan)
This is the simplest way to pay your loan. You can make one-time payments or set up automatic recurring payments in Grow Online Banking. Once you log in, select “Transfer/Payments” from the menu. If you’re not enrolled in Grow Online Banking yet, you can set up your account in just a few minutes.
- Debit Card or ACH (Available for auto, personal loans and HELOCs)
Note: ACH and debit card payments are not available for credit cards or most mortgages, except HELOCs.
We accept ACH payments with no additional fees or Mastercard® and Visa® debit cards with a convenience fee of $4.95. To get started with an online ACH or debit card payment, select Pay Now below.
Pay by Mail
You can also pay any Grow loan by check through the mail. Please remember to include your account number and Grow loan number on the check. (For credit card payments, please do not write your 16-digit credit card number on the check, which can cause a delay in processing the payment.)
Address for auto, credit card, personal loan and HELOC payments:
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 75466
Chicago, IL 60675-5466
Address for personal first or second mortgages and home equity payments:
Grow Financial Federal Credit Union
P.O. Box 11733
Newark, NJ 07101-4733