Posted by: thecreditmaven | February 16, 2009

Personal Stimulus Plan – Guaranteed To Get Results!

Have the credit card bills started to arrive from the holiday season yet?

Do you feel a “Hulk-sized VISA” credit card monkey on your back?

Are you having ‘plastic’ withdrawal symptoms from all of those after Christmas sales?

Has the thought crossed your mind to file Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy?

Are you behind on your mortgage payments?

rock-and-hard-spot

If you answered yes to any of the above, I applaud you for your honesty. Personally, I answered yes to them.

Now that the government has passed a nearly 800 billion-dollar stimulus package for our supposed benefit, I believe it’s time for everyone to receive some “personal stimulus”.

Before your mind starts to wonder and you begin to have visions of escaping with your spouse or significant other to a cabin in the mountains or a beach vacation, the “personal stimulus” I’m speaking of is this:

  • STOP USING CREDIT CARDS

There it is – plain and simple. Very “Dave Ramsey-like”. So simple many people overlook it.

Looking back several generations, our grandparents and great-grandparents didn’t use credit in the same fashion that it is used today. If they didn’t have the cash to buy something, they saved until they did. Credit was something to be avoided, not cherished and used in such a cavalier fashion as is seemingly required to be part of modern-day society.

Take all of your credit cards and pay them off as soon as possible. Stop being beholden to gargantuan companies that charge 9%, 17%, 30% or more to use a little piece of plastic that didn’t cost 90 cents to manufacture.

You can reduce stress, anxiety, depression and some major ailments by stopping the habit of PPE – “PLASTIC PAYMENT EASE”. It’s that hand gesture of reaching in your wallet or purse and extracting that thin sliver of plastic that has you inebriated to the point that you don’t feel any pain making a purchase until you get the credit card bill the next month.

Do yourself and your future wealth a favor – stop using credit cards now.

The parade is over, the speech has been given, the oath has been taken, all of the millions of pictures have been uploaded/downloaded to Facebook, and the Neighborhood ball is over…now what?

Let me start out by saying that I am proud to be an American, happy to be living in the United States of America, blessed to be married to a wonderful woman and humbled that God Almighty allowed me to wake up this morning.

Folks – we have a big problem in our great country. We are drunk on credit. We get a buzz from 0% balance transfers. Our lives are too simplistic with that thin sliver of plastic. Credit Card Depression Syndrome – You heard it here first.

Our government, more specifically our elected officials, has not been setting a good example for all of us citizens to model. Instead of being fiscally responsible, managing money correctly and behaving in a mature manner we have money being “dished out” willy-nilly, tax revenue that cannot be accounted for and elected officials being caught red-handed lying, cheating and stealing!

I am not even going to write about what is going on up on Wall Street (future article for sure).

As a parent, we are supposed to model to our children the behaviors, virtues and morals that we hope will guide them into becoming adults.

Let me ask you a question – “What are the government and our elected officials suppose to model to the citizens who elected them?”

Our government needs a nonstop 2-year group therapy session, shock treatment (for some), industrial size Prozac for others and taken out to the woodshed for the lingering attitude adjustments so sorely needed.

Why does America have the lowest savings rate in the world? Why are there so many foreclosures and bankruptcies occurring in the last 24 months? Where does the US Government keep its savings account? When was the last time an audit was done on all of the government agencies to determine where all of the money is spent? How much money does the US Government actually have?

Okay – take a deep breath in through the nostrils, hold for three seconds, and slowly exhale through your mouth. Repeat.

We have to put the US Government on a “credit diet”. What do I mean? No more credit can be extended starting tomorrow morning at 8:00am EST.

Stop using your credit cards for purchases. If you do not have the money in the bank, do not spend it. DO WITHOUT!!

SPEND WHAT YOU HAVE, NOT WHAT YOU DON’T HAVE. AND SAVE, SAVE, SAVE $$$$$ EVERY CHANCE YOU GET.

Resolve this year to write your State Representatives, Congressman and Senators. The status quo is no longer acceptable. Take responsibility for yourself and your family. There is no free lunch and it is not the government’s responsibility to take care of you.

Where do our elected Congressman and Representatives get the money for TARP, Medicare/Medicaid, Social Security, etc.? That’s right. Who determines where, when and how much of that money should even flow? That’s right. Who do you see when you look in the mirror in the morning? That’s right.

Be ever mindful of have you use credit. Your credit report and credit score are very important.

The government doesn’t care……………but I want you to care. Be sure to write soon.

CM

Posted by: thecreditmaven | December 11, 2008

How Shopping At Christmas Can Be Bad For Your Credit

Christmas Shopping

The holiday music is playing, Starbucks coffee is coursing through your veins, you are almost finished with your shopping and then you notice the CLEARANCE SALE signs in the window.

What do you do?

There has to be something in there worth buying. As you painstakingly peruse through all the racks, shelves, boxes and stacks there it is – the perfect gift for your loved one. Just the right size and it’s his/her favorite color. And it’s 60% OFF!

Waiting in line your mind wanders off to Christmas morning when the gift is unwrapped and the smile appears on the face and you’ve hit the happy button on your special person. Life is good!

Then as you approach the checkout counter the salesperson says, “If you get our (insert store name) card I can take another 20% off of your purchase today. Would you like to take advantage of this great deal?”

STOP!

Let’s review – Coffee, Clearance Sale, Christmas Shopping, Credit Card

Here’s the math: 60% reduction of the sales price plus another 20% if you get the card – Wow, you’re saving 80%. That’s great, right?

NO, NO, NO, NO, NO

1.  You are getting 80% off; but how much was it marked up from the original wholesale price?

200% – 300% – 400%

Who knows for sure?

2.  What happens when you get the credit card? Sure, another 20% off the sales price but…………………………..

  1. The store will have you complete an application and they will access your credit report. This will count as an inquiry.
  2. With a brand new revolving account on your credit report, you will see a reduction in your credit score. Depending on what your credit score is before you get the new credit card, it can take six (6) months or more before your credit score recovers to the same as it was before you accepted the new card

Note* – That is if all else stays the same on your credit report (i.e. no other new cards, late payments, collections, charge offs, etc).

Department store or merchant cards are detrimental to your credit report and credit score. Let me explain.

When you make a payment on a revolving account, you may/may not reduce the balance owed. After payment is made on a revolving account, more can be charged between the time the bill is received, payment is mailed, payment posted to the account and the information sent to the credit bureau to update the information on your credit report. If you keep a balance on your account, that 20% discount you received on that purchase goes away after a couple of months.

If you compare this with an installment account (car loan or mortgage), each payment you make reduces the balance owed. What type of account do you think carries the higher risk – installment or revolving?

Imagine if someone had 3, 4, 5 or more credit cards. What impact does that have on the credit score? It depends.

  • How long have the accounts been active?
  • Are there any late payments on the accounts?
  • Are there accounts with past due amounts?
  • Any of these new accounts?

Caution should be exercised when the opportunity arises to get an additional 20% off a purchase. Do you really need another card?

Do you understand what it WILL do to your credit score? Can you use cash or a card you have to complete the purchase instead?

When the wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus of gold, frankincense and myrrh; do you think they put those on a charge card? Of course not.

Credit cards are both a blessing and a curse. If you have to charge a Christmas gift purchase on a credit card, is that the right thing for you to do? Think about it.

Merry Christmas

CM

Posted by: thecreditmaven | December 4, 2008

Tired of Paying High Interest Rates On Your Credit Cards?…Try This

Do you know what the current interest rate is on your credit card? Is it fixed? Variable? Have you ever made a late payment on your card? Do you know the definition for “universal default”?

Universal default is a little clause many credit card companies include in the contractual agreement. In a nutshell, it allows the issuer to change the terms of the agreement to the “default terms”.

For a more detailed explanation of universal default, CLICK HERE.

What this means is that if a consumer is ever late making a payment on the credit card then the issuer can ‘jack up’ the interest rate to 19%, 27%, 30% or even higher. Talk about pouring salt in a wound. In addition, the credit score tanks. Now the salt really gets JACK HAMMERED in.

And get this – a late payment on one credit card can trigger the default charge on a different credit card that has NEVER had a late payment.

Unreal, you say? Impossible – Illegal – Immoral – Unethical – My thoughts exactly.

In my opinion (and this is just my opinion) this is legalized, modern-day loan sharking. Due to the deregulation of the industry back in the 1990’s, credit card companies starting using universal default as a way of offsetting risk. Keep in mind that most credit cards are considered “unsecured debt”. That is, it’s not secured against anything like a house, car or boat.

What can a consumer do to LOWER the interest rate on a credit card?

I was talking to a good friend of mine the other day (by the way, he was the fastest guy in the 110 high hurdles from Missouri in 1978) and he was concerned about the high interest rates that his credit card company was charging him. In other words, the universal default charge had kicked in.

Here’s the advice I offered:

  1. Call customer service and say the following –

Hi, my name is ____________ and I need your assistance. I’ve had my _________ credit card for _______ years and it has served me very well. It has gotten me out of several tough situations, made my vacations more enjoyable and helped brighten other people’s lives. I can’t continue to pay the high interest rate on this credit card. What can be done to lower my interest rate? If my interest rate can’t be lowered, I will have to take my business to another company. You wouldn’t want that to happen would you?    (Remain silent and wait for an answer)

You’ll probably be told there is nothing that can be done.

Continue – Since you are unable to help me with this situation, I want to speak with your Supervisor or Team Leader.

When you talk with the Supervisor or Team Leader, repeat the same information to them as you did the customer service Rep.

Remind them that you are a GOOD CUSTOMER, pay on time, and enjoy the use of the card. However, they are not the only credit card company in town. Leverage your loyalty to them – make them feel indebted to you because you do business with them. (A little reverse psychology). Be persistent and sincere.

I know several people who have used this strategy with good results. One person told me that she called her local bank and had the interest rate on her Home Equity Line of Credit reduced. WOW!!

Be careful what you ask for………..you may get it. The good book says it, “Ask and ye shall receive”. All it takes is a little time. What do you have to lose? Nada.

If you don’t have any luck with the strategy, then you may want to consider moving your business to another credit card company. There are many to choose from and some exclude the “universal default” charge from their agreement.

A credit card is a two-edged sword. It can be a valuable tool if used properly. By properly I mean with thought and purpose. On the other hand (or should I say edge), it can cause you to start bleeding (sending $$$ every month for payments) profusely.

One final thought – Borrow when you don’t need it.

To Your Credit Enhancement!

CM

Posted by: thecreditmaven | November 24, 2008

Your “Other” Consumer Reports – Part II

Were you aware that there are prescription drug databases collecting information on US consumers? I wasn’t either. In addition to the Rx databases, there is a specialty consumer-reporting agency that collects and maintains data regarding life, health, long-term care, and disability insurance for individuals. Let’s answer the following questions. 

  • Who is collecting this information?
  • What is the purpose of collecting it?
  • When did this begin?
  • Where is this data stored?
  • How do I get a copy of these reports? 

WHO

There are currently two data aggregation services “databases, for short” that gather Rx records on all Americans – Intelliscript and MedPoint. Milliman owns the former, the latter by Ingenix. 

Milliman IntelliScript                                                                 
15800 Bluemound Road
Suite 400
Brookfield, WI 53005
www.rxhistories.com  
 
MedPoint Compliance 
Ingenix, Inc.
2525 Lake Park Blvd
West Valley City, Utah 84120
www.ingenix.com

 

 If you have any significant medical conditions or if you have applied for insurance as an individual to an insurance company, you have a medical report which is retained by a specialty consumer reporting agency called the Medical Information Bureau (MIB).

Medical Information Bureau
P.O. Box 105, Essex Station
Boston, MA 02112
www.mib.com 

 

WHAT

The purpose of collecting this information is simple – it SELLS. Any type of data about a consumer financial, health, physical, mental, etc is worth money on the open market. The more a company knows about an individual, who is trying to buy a product or service, the more the company can price the product or service accordingly. 

For example, if someone seeks to purchase private health insurance from an insurance carrier then that carrier would want to know as much as possible about that person before issuing a policy.

The insurance company would request an Rx history report on that consumer from Intelliscript or MedPoint. The report allows the insurer to make assumptions about the health of the consumer and coverage could be denied for certain medical conditions, cause the consumer to pay increased premiums or insurance being denied altogether. 

Normally, a consumer will not have a MIB report unless he/she has applied for insurance within the past seven years and  only if the person has applied for an individual policy rather than a group policy. It is estimated that only about 20% of consumers have an MIB report.

However, if you have a significant medical condition or you have completed an insurance application than you very well may have an MIB report. The only way to know if you do is to request a copy of the report. 

WHEN 

Prescription drug records have been around for a long time. Every time an Rx purchase happens, the information is entered into the pharmacies’ computers and insurance companies’ databases. These records detail the type of medication as well as any refills and dosage amounts. 

If an insurance carrier requests information on a consumer, a report can be generated that details the last 5 (five) years worth or Rx history. 

The use of prescription drug databases was not common knowledge until last year when the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) sued Milliman and Ingenix. By providing the 5-year Rx history report to insurance companies, for underwriting insurance purposes, both companies according to the FTC were violating the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA). 

Milliman and Ingenix were able to settle with the FTC without any monetary damages and they now adhere to the FCRA. For more info, go to:

http://www.ftc.gov/opa/2007/09/ingenixmilliman.shtm 

The Medical Information Bureau has been in existence since 1902. It is comprised of approximately 470 insurance companies in the US and Canada. MIB’s mission is to provide information to insurance companies so that each carrier can make clear decisions regarding the underwriting of life, health, disability income, critical illness and long-term care insurance for consumers. 

WHERE 

All of the information that goes into these reports resides in computers and databases nationwide; from your local pharmacy, emergency room, insurance company to your family doctor or counselor’s office, anywhere that you received medical treatment, had a prescription filled or even completed an application for insurance coverage. 

HOW  

To get a free copy of your Rx report from Intelliscript: 

877-211-4816
IntelliScriptSupport@milliman.com
 

To get a free copy of your Rx report from Ingenix:

Ingenix, Inc.
2525 Lake Park Blvd
West Valley City, Utah 84120 
(888) 206-0335

 

To get a free copy of your MIB report: 

(866) 692-6901
http://www.mib.com/html/request_your_record.html 

 

Remember that you have a right to know what is in your Rx report and your MIB report. You are entitled to a free copy of the report if you have applied for private insurance and have been denied coverage because of something in one of the Rx reports. 

These reports need to be treated the same as your personal credit report. Accuracy is paramount and every individual is entitled to a copy of the report once a year. If the information is inaccurate, you have a right to dispute it and have it corrected. For more about medical information and your privacy, go to:

www.privacyrights.org/fs/fs8-med.htm 

To your Empowerment!

CM

Posted by: thecreditmaven | November 17, 2008

Your “Other” Consumer Reports – Part I

It is common knowledge that all consumers have a credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) controls the gathering, distribution and usage of consumer credit information. 

However, the FCRA covers much more than just consumer credit reports. Refer to Sec. 612 (a)(1)(C) of the FCRA – “Specialty” consumer reports. 

Here’s some examples of the “Specialty” reports:

  • Homeowner and auto insurance claims
  • Residential or tenant history and evictions
  • Check writing history
  • Employment background checks
  • Medical conditions 

Congress has designated the companies that collect the information for these reports as, you guessed it “Nationwide Specialty Consumer Reporting Agencies”. These companies are separate from the major credit bureaus and collect information other than your credit history. 

Why should I care what information is in my Specialty report? 

Similar to your credit report, it is important that any information contained in a report be accurate. If the information is not accurate, the possibility exists that when the information is requested about a consumer for the purpose of renting, employing, issuing an insurance policy, etc the consumer could be denied. 

How can I access my homeowner and auto insurance claims report? 

There are two companies that collect this information:

  • ISO Insurance Services
  • ChoicePoint 

To order a free consumer report from ISO, go to: 

http://www.iso.com/Products/A-PLUS/Consumers-Order-Your-Free-A-PLUS-Loss-History-Report.html 

or call 1-800-627-3487. 

To order a free consumer report from ChoicePoint, go to: 

http://www.choicetrust.com/ click on “CLUES” report or call 1-866-312-8076. 

While on ChoicePoint website, review their opt-out policy which is under the ACCESS YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION link. 

It is important to make a clarification concerning “consumer report” versus “file disclosure”. A consumer report is (I’ll paraphrase from the FCRA) a collection of information provided by a consumer reporting agency that represents a consumer’s credit worthiness, credit history, character, personal characteristics, etc. 

A file disclosure is all of the (consumers) information that is retained and recorded by a consumer-reporting agency regardless of how the information is stored. 

A consumer report is provided to employers, financial institutions, landlords, etc that reflect information at any given time. On the other hand, a file disclosure contains ALL of the information that a consumer-reporting agency has pertaining to each individual consumer. 

Every consumer is entitled to a free “file disclosure”, not a report. 

See the difference? 

Next week, we will review how to access the other reports.

Posted by: thecreditmaven | November 10, 2008

The Value of Your Name

What’s in a name? A mixture of consonants and vowels? Maybe a Jr., Sr, II, IV, or Dr? Does your NAME have a VALUE? WHO values your name?

It depends.

Your name absolutely, most definitely and without a doubt has value TO YOU. Nevertheless, how does society, the government, your employer, your local bank or your friends calculate the worth of your NAME?

Proverbs 22:1    A good name is more desirable than great riches;
                        to be esteemed is better than silver or gold.

Think about that for a minute. Your NAME is more desirable (i.e. valuable, advantageous, beneficial, gainful, helpful, useful) than great riches. Some people would probably go with “great riches are more desirable than a good name”.

What if you could have both? What if you could have riches, a good name and be able to do anything with your riches and it wouldn’t damage your good name? Maybe even move you up to a GREAT NAME!

Okay Credit Maven, where are you going with this?

Your GOOD NAME is your CREDIT REPORT. Your GOOD NAME is your CREDIT SCORE. Do you know what is on your credit report? Is all of the information accurate, up-to-date and complete?

The Consumer Federation of America and Washington Mutual performed a credit report survey back in July 2008. Take five minutes and read this report.

      Consumer Federation of America

The one big comment that sticks out to me in this survey is, “If all consumers raised their scores by 30 points, total annual CONSUMER SAVINGS would be an estimated $28 BILLION. That’s right- BILLION not MILLION. 

How valuable is your name to the creditors that you make your monthly payments to on the accounts that you have with them? The value they put on your name is directly proportional to your credit report and credit score. With them you are more valuable with a lower credit score (because they can charge you a higher interest rate) versus a higher credit score as they charge you a lower interest rate. Doesn’t make sense, huh? 

All creditors prefer to loan money at a higher interest rate versus a lower one because it puts more money in the kitty. If everyone in America had GREAT credit, creditors would not be making as much money as they would if everyone had MEDIOCRE or SO-SO credit. 

The path to great riches is found in having a good name (credit report and score). With a good name, you will be saving $$$$ because you are NOT PAYING HIGH INTEREST RATES. If your name isn’t so good – somebody else gets rich off of you.

Here’s a crazy thought for you to consider – Imagine what would happen if everyone in America paid off all of their credit cards and only kept one (1) credit card to use for purchases. WOW!!! I’ll bet you that would create a very competitive market place for your business and we might even see a few credit card companies go the way of the DINOSAUR.

Protect your name as you would a newborn child. Be cautious about who you deal with on any financial matter. Beware of anyone who wants to do business with you – instead seek out people for financial transactions and KNOW the person you are doing business with and not some flashy, sexy blinking website. When you look at your computer screen, envision a GREAT WHITE SHARK on the other side getting ready to eat you when you hit the “ENTER” key.

Here is your ACTION ITEM. Call your credit card company and tell whoever answers the phone that you are tired of paying the high interest rate on the card that you currently have. Tell them that you have been an outstanding customer, you really like having the card but you cannot afford to pay the extremely high interest rates. Tell them also that if they do not reduce the interest rate on your credit card that you will have to take your business elsewhere.

Email me back and let me know what happens.

Your name is worth more than SILVER or GOLD.

Posted by: thecreditmaven | October 27, 2008

That’s a FACT Jack!

Does you know what November 1st is?

  • It’s a Saturday
  • Three days before we elect our new president
  • The 306th day of the year
  •  54 shopping days till Christmas – Uugh!!
  • All of the above? 

November 1st is the deadline for all financial institutions to comply with the Red Flag Rules of the Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions (FACT) Act.

The Red Flag Rules pertain to any businesses with “covered accounts”. Any business refers to “financial institutions and creditors” i.e. banks, finance companies, automobile dealers, mortgage brokers, utility companies and telecommunications companies. This is just a partial list and does include others.

The regulations apply to businesses that have what are called COVERED ACCOUNTS. What’s a “covered account?”

A covered account is any account that has even the slightest RISK (now or in the future) of identity theft. Credit cards, utility accounts (gas, water, electricity), cell phone bills, checking account, social security numbers, investment advisor, drivers license numbers, health club, Credit Union, car dealership, bank,  medical insurance accounts, and many others. This significantly expands the definition to include all companies, regardless of size that maintain, or otherwise possess, consumer information for a business purpose. Because of the broad definitions in these regulations, few businesses will be able to escape these requirements. Your employer will probably fall into this category.

Here are the THREE new regulations:

  • The first one calls for all businesses to create and put into service an Identity Theft Prevention Program in relation to both new and existing accounts. The Program must contain reasonable strategies and guidelines for detecting, preventing, and mitigating identity theft;
  • The second one requires users of consumer reports to respond to Notices of Address Discrepancies that they receive; and
  • The third one places special conditions on issuers of debit or credit cards. These issuers must validate a change of address when they receive notification of a change of address for a consumer’s debit or credit card account. They must do this within a short period of time should they receive a request for an additional or replacement card for the same account.  

The FBI has identified Identity Theft as the fastest growing crime in the United States. This is another way the government is trying to help consumers avoid becoming a victim of the criminal elements lurking in our society.

Don’t wait on businesses to implement the programs that Congress has required them to create. Take proactive measures to prevent identity theft from happening to you. Never count on anyone or any business to protect YOU.

Buy a paper shredder and shred all personal documents – never throw them in the trash. Don’t give your credit card to the waiter at the restaurant and let them walk away with it. Instead, watch them make the transaction with your own eyes so that they don’t copy your credit card and go on a spending spree. Never and I mean never carry your Social Security card with you in your wallet or purse.

If you are a person who writes a check for a bill and mails it along with the statement to the provider, don’t put that bill in your mailbox and raise the flag so that the mail carrier will pick it up. A criminal can steal that letter and what does he have? Well for starters, he has your signature, bank account number and bank routing number. I wonder what he could do with that information.

Do you ever receive those “pre-approved” credit card offers in the mail? How easy is it for someone to take that application, complete it, change the address and SHAZAM – they are now you! OUCH. You can stop those offers by going to:

www.OptOutPrescreen.com

And last, but not least when you have some time I want you to look at this website:

Datalossdb.org is a collection of data base breaches all over the world. If you don’t think systems are being hacked into every day, think again. Social security numbers, names, addresses, bank accounts of ordinary citizens, military personnel, government employees – no one is safe from the carnage going on.

One for the bad guys – On October 6, 2008 T-Mobile reported that a disk containing information on over 17 million customers had been lost.

http://www.nytimes.com/idg/IDG_852573C400693880002574DA0034AE43.html?ref=technology

One for the Good Guys – FBI smashes online credit card ring after two-year operation ends in 56 arrests worldwide.

http://www.vnunet.com/vnunet/news/2228489/fbi-wipes-online-credit-card

Be on GUARD at all times. Don’t trust anyone to protect you from identity theft. You are your best defense.

                                                                                                      

     

Posted by: thecreditmaven | October 20, 2008

Dispelling Myths Surrounding Credit Repair – Part I

Myth # 1: When I pay off a past-due account, such as a charge off or a collection account, it will show “paid” and no longer be negative.

Common sense tells me if I PAY OFF a debt that I owe I am doing the RIGHT THING. However, common sense is not applicable when it relates to your credit report and credit score. Let me explain:

 

It is difficult to fully restore your credit without paying your outstanding debts. However, paying off a debt can actually lower your credit score. I’m referring specifically to charge-offs and collections. Charge-offs and collections are allowed to stay on your credit report for a maximum of seven (7) years. Refer to Sec 605 of the Fair Credit Reporting Act

 

Making a payment on a charge-off or collection account represents new activity and RESTARTS the clock (Yeah I know, it doesn’t make sense to me either). When paying an outstanding debt, you will change the account status to paid collection, paid charge-off,  or paid “and was XXX days late”. This is still considered very negative and will cause your credit score to go down.

 

If you are trying to get approval for financing, paying a charge-off or collection could further diminish your chances for financing approval. Seek the advice of a credit professional so that they can determine the best way for you to qualify for financing and also resolve the charge-off or collection.

 

Here’s one for you – I have seen credit reports with charge-off accounts listed. On the same report, that charge-off account was sold to a collection agency. Now there is a charge-off account and a collection account for the same debt. What do you think happens to a credit score then? I’ve actually seen a charge-off listed with 3 additional collection accounts (same as charge-off) on a single report. I’m not going to tell you what the credit score was – needless to say the person didn’t qualify for financing.

Myth # 2: If a negative item is successfully deleted from my credit report, it will just come right back on my report.

When an item has been disputed with the credit bureaus, the credit bureaus attempt to contact the creditor to verify the information. If the credit bureaus don’t hear back from the creditor within 30 days, they will often temporarily delete the negative item.

Should the credit grantor submit verification a week or two after the 30 day deadline to respond, the disputed item will be re-inserted (this is called a soft delete) back on the credit report. Refer to Sec 611 (a)5(B)ii of the Fair Credit Reporting Act – the credit reporting agency shall notify a consumer within 5 business days if an item has been re-inserted into their credit file that was previously deleted. Have you ever heard of this happening?

Note: It is very difficult for a consumer to dispute and effectively remove negative items on his/her credit report. This is due to the credit bureaus (who earn BILLIONS of DOLLARS each year) controlling the dispute process that consumers use (i.e. going online and disputing errors, or by writing letters directly to the credit bureaus).

When ones credit report and credit score are hanging in the balance, I believe it’s prudent and more importantly justified to use attorneys who are well-versed in credit law that can dispute erroneous, outdated and unverifiable information and get it permanently removed from a credit report. It happens all the time. Even those items that get re-inserted.

 

European law-enforcement officials uncovered a highly sophisticated credit-card fraud ring that funnels account data to Pakistan from hundreds of grocery-store card machines across Europe, according to U.S. intelligence officials and other people familiar with the case.

To read the full article access this link:                     

It seems there is one or more small criminal organizations that have been able to transfer credit card information from stores in Europe to locations in Pakistan. The information is some of the most sophisticated technology that British officials have ever seen. Law enforcement officials haven’t identified the culprits. Estimates as to how much money has been lost is in the $50 million – $100 million range. The technology uses untraceable devices that were inserted into CREDIT CARD READERS that were manufactured in CHINA (of all places). Doesn’t anything good every come from China anymore?

WOW!!

What could you do with 50 – 100 million dollars?

In my earlier articles, I have written about identity theft. This is another case about information being stolen and used for who knows what.

The next time you use your credit card for a purchase, ask the person who is waiting on you if they know if the card reader was “Made in China”.

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