3 Steps To Repair Your Credit After Someone Else Has Damaged It

Here's how you rebuild after you've been burned.

It's an all-too-common story: A loved one comes to you in need, asking you to co-sign on a credit card. Trusting they can handle the responsibility, you sign on the dotted line –- only to get burned when he or she suddenly stops paying the bill. The good news, consumer spending analyst Hitha Herzog says, is that you can bounce back. "There are ways to build that credit score back up," she promises. In the above #OWNSHOW video, she outlines three steps to take that will help you repair the damage.

Close The Account

Step one, Herzog says, is to close down the accounts you have co-signed. "And if there's any negative reporting on those credit reports, you want to make sure that you're going out there and disputing it," she adds. "It may be tedious, it may be arduous, but trust me, you're going to want to go ahead and do this."

Begin Rebuilding Your Credit Score

Slowly but surely, it's possible to repair your score. "One way you can go ahead and build that credit up is if you have credit on different cards," Herzog says. "Use them, but make sure you are paying those balances down. You don't want to carry balances over, you don't want to max them out, and you for sure don't want to be making late payments."

Seek Advice

Do your research and be wary of people who claim to be able to repair your credit score, Herzog says -- or you may end up paying big bucks for some not-so-good advice.

"There's a difference between people that claim that they can 'repair' your credit versus people that can actually counsel you," she explains. "Those credit counselors usually don't charge you and they give you some really good advice. Go to the credit counselor first, see if they can give you some good advice – before you turn to the credit repair people."

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