A popular online search to repair your credit score quickly and cheaply has been called the 609 loophole.
"The 609 loophole is a section of the Fair Credit Reporting Act that says that if something is incorrect on your credit report, you have the right to write a letter disputing it," said Robin Saks Frankel, a personal finance expert with Forbes Advisor.
The theory works that a credit bureau will remove a specific mark if it can't be proven. This is a good thing if there is a legitimate error on your report.
But some YouTubers and credit repair companies are promising to use the 609 loophole to wipe off actual debts people owe without paying them.
It's done by writing what's referred to as 609 letters to remove old addresses from your account. Then additional letters are written saying debt connected to those addresses is not connected to you. So, the credit bureaus must remove it. But Saks Frankel said it's really a waste of time.
"It doesn't matter how you submit it. There's no magic formula and combination of words that is going to suddenly make your debt go away," Saks Frankel said.
Even if you manage to get an address removed, debt is still connected to you in other ways like Social Security numbers, so the debt is still there when you apply for loans or credit cards.
"The best way to repair your credit, unfortunately, takes time," Saks Frankel said. "You're not going to go from a horrible credit score to an excellent credit score in six months."
The first step in raising your score: check for reporting errors and use the so-called 609 letters for their actual purpose.
You can get a free report every year from each of the three bureaus at AnnualCreditReport.com.
The second step is to "start with something like a secured credit card," said Saks Frankel. You deposit the amount of money you want to borrow, and after building up a history with the lender, you can get that money back or swap to a normal credit card.
It's important to remember that the things credit repair agencies say they can do for you, you can do for yourself and for free.