Far too many Americans these days are buried in credit debt. It's no wonder then that so many Americans fall prey to empty and costly promises.
Daniel Duke from Texas has never lived in California, but his credit report dinged him for unpaid water and utility bills here.
"I was real frustrated. I called the credit company. And they said send us $1,200 and we'll take care of it," said Duke.
He sent in $900, but his credit report never changed. Authorities announced a nationwide crackdown on 36 credit repair companies accused of making false promises. Lydia Parnes is with the bureau of consumer protection.
"The fact is no person and no company can legally remove accurate and timely information from a credit report," said Lydia Parnes, the Bureau of Consumer Protection director.
By law bad marks on your credit remain on your report for seven to 10 years. If you do find mistakes on your credit report, you can fix it yourself and for free. Erica Sandberg of San Francisco is the author of "Expecting Money."
"You write the letters, you contact the credit reporting agencies. It's so quick. It's so easy and it's free," said Sandberg.
The bottom line is don't expect to improve your score overnight.
"There is no magic bullet to raise their credit score from 550 to 720. When they pay someone hundreds or thousands of dollars to improve your credit score, consumers are most likely throwing their money away," said Gayle Weller, from the California Attorney General's Office.
Consumer Credit Counseling of San Francisco, is one of many federally approved non-profit credit counseling agencies in the Bay Area. Those agencies are your best source for help.
"Non-Profit organizations are the only way to go," said Duke.