For Rent by Scammer - Credit Law Center

How to Avoid a Rental Scam – Credit Law Center

Trying to find a place to rent when you have less than stellar credit can leave you feeling hopeless. Finding a landlord that is willing to work with your situation may be a hefty task, but an important piece to this puzzle is knowing the red flags when it comes to rental scams. Scam artists are always looking for ways to prey on individuals, and rental scams are on the rise.

Craigslist and other online community sites are an easy way for these slimy scammers to prey on desperate individuals looking for a place to move. In doing my research I was disgusted at the numerous ways the rip off artists used to target individuals. Below I have listed a few of the ways they will target.

Common ways Scammers are Targeting Renters

Stealing an Existing Rental Ad

Some scammers will copy and steal images and location of a current rental home that is listed one another site. They will then post it on another site, with the same images, but change the price and phone number. They are slick and like to post a higher deposit, but a lower monthly amount. Scammers are looking for the fastest and less recognizable way to obtain the largest amount of money before you catch on to their scam. Occasionally, these scammers will hijack the listing agent’s email address.

Missing Landlord

These scammers look for vacant, bank owned homes and may even use their own home to show possible renters. They will take them to the vacant homes tell them the landlord is currently out of the country or sick, they will then request a deposit to hold the property and skip out. They will then take the down payment and never contact them again. Scammers often use their own house if they want to pull the scam more than once.

 

Red Flags

1. If they ask you to wire money. It is never a good reason to wire money, even if you already signed a contract.
2. If the landlord or agent asks for the first month’s rent and deposit before you have ever seen the property in person or signed an agreement.
3.They tell you the owner is out of the country and they are representing them.
4. Requesting you to fill out an application before you have ever seen the property.
5. If the price is too good to be true.
6.Sloppy ads misspelled words and not having pictures.
7.Subleasing

Tips

1. Do not rent sight unseen.
2. Meet the landlord in person.
3. Speak with current tenants, if possible.
4.Look up the current deed of trust in County records.
5. You may want to consider using a licensed agent or a reputable leasing company.
6. Do the basic research, google search the phone number and email address. Lots of times people use the internet to notify others of these individuals.

What to do if this happens to you

If you find yourself interacting with an individual who is trying to scam you, it is important that you report them to the local authorities and you may also report to the local utility company, so they can notify the proper owner of the circumstances. You may also want to report to the FTC.

Credit Invisible and the Catch-22

“Credit Invisible and the “Catch-22” – Credit Law Center

Establishing good credit in this day and age plays a significant role in becoming financially secure. However, there are still 26 million Americans that are still “credit invisible” under the traditional FICO scoring model.If you are one of the 26 million Americans that are “credit invisible” you may already know the challenges that this credit status may bring.

“Credit-Invisible and the “Catch-22.”

“Credit-invisible” can be looked at one of two ways, one you have the ability to start building your credit and establishing an excellent credit history. The “catch-22” finding lenders who will extend a credit card or loan to you may be difficult. Many lenders will consider you a risk because you don’t have a history to prove you are credit worthy. With the extraordinary amount of Americans in this current situation, there is a significant focus in this area and research being done to look into to alternative data, (rent, utilities, and cell phone bills) to prove a consumers credit worthiness.

In a recent study by the CFPB, states that consumers who transition out of being “credit Invisible” most consumers do it before the age of 25. However, statistics have shown individuals that achieve visibility after 25 reside in low to moderate income neighborhoods. Out of all the age groups and income levels, credit cards seem to be the fastest way to start creating a credit visibility.

It’s not a secret that the more money we make, the easier it is to pay our bills, but did you know that your salary could be making you “Credit Invisible?” Low-income consumers are 240 percent more likely to start your credit profile with a debt collection or a public record. In the CFPB’s most recent study they found that the consumers residing in lower-income areas are more prone to become credit visible due to negative items reporting on the consumer’s reports.“Today’s study shows that even at the beginning of their financial lives, they are faced with higher hurdles to gain access to credit, which hinders them from turning their version of the American dream into reality,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

 

Ways to Become Visible

1. Obtain a secured credit card
2. Apply for a CD Credit building Loan.
3. Have someone add as an authorized user.
4. Make all your payments on time.

If you are looking for a credit card that fits your needs check out FREECREDITHUB.COM

Pay off Credit Card Debt Faster- Credit Law Center

Tips to Pay Off Credit Card Debt Faster- Credit Law Center

Carrying credit card debt isn’t uncommon for Americans, according to a recent report by ValuePenguin, Inc 38.1% of Americans carry some credit card balance. When it comes to paying off credit card debt, one recurrent question is how to pay it off the faster. Every household has their unique financial situation and personal goal, so there is not one particular strategy that works best.

Evaluating your financial situation and determining what your hopes and dreams are. Once you have figured out what goal you are aiming for is, then you will be up to come up with the best strategy to be the debt off the fastest.

Pay Down the Credit Card With the Highest Interest

Card statements are required to have the interest, finance charges and the monthly charges. The first step would be to gather all your monthly card statements and compare the interest rates and finance charge. Determine which card has the highest rate and start with paying that one down first. You will want to make sure you budget an amount greater than the minimum monthly payment. An important factor in paying down the cards faster is sticking with the higher amount. If you choose to pay $200 a month, make sure you pay that even when the minimum payment goes down.

Pay the Card With the Lowest Balance First

If you are a person who does well with checking items off a list, this option may be beneficial for you. For some, it is easier to stomach paying a card with a $600 over the card with the $2600 balance. By choosing this strategy and paying more than the minimum balance you will see results quicker. Paying the lowest balance first is a great option if you need to see light at the end of the tunnel faster.

Consolidation of Credit Card Debt

As mentioned earlier each situation is different, and there is no right or wrong way. Many consumers have multiple cards with a significant amount of debt, and their credit card debt can quickly spiral out of control; Americans are tempted at just about every store to sign up for savings. If you have signed up for many different accounts and racked up a significant amount of debt consolidating them may be an option for you. Obtaining a consolidation loan from your bank or credit union to pay off the balances and leave you with just one monthly payment and less interest.If your budget allows you to pay more than the monthly payment it is wise to do so.

Don’t Forget How You Ended Up in Debt

Credit cards are an essential factor in building your credit score, however making sure you use them correctly is key. Keep in mind how you got into debt in the first place and always remember what your goal is. If your goal is to buy your own house, or a new car, post a picture somewhere where you will see it daily.

6 Tips to Financially Prepare your New College Student (1)

6 Tips to Financially Prepare Your New College Student – Credit Law Center

College Students all over the country are preparing to head to campus for their first semester. For many new college students, this will be the first time that they will be able to spread their wings, as well as their first shot at financial freedom.

Children of any age rely on their parents for guidance and words of wisdom, how many of you remember them saying, “Don’t Put Pennies in Your Mouth!” It is important that as your student enters into this new chapter of their life that provide them with the tools to succeed. Below we have listed a few topics we think will be helpful.

Help Your Student With a Budget

Sit down and come up with a reasonable budget with your child. Prepare a budget that allows for fixed items, extra curricular items, as well as larger unexpected items. Determine the easiest way for them to keep track of their budget, If you kid is a whiz at math you a spreadsheet, if they are more technical find an app that will better suit them.

Borrow as Little as Possible

Student loans should be utilized for tuition, books and necessary living expenses. It can be tempting to borrow more and use the money on a spring break trip or shopping at the mall, so it is important to remind that that student loans do not go away, and that trip may end up costing you thousands. Depending on how educated your child is with financial situations you may want to suggest that let you read over any loan paperwork before they sign it. The average college student in 2016 graduated owing $37,173.

Take Education Seriously

College is a new and exciting time for many young adults; it is often the first time they are away from home and able to find their wings. However, having too much fun and slacking at school can be detrimental to your education. Failing a class not only puts them farther from graduation, not only do you have to make up the class, but you will have to pay for it again.

Use Credit Wisely

The Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility, and Disclosure Act has limited the marketing on a college campus and preventing the issuers from extending credit to someone under the age of 21 unless they have proven income or an adult co-signer. If co-signing isn’t something you want to do, a parent may add their child to their card as an authorized user. Adding your child as an authorized user will allow them to begin establishing their credit and they can use in case of an emergency. Keep in mind that their sense of urgency may be a little different than yours, so determining the guidelines is essential.

 

Text Books

Text books are a major expense for college students, and over the course of the entire college career you could end up paying thousands of dollars on books. Ways to save on books may be buying used books, or renting or borrowing from a friend that may have taken the class the semester before you. There are several online companies where you can rent the books for a semester at a much lower price.

 

Basic Living Skills

Making sure that your child has a good understanding of basic living skills is important in saving money. Teaching your child how to cook or make a lunch instead of eating out daily, can save them thousands of dollars. Making sure they know how to do their own laundry can save you money by not having ruined clothes.

All parents want the best for their children and hope to provide them with the tools to become successful adults. The most important thing we can do is teach them by example, children learn by what they see.

Are You Wasting Money

Are You Wasting Money? 5 Common Ways You May Be Wasting Money- Credit Law Center

If you actually took the time to add it all up you would be in awe of how much you have wasted.

Here is a list of the most common ways Americans waste money.

Coffee

How many times a week do you stop and get a coffee from a high-end coffee shop? Even if you spend on average $4 per cup 3 times a week, that equals $12 a week, dig a little deeper, and that equals $624 a year! Imagine if you made your coffee at home and put that extra $624 into a savings account.

Eating Out

With our busy lives eating out at a fast food restaurant can be very convenient, but also a huge waste of money. For a family of four, the average cost for eating at a fast food restaurant can be about $25 per visit. If you do this two times a week that comes to $50 a week if you stick with this weekly pattern that may cost you around $2600 a year!!!! Just cutting it back to once a week would save you a significant amount of money.

 

Grocery Shopping When You are Hungry

Have you ever went to the grocery store hungry and you spent a considerable amount more than you had budgeted? The grocery store is notorious for putting things at the end of aisles to catch your attention and increase impulse buying. Going to the grocery store hungry may be harmful to your budget, try eating before you go to the store. If you have a budget that you have decided on and if truly need to stick to your budget, you might consider ordering groceries online and having them delivered to your home. Ordering online will stop impulse buying and helps you stick to your budget.

Cellphone Data

Cellphones are the norm in this day and age, and having one is no longer just for emergency situations. Having a cell phone with us now takes the place of bringing a camera along, we use the phone to look up directions, and anything else we can think of. An important money saving tip is to ensure you have the appropriate data plan from your cell phone provider. You may not be using the amount of data you have on your plan, or you may be going over the data and racking up astronomical charges per month. Be cautious and review your plan, so you get the biggest bang for your buck.

 

Gym Membership

At the start of every year, Americans rush to the gym thinking this will be the year you get fit. You get the gym and the enthusiastic representative signs you up for a yearly or monthly fee. Fast forward 2 months and you are sitting on your couch each night and not attending the gym anymore. What a waste of money! Gym memberships can be great for those of you that actually use them, however before joining a gym set a goal to work out on your own for a period of time. If you meet that goal reward yourself by joining.

What an awesome credit score can do for you

What Having an Awesome Credit Score Can Do For You – Credit Law Center

As an adult, we learn real fast that life likes to throw costly unexpected inconveniences at us. Having an awesome credit score could be a huge relief to you when these unexpected troubles happen. Think about this scenario, your car breaks down, and you need to borrow an extra $1000 to fix it if you have an awesome credit score getting a loan to cover it may not be much of a problem at all. Let’s say you have a less than average credit score, getting that loan may cause stress, anxiety, and leave you with that empty pit in your stomach. It’s not a secret of the benefits of having a higher credit can do for you, but can you imagine the sense of freedom and relief it would give you.

 

What Can an Awesome Credit Score Do For You?

Low-interest rates

Interest rates are the amount of money the lending institution charges you for taking out a loan. Interest rates are charged on personal, car and mortgage loans, as well as on credit cards. The higher the credit score, the lower the interest rate. Lenders consider high credit ratings a good bet to give a loan, as it shows you are credit worthy. The difference of one percent on a 30-year mortgage loan can be tens of thousands of dollars over the life of the loan.

Higher Limits

Lending institutions will most likely be more willing to lend larger amounts of money to higher credit score consumers. Having higher scores may also make you eligible for higher credit limits on your credit cards. The benefit of having higher limits not only gives you a greater purchasing power but if you use the credit cards correctly, it could help increase your credit score. Utilizing less than 30% of your total available credit limit could significantly benefit your credit score.  Credit utilization calculates nearly one-third of your credit score.

More Rewards and Perks

Many credit cards offer the best travel points, cash back and numerous other rewards and perks for high credit score customers.Some companies credit card companies offer bonuses for signing up with their bank. These are just a few perks offered for having excellent credit.

Approval for Renting or Leasing is Much Easier

Many landlords and leasing agencies run credit checks to determine the amount of security deposit they will require. They may decide not to even rent to you depending on what your credit score is. The higher your credit score is, the more certain the landlord will be in signing a lease agreement. Higher credit shows that you are financially responsible and more likely to pay your rent on time.

Low Insurance Premiums

Many home and auto insurance companies run what is a “soft hit”(soft means an inquiry that does not hurt your credit rating) to determine your risk as an insured. Having a high credit score shows them that you are less of a risk to them. Extensive research has proven that an insured individual with a higher credit score is less likely to file a claim or having a lapsed policy for non-payment.

 

Don’t Let Your Score Discourage You

If you have an average or below credit score doesn’t let it get you down. An important key to the puzzle is to remember that the credit score is yours and not anyone else’s, you have the opportunity to try and improve it anytime. It is important to keep in mind that 79% of all credit reports are inaccurate and report incorrect information, and you have the right to review your credit report once a year at www.annualcreditreport.com. The CFPB also has some great information on how to get your score up and keep it up.

Having an awesome credit score can save you thousands of dollars in interest rates, insurance premiums and offer you several rewards and perks. In my opinion, the greatest benefit of having a high credit score is the opportunity to have options in case of an emergency. We never know what life is going to throw at us, and being financially strapped in the time of need can cause many emotions to erupt.

Are You Afraid of the Dark? How to Face Your Credit Fear

Are You Afraid of The Dark? How to Face Your Credit Fear

Throughout our lives, we all come across situations or things that we fear. As a child, I can remember being afraid of the dark and the monsters under the bed. I am positive many of you can remember lying still at night and not wanting to move or a make a noise, but suddenly you get the courage to get up and run for the light. Do you remember the exhilarating feeling that came over you when you realized there was no reason to be afraid of the dark? Magically, there weren’t any monsters at all.

Each day as I sit in my cubicle and listen to our credit analysts help our customers face the same kind of fears only this time it is adult situations. Many of our credit repair clients start out “Afraid of the Dark.”

1. Shining the Light on Your Fear

The first step in overcoming your fear of your financial situation, you must be willing to shine the light in all the dark corners of their situation and face it head on. A significant amount of our clients are afraid to look at their credit reports; they fear their credit scores are so low or what the report might have on it. Most of the time once they have faced that fear head on and build up the courage to flip that light on they get that same exhilarating feeling they did as a kid.

2. Replace the Negative Words and Thoughts.

Recently a friend of mine gave me a copy of the hit book, “The Secret” by Rhonda Bryne. This book goes into great detail on the “law of attraction.” and how our thoughts and words affect our daily life. How many times as a child do you remember hearing “Can’t never did anything?”As much as we hated hearing that phrase, we all know that if we don’t believe in ourselves, we will never achieve it. Same thing goes with the words like fear, or it is going to take forever for credit repair. Each day wake up and decide that you will succeed, you will achieve your ultimate goal. For example, remove the phrase ‘ I am so worried my credit score will take forever to improve’ replace that phrase ‘ I have faith my score will improve enough to qualify for a home.’

3. Setting small goals to help eliminate fear

The definition of Fear is a vital response to physical and emotional danger. Fear is often the cause of our mind wandering or creating a sense of fear for the unknown. The best way to overcome fear is to conquer it. One key factor to overcoming our fear with credit issues is to set small obtainable goals. If you set small goals that you can achieve you will quickly start to see the results. Exposing your fears will be a key to succeeding.


 

Are You Paying High Insurance Premiums Due to Low Credit Scores?

Are You Paying Higher Insurance Premiums Due to Low Credit Scores? – Credit Law Center

If you’ve ever applied for a home, auto, personal or small business loan, you probably already know or figured out pretty quickly that your credit score plays a large part in the interest rate you’ll pay or if you can qualify for financing at all. What you may not realize is the fact that your credit score can also determine what you will pay for insurance premiums.

 

Insurance companies underwriting departments have been using what’s called a credit-based insurance score (CBI score) since the early 1990’s to calculate the risk of the insured having an insurance claim/loss.  The insurance underwriting departments will collect data from one or all three of the major U.S. Credit bureaus; at this time the data will be entered by the underwriters in a computer program that generates the score for them. FICO estimates that 95% of auto insurers and 85% of homeowners’ insurers use credit-based insurance scores in states where it is allowed.

 

What Factors Into a Credit-Based Insurance Score

An ideal CBI score is typically 760 and above and a riskier score is 600 and below, according to the Insurance Information Institute. The score that you receive will depend on several factors, per the National Association of Insurance Commissioners:

  1. Payment history, indicating the timeliness of payments made on any outstanding debt (this makes up for 40% of your score)
  2. Unpaid debt, this is the amount of money you currently owe to creditors (30% of your score)
  3. Length of credit history, which is the time you’ve had a line of credit in place (15%)
  4. New credit history, indicating if and when you’ve recently applied for new lines of credit (10%)
  5. A mix of credit, which represents the categories and types of credit you currently have, such as a mortgage, student loan, and credit cards (5%).

 

Your CBI score can be negatively affected by having judgments, liens, bankruptcies, and repossessions within the last five years of applying for insurance.

Important Things to Remember about Your Credit-Based Insurance Score

Insurance companies DO NOT consider the following in the calculation of your Credit-Based Insurance Score:

    • Income
    • Ethnic Group
    • Gender
    • Religion
    • Disability
    • Nationality
    • Public Assistance Sources of Income

Having a higher CBI and good driving record allows insurance companies to charge you less for your insurance premiums.

Don’t give up hope on saving money on those premiums. Your CBI score is much like your FICO credit score; there are ways to improve both scores.
Here are some steps you can take:

  • Pay all your household bills on time.
  • Pay your credit card balance on time each month, stay below your credit limits. A Balance of 30% or below the credit card limit is ideal.
  • Think twice before opening up new lines of credit, be credit wise and do not overextend yourself
  •  Don’t get your credit pulled (hard hit) more than ten times in a 12 month period.
  • Monitor your credit report on a credit monitoring sites such as www.freecredithub.com to make sure your report is accurate and resolve any errors or discrepancies you discover as soon as possible.

Last but not least, do not make frivolous insurance claims, shop around occasionally, make sure you are getting the most amount of coverage for the least amount of money.   Nothing contributes to high insurance premiums like a lackadaisical or naive consumer. Don’t be the consumer who stays with the same company for years without knowing what shape their credit is in and by not taking the time to compare insurance companies and rates. The Arkansas Insurance Department published a report in 2015, analyzing the impact of credit scores on different lines of personal insurance. Across all lines of coverage, the department found 86% of consumers with credit-based insurance saw their premiums decrease or not be affected at all. If it has been a while since you had a quote you reach out to CLC Insurance Group to see if you can save.

Are you among the 12 Million Americans?

Tax Liens and Judgements Removed Equals A Jump in Your Credit Score – Credit Law Center

If you are one of the 12 million consumers that have derogatory tax liens or civil judgments on your credit report you may see a score increase after these critical items are removed.

As of July 1, the three major credit reporting agencies, Equifax, Experian, and Transunion, will be removing the derogatory information on credit reports. The information being removed will be tax liens and civil judgments and will affect approximately 7% of all credit reports.

The credit reporting agencies have made the decision to eliminate these items after lawmakers recently settled within more than 30 states. Attorney generals alleged that tax liens and civil judgments were often attached to wrong consumers and hurting millions of Americans from obtaining credit.

The New Guidelines for the Reporting

The new guidelines will require all tax liens and judgments to match three of the four items to attach the derogatory information to the consumer accurately.

  1. Name
  2. Address
  3. Security Number
  4. Birthdate.

If the tax lien or civil judgment does not match 3 of these items it will not be reported.

What does the removal of Tax Liens and Judgements mean for Lenders

Tax liens and judgments are in the major derogatory events category; this could be rather concerning for lenders. The removal of these items may fool banks into to thinking the credit application may be a better credit risk. Lenders will need to find a way to balance the consumer’s needs versus the banks need to assess who is likely to pay back the loans accurately.

 

Benefits to Consumers

According to FICO, out of 200 million Americans with credit scores, 12 million will see an increase in their score. The increase could be at minimum 10 points and maybe as much as 40 to 60 point increase. The removal of this items could help consumers who were not able to get approved for items as little a cell phone contract without a large deposit, to as big as a lower interest car loan, or a home mortgage.