Attorney General warns of credit repair scams in wake of big arrests
BATON ROUGE - The Attorney General's Office issued a consumer warning Thursday about credit repair scams in the wake of two arrests of individuals behind a national financial fraud scheme in Baton Rouge.
Attorney General James "Buddy" Caldwell said consumers looking to get their credit back on track should steer clear of companies pitching the sale of Credit Profile Numbers, or CPNS. A CPN is a nine-digit number that looks like a Social Security number but is illegally sold to consumers with the promise of erasing bad credit.
Just this week, 24-year-old Donald Batiste and 64-year-old Brenda Taylor were arrested based on accusations that they operated a bogus credit repair service and carried out the type of credit repair fraud that revolves around issuing CPNs.
“These companies may be selling stolen Social Security numbers, which could be taken from children,” Attorney General Caldwell said. “By using a stolen number as your own, the con artists will have involved you in identity theft.”
The Attorney General's Office says Batiste was ordered to cease and desist from doing business as a credit repair service organization and from advertising his services, but Caldwell cautions consumers to be alert of similar schemes.
- Caldwell says it is important to learn the warning signs and avoid any company that:
- Insists you pay them before they do any work on your behalf.
- Tells you not to contact the creditor or the credit reporting companies directly.
- Tells you to dispute information in your credit report — even if you know it's accurate.
- Tells you to give false information on your applications for credit or a loan.
- Doesn’t explain your legal rights when they tell you what they can do for you.
The Attorney General's Office says if you have an issue with a credit repair company, you should report to the AG's Office Consumer Protection Section at (800) 351-4889.