*FTC, Others Sweep Web for Credit-Repair Scams

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The Federal Trade Commission said Aug. 21 that it has joined with several other federal, state and local law-enforcement and consumer-protection agencies to crack down on companies that use the Internet to promote credit-repair scams.

The FTC said more than 180 Web sites had been notified that their credit-repair claims violate state and federal laws after the agencies conducted a sweep of the Web looking for offers to repair consumers' credit records.

Some of the sites claim they can remove negative information from consumers' credit reports, while others offer to issue new Social Security numbers so that consumers can "start over" with a new credit identity.

E-mail warnings and letters are being sent to Web site operators notifying them that their advertisements might violate the FTC Act, which prohibits deceptive advertising.

Other agencies involved in the crackdown include the Department of Justice, 10 state attorneys general's offices, 29 Better Business Bureaus, the National Foundation for Credit Counseling and six of its Neighborhood Financial Care Centers.

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