She Ditched Her Debt Collectors — and Raised Her Credit Score Nearly 200 Points

Tabatha Pankop spends long days on her feet. She waits tables, sometimes working double shifts for 15 hours at a time. Like most hardworking Americans, she has dreams of financial stability and homeownership.

There was just one problem.

“I just never thought having a low credit score would really impact your everyday life,” the 31-year-old Tampa server says.

Some old, and apparently unpaid, bills had hurt her credit. They included an old cell phone bill and an old power bill, among others.

“I guess a deposit or some type of rent that I thought I paid off, but I didn’t,” she says.

With her credit score dropping into the low 500s, she and her boyfriend were living in an older apartment, because that’s all her credit would allow. Pankop dreamed of buying her own townhouse, but that looked out of reach.

The aggressive phone calls from debt collectors didn’t help, either.

“Debt collectors — ah, man, they just literally harass you,” Pankop says. “They will say things that are inappropriate, and sometimes they can make you cry because they will say things that are very rude.”

That’s when a co-worker told her about Collection Shield 360, a free credit repair service that helps people clean up their credit reports and deal with collection agencies.

Quick Results: ‘My Credit Skyrocketed.’

She decided to give it a shot and signed up. She quickly saw a dramatic difference in her credit score.

“Within a few weeks — maybe three months at the most — my credit skyrocketed,” she says. “Before I started with Collection Shield, I was at [about] 520, 530. Now I’m almost at 700. It’s just amazing.”

Collection Shield 360 offers two membership options:

  • Basic membership provides free credit-repair services with no cost to sign up.
  • Premium membership includes automatic monthly updates of your TransUnion credit score and collection accounts. You can sign up for premium for $1 for a two-month trial; then it’s $9.48 a month.

Here are the credit repair services you can get with a free basic membership:

  • Contacts your debt collectors to have negative marks on your credit report removed.
  • Provides you with credit bureau dispute letters that can help scrub your credit report.
  • Connects you with consumer attorneys who provide free legal services to help you remove negative items from your credit reports.

In Pankop’s case, it helped her deal with lingering bills from T-Mobile, Bright House Networks and Verizon.

Now, Pankop has just signed a lease on a new apartment she never imagined she could get into. Next, she’ll start looking for a nice little townhouse to buy.

Then she’ll go to nursing school.

“With having great credit, I’m able to get student loans with a lower interest rate,” she says. “I plan on getting my RN within the next few years.”

For her, it’s like a breath of fresh air.

“This has put me in a position where I’m becoming an adult, instead of that young girl figuring out her life.”

Mike Brassfield ([email protected]) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He knows what it’s like to get calls from debt collectors.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.