DEFINITION of 'Jamming'

A scam perpetrated by bogus credit repair firms that involves the mail out of dispute letters en masse to credit bureaus on behalf of consumers with spotty credit histories. Jamming is so called because it clogs up the dispute process. Since credit bureaus only have 30 days to verify disputes, an inordinately large number of dispute letters would result in their temporary removal from consumers' credit records. These dispute letters request removal of information that reflects negatively on a consumer's credit record - such as non-payment or chronic late payments of bills - but that is perfectly accurate and legitimate.


Fraudulent credit repair firms make a bad situation even worse for a consumer with a poor credit record. These firms typically charge a substantial amount payable upfront to repair one's credit. The hapless consumer who believes that his or her credit record has been successfully repaired soon finds that the disputed information is back on the credit report, because it was correct to begin with. But now the consumer is also out of pocket to the extent of the fees paid to the credit repair firm, which often run into thousands of dollars.

Jamming also affects consumers who are legitimately disputing items on their credit records, since the fake disputes filed by fraudulent credit repair firms will clog up the system and delay the resolution of real disputes.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in its "Consumer Information" section, includes "jamming" as one of the five signs of a credit repair scam:

  • the credit repair company demands upfront payment before doing any work on your behalf;
  • tells you not to contact the credit bureaus directly;
  • tells you to dispute information in your credit report even if it's accurate (i.e. jamming);
  • encourages you to falsify information on credit or loan applications;
  • does not explain your legal rights.
  1. Credit Report

    A credit report is a detailed report of an individual's credit ...
  2. Thin File

    A limited credit history which can make it difficult to get credit ...
  3. Credit Limit

    Credit limit is the amount of credit that a financial institution ...
  4. Mixed File

    A credit bureau record that contains more than one consumer’s ...
  5. Credit Control

    Credit control includes the strategies a business uses to encourage ...
  6. Fair Credit Billing Act - FCBA

    The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is a 1974 federal law designed ...
Related Articles
  1. Personal Finance

    Spotting Credit-Repair Scams

    Credit repair scams are common in today's debt-reliant world. Don't be a victim!
  2. Personal Finance

    The History Of Consumer Credit Rights

    The Fair Credit Billing Act of 1974 gave consumers the power to dispute credit card charges.
  3. Personal Finance

    Fixing Your Credit Score: A Do It Yourself Guide

    Following these five steps can go a long way toward repairing a low score.
  4. Personal Finance

    How to Read Your Consumer Credit Report

    Learning how to read your consumer credit report is vital, as it includes important information about your credit history.
  5. Personal Finance

    Take the Right Steps to Build Excellent Credit

    There are several things you can do to protect and improve your credit score.
  6. Managing Wealth

    Business Vs. Consumer Credit Reports: What's the Difference?

    Find out the difference between a business credit report and a personal credit report, and why it should matter for business owners.
  7. Personal Finance

    Build Your Credit Score

    Here are four good ways to build your credit score when you're starting from scratch. Do it right and you'll end up with excellent credit.
  8. Personal Finance

    How To Establish A Credit History

    Can't get a credit card without a credit history, and can't get a history without a card? Break the Catch-22.
  9. Investing

    5 Ways Bad Credit Screws Up Your Life

    When your credit score slumps, many other things in your life can also start to slide downward. How to recognize the situation and start dealing with it.
  10. Personal Finance

    Should Your Credit Rating Scare You?

    Take the mystery out of credit scores by learning the most important ways it can impact your life.
  1. What are some examples of credit report errors that I can dispute?

    Discover how to get access to your consumer credit report, identify incorrect information, and communicate with creditors ... Read Answer >>
  2. What’s the difference between a consumer disclosure and a credit report?

    Find out why consumer disclosures and credit reports are considered different documents, even though they contain similar ... Read Answer >>
Trading Center