How Long Does It Take to Build Credit?

If you do these four easy things for six months, you will get a FICO score. If your card issuer gives you a free credit score, you can see it go up every month. On the Internet, you can also find free educational scores.

For this to work, the credit bureaus need to know what you do with your card. And if it's not clear whether the issuer reports your payment history to all three credit bureaus, call the lender to find out before you apply for a specific card.

"As a general rule," Zrimsek says, "it's a good idea to use reputable internet listing services." "Don't believe everything you read on Craigslist or Facebook. Always check out a unit in person."

Zrimsek says that you should do your own research if you want to rent from a private landlord. Try to find out who owns the building and anything else you can about the landlord. "If there's no information or it's bad, you should stay away," he says.

The Federal Trade Commission warns about these warning signs:
Trying to get money before you sign a lease
Saying they are in another country

Motola says that if the person advertising the apartment tries to skip ahead in the process, that's a big sign that it's a scam. "For example, if the Realtor asks you to sign something before you see the apartment" or "to put money down before you sign a lease."

Before you sign a lease, keep in mind that landlords can charge application fees to check your credit. Depending on where the apartment is, this amount may be capped.

The FTC says that if you think you're the victim of a rental scam, you should tell your local police, the FTC, and the website where the fake ad was posted.
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