If you search online for ways to repair your credit score quickly and cheaply, you'll likely come across 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 and disputing it," says Robin Saks Frankel, a personal finance expert with Forbes Advisor.
She says, in theory, if a credit bureau can't prove a specific mark on your credit they have to remove it -- a good thing if there is a legitimate error on your report.
However, YouTubers and credit repair companies are promising to use the "609 loophole" to wipe off actual debts you owe without paying them.
It's done by writing what's referred to as 609 letters to first remove old addresses off 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.
Saks Frankel says it's really a waste of time.
"It doesn't matter how you submit it, there's no magic formula and combination of words, it's going to suddenly make your debt go away," said Saks Frankel.
She says even if you manage to get an address removed, debt is still connected to you in other ways like your social security number. This means they can still pop up when you apply for loans or credit cards.
"The best way to repair your credit, unfortunately, takes time, you're not going to go from a horrible credit score to an excellent credit score in six months," said Saks Frankel.
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 the things credit repair agencies say they can do for you, you can do for yourself and for free!