Saturday, May 27, 2006

How I Became My Own Consumer Credit Counseling Service And Bounced Back From My Bad Credit Nightmare (part 3, continued)

I'm actually presenting it for the same perverse reasons that underlie my morbid attraction to women whose eyes tell me they're rotten, scathing witches who want nothing more than to chew me up and spit me out after they've expertly inflicted severe emotional, spiritual and psychological damage.

A little walk on the wild side, the dark side, you know, "in the destructive element immerse" and all that.

Common sense tells you you're walking a frigging thin line with this kind of thing - well, stepping over the line, actually - and if you get caught you could open yourself to prosecution for fraud. Don't do this whole credit a new credit file thing at home, kids. You could get in serious trouble.

Let's face it, if a person has gotten to the point of thinking about drumming up a new social security number, that person is desperate, that person is in dire straits. That's a pretty sad situation.

But it's also a pretty sad commentary on the uncocmpromising nature of corporate credit machine when everyday people, the cogs in the machine, feel compelled to even consider such drastic measures as a way out. Once the wheels of the Big Three start turning, those wheels are virtually irreversible. They grind you to a pulp in short order, and you spend years of your life trying to put the pieces back together again. When they get through with you, son, you're a faceless cipher, a statistic that happens to have a name. Ask me. I know first hand ... (to be continued)

How I Became My Own Consumer Credit Counseling Service And Bounced Back From My Bad Credit Nightmare (part 2, continued)

Why even talk about something like raising your credit rating by starting a new credit file? Because there are better ways your money could be spent if you’re really concerned with things like improving your credit, raising your FICO score, and cleaning up your act. There are better ways but people won't believe it unless they're given proof.

Let's face it, there's something about the idea of creating a new credit file that spreads a dark, mysterious allure in the realm of the imagination. Once you know the truth, that kind of stuff no longer has the capacity to hold you in thrall.I also like to imagine that TransUnion, Experian and Equifax would mightily disapprove of my revealing such information, and any action they would disapprove of is one that I feel obligated to embrace.

See, I got my rump kicked by The Big Three - TransUnion, Equifax and Experian - and all those rapacious banks and corporations dangling Mastercards and Visas before my eyes, corporations highly skilled in the ancient art of usury, and my feeling is, I don't owe them a damned thing. And yes, I'll be the first to admit that I'm the one who got myself in trouble. After all, MasterCard and Visa and Amex didn't twist my arm to make me apply for their plastic. But they also made sure that I knew I wasn't going to get far without that plastic.

They paid millions of advertising dollars to make sure I knew without a shadow of a doubt that nobody, and I mean nobody, goes far without plastic. Those millions of advertising dollars created campaigns that vividly dramatized the ultimate desirability of plastic in ways that were exquisite and almost heartbreaking.

The desire for plastic and what it represents was a brilliantly engineered fiction animated by ad campaigns, but it also turned out to be true in "real life": nobody gets anywhere without plastic. Ask Donald Trump. Ask Microsoft, General Motors, Haliburton or any company that uses leverage to build or fortify their financial position. Ask the U.S. government.

By exposing you to the How To Start A New Credit File info, I'm not advocating that you act on it. I'm presenting it as a look at the lengths to which a desperate person feels compelled to travel in order to extricate herself from the prison of a bad credit record. I'm presenting it for strictly educational reasons.

I'm presenting it because I was always curious about it, and you probably are too. Every time I saw an ad, I wondered whether or not it was a scam. How the devil would you go about creating a new credit file? I'd been seeing that ad, it seems, since I was a snot-nosed bandy-legged kid and I always wanted to know. And you know as well as I did that the people selling the information charge a couple hundred bucks for it, so that was a hefty price to pay just to satisfy your curiosity. But I broke down and paid and now I know. And now you're going to know, too ... (consumer credit counseling, to be continued)

How I Became My Own Consumer Credit Counseling Service And Bounced Back From My Bad Credit Nightmare (part 1)

Bad credit, a lousy FICO score, a credit report that haunts you, dogs you. Bankruptcy, a bottomless pit of debts, creditors tenacious as pit bulls – yeah, I learned about bad credit the hard way and I’ve here to tell the ugly tale: How TransUnion, Equifax and Experian kicked my rump and taught me the meaning of the words shame, insomnia and regret.

This is my story and it's part sordid diary, part confessional, part gory catharsis.

Actually, my story fits right in with one of the classic themes of great literature. You know what theme I'm talking about - the heartbreaking journey from the blameless world of innocence to the tainted world of experience. My slow descent from financial solvency to fiscal flatline. Loss! Humiliation! Sleepless nights! Feelings of inadequacy!

I’ve been so intimately acquainted with all that emotional wreckage that I could have, and probably should have, run out and started a support group. Call it SCA - Screwed-Up Credit Anonymous. I know there are thousands, tens of thousands, maybe millions of people who would attend. But SCA doesn't really have a ring to it, so what I will do is talk like I'm behind a support group podium and share what I learned the hard way.

I'm going to start with the juicy, controversial stuff first, like discussing how some desperate people decide to raise their credit rating by starting a new credit file with a new social security number (because inquiring minds want to know whether it's a scam and, if it is, exactly how the devil a scam like that works) and then I'll talk about the more tried-and-true methods for repairing your credit: requesting your credit report, learning what your FICO score means, identifying erroneous entries on your report, how to dispute those erroneous entries - everything you need to do to raise your FICO score, get those damaging entries in your credit history deleted, and clean-up and repair your reeking credit.

You can trust me on all this stuff. Why? Not because I profess to be some kind of guru or expert on all things credit related. But because, baby, I've been there. I bottomed out, survived, and bounced back ... (consumer credit counseling, to be continued)