Everything You Need to Know About Credit Card Breaches and Student Loan Debt News from Boston.com:
Key Credit Repair’s credit expert Nik Tsoukalis appeared on the radio to discuss two credit topics to make a part of your New Year’s Resolutions: credit breaches and student loans.
97% of companies that do business online have had some sort of data breach. To protect yourself when during holiday shopping:
Use a credit card instead of a debit card to gain fraud protection.
But, don’t let it convince you to overspend. On average, people will spend 30% more when they charge something than when they pay in cash. To keep yourself in check, put the purchase on a charge card that you need to pay off at the end of the month.
Monitor your credit closely. This time of year is a hot time for identity theft.
When it comes to protecting your credit long term, student loans are a concern for many. To minimize the pain of student loan debt:
Find out about loan forgiveness. Often, you can cut your principal…………… continues on Boston.com
FTC Seeks to Shut Down Phony Debt Relief and Credit Repair Scheme News from Kansas City infoZine:
Washington DC – infoZine – The FTC’s complaint targets the operators of two websites that were allegedly full of misrepresentations about the fake program, which they called the “Bill Payment Government Assistance Program.” The sites claimed that the program was governed by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, a government agency formed to oversee projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
Beyond claiming affiliations with and/or endorsements from the Recovery Board, the Department of Treasury, and other federal agencies, the complaint alleges that YouTube videos created by the scam’s operators included a purported personal endorsement from the President with an audio recording of him saying, “I approve this message.”
The complaint alleges that the defendants purported to offer up to $ 75,000 in debt relief to consumers, along with promises that consumers’ credit scores would “increase within 30 days.” Consumers contacting the scammers, according to the complaint, were told that in exchange for an advance “service charge” of $ 900 to $ 1,100, the defendants would pay off the consumers’ debts.
According to the complaint, scammers would ask consumers for details of their outstanding debt, including account num…………… continues on Kansas City infoZine
FTC Asks Court to Shut Down Phony Debt Relief and Credit Repair Scheme News from ACA International:
The Federal Trade Commission has asked a federal court to shut down a scam that targeted financially distressed Americans through a phony debt relief and credit repair program.
The FTC’s complaint targets the operators of two websites that were allegedly full of misrepresentations about the fake program, which they called the “Bill Payment Government Assistance Program.” The sites claimed that the program was governed by the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, a government agency formed to oversee projects funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The false claims include that the program was provided and funded by the federal government and endorsed by President Barack Obama. Beyond claiming affiliations with and/or endorsements from the Recovery Board, the U.S. Department of Treasury, and other federal agencies, the complaint alleges that YouTube videos created by the scam’s operators included a purported personal endorsement from the president with an audio recording of him saying, “I approve this message.”
The defendants allegedly purported to offer up to $ 75,000 in debt relief to consumers, along…………… continues on ACA International
FTC Seeks Shutdown of Costly and Bogus Debt Relief, Credit Repair Scheme News from eCreditDaily.com:
The two websites made some incredible claims about reducing consumers’ debt load and fixing their credit reports, and it was all supposedly backed by President Obama.
In reality, it’s a scam, the Federal Trade Commission told a federal court as the agency seeks to shut down another scheme that targeted financially distressed Americans.
The sites pitched a phony debt relief and credit repair program. Operators also falsely claimed the program was provided and funded by the federal government and endorsed by President Obama. The operators were not identified, but the scheme did business as American Bill Pay Organization and American Benefits Foundation, through the websites www.americanbillpay.org and www.benefitsfoundation.org, states the FTC’s complaint.
The FTC’s complaint targets the unnamed operators of two websites. They labeled the fake program the “Bill Payment Government Assistance Program.” The sites claimed that the program was governed by the Recovery Accountability and…………… continues on eCreditDaily.com
Credit scores to improve with settled debt, bills News from Pittsburgh Post Gazette:
Many consumers who have been denied credit or charged higher interest rates due to a low credit rating could soon be in a better position as the nation’s most widely used credit scoring agency is revamping how it computes credit scores.
Fair Issac Corp., creators of the FICO score, announced its calculations will no longer include any record of a consumer failing to pay a bill if the bill has been paid or settled with a collection agency. The new FICO score also will give less weight to unpaid medical bills that have gone to collection agencies.
FICO Score 9, as it’s been named, will be released to the three major credit bureaus this month. After testing and validating the new score, the credit bureaus will make it available to lenders later this year. Lenders must decide when they will begin using it.
The changes are expected to increase the number of people approved for loans, especially those shut out of the credit market due to medical debt sent to collection agencies. FICO representatives said consumers whose only major flaw on their credit reports is medical debt collections will see their scores increase by a median 25 points.
More than 64 million consumers in the U.S. have medical debt collections on their reports, according to credit reporting agency Experian. The Federal Reserve Board reports over half of all collections listed on…………… continues on Pittsburgh Post Gazette
Follow these steps to help improve your credit score and debt. News from ABC News:
The National Foundation for Credit Counseling conducted an unscientific—but eye opening—online poll, which revealed people are more embarrassed about their credit and debts than they are about their age or weight!
Granted, the poll was conducted via the foundation’s home page, so the people who come there are already worried about their debts, but still! Here’s how recipients responded about what embarrasses them most:
1. Credit card debt 37%
2. Credit score 30%
3. Weight 2%
4. Bank Balance 10%
5. None of the above 9%
6. Age 1%
“Excessive credit card debt should be seen as a warning sign that a person is in the financial danger zone,” said Gail Cunningham, spokesperson for the NFCC. She added that “Such activity is likely to negatively impact a person’s credit report and potentially result in a lower credit score.”
Here are my top three tips for reducing your debt and for raising your score… so you can get back to worrying about your weight!
The Laziest Ways to Improve Your Credit News from ABC News:
There are people out there who expend a lot of energy in the quest for a totally meaningless perfect credit score, which I’ve written about elsewhere. Most people know it’s important to have good credit, but they don’t want to spend too much time worrying about it. The good news is that you can be pretty lazy and still improve your credit.
The difference between having good credit (generally from 700-749) and bad credit (anything below 620) can mean the difference between getting the car you want versus the car with monthly payments you can afford. A well-managed credit history can make home ownership possible years before a poorly managed one, while really bad credit could cause you to lose a rental apartment to someone more vigilant about their personal finances.
Credit is an investment that accrues value through behavior. If you do the right things, your score will increase. Like an investment portfolio, your credit portfolio can improve your quality of life. But just like any investment, a credit portfolio requires some basic knowledge and maintenance.
Here are four very easy things you can do to start improving your credit.
Woman with $ 27000 in credit card debt looks to improve credit score: Money … News from The Plain Dealer:
Q: I have credit card balances adding up to about $ 27,000 that I’ve been chipping away at (the total used to be almost $ 40,000), and now I plan to pay them off this spring with a legal settlement. I’ve never had any late payments, but my credit score for years has been disappointing because of the large balances.
My question: How long do you think it will take for my credit score to improve once the balances are paid off? I know it takes seven years for late payments to fall off your report. I hope it’s not that long for high balances.
A: Good news for you. The credit scoring models are pretty forgiving. As soon as your balances are paid off and as soon as a new statement is generated with a zero balance, your credit score will pretty much be tallied as if you had never had the high balances at all. So your credit score should shoot up dramatically almost immediately.
A tip for you: When you get ready to pay these off, remember to pay more than just the last statement balance. You will have accumulated finance charges since the last statement. My advice: Look at the interest charge on your last statement, and pay that much plus a few more bucks on top of the statement balance. Otherwise, your payments won’t really pay off you…………… continues on The Plain Dealer
MONEY & THE LAW: Take care dealing with credit, debt repair News from Colorado Springs Gazette:
On Dec. 12, Colorado Attorney General (and chief consumer watchdog) John Suthers announced that his office had chased down another violator of Colorado’s Uniform Debt Management Services Act.
This time the scofflaw company, out of Plano, Texas, operated in Colorado under the name CreditAnswers. In a legal proceeding that began in February 2012, CreditAnswers and its chief executive officer, William Loughborough, were accused of multiple violations of Colorado law. The case was settled with a payment to Colorado of $ 225,000 and a permanent injunction prohibiting CreditAnswers and Loughborough from ever again having anything to do with debt management activities in this state.
To back up a bit, the Colorado Uniform Debt Management Services Act is a long and complicated statute (42 sections) intended to reign in the activities of companies that charge fees in exchange for attempts to obtain concessions from creditors. Debt management companies market their services as an alternative to bankruptcy, promise customers a better night’s sleep, and, on occasion, suggest they are vital to economic recovery since people relieved of debt problems will again become consumers of goods and services.
Another industry that markets its services to people with debt-related problems falls into a category called “credit repair.” Credit repair organizations offer to ass…………… continues on Colorado Springs Gazette