Credit Repair named fastest growing company

Credit Law Center No. 1,578 on Inc. 5000 Fastest Growing Company List

Here at Credit Law Center, we believe in being a team of individuals who are all working for the higher cause and greater good of the company. Our focus and efforts have paid off, and we are honored to rank number 1,578 on the Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing Private Companies in America. Over the last three years, Credit Law Center has had a 249% rise in revenue. The soaring growth has allowed us to expand our team, move into a new building to accommodate our needs in a way that will help us continue down the path of expansion and improve the buying power of so many clients.

 

Who is Credit Law Center?

In 2009 Credit Law Center was established, by a few guys with a vision and a passion for helping consumers improve their buying power, as well as holding the credit reporting agencies and debt collectors accountable. As CEO, Bo Thomas would say, “I’m a recovering mortgage Banker, and I enjoyed doing mortgages and had some pretty great success there. Every year I kept seeing more and more of the common sense of lending just keep getting distracted. It used to be based on how much money you made how you paid your bills, but it rolled itself into or manifested into now it is about what’s your credit score before you can make a decision.”  About 90 days into this new adventure Bo realized that for Credit Law Center to be successful and to do more than what an average consumer can do on their own, Credit Law Center needed an attorney needed an attorney to join forces. That is when he reached out to Attorney and friend Tom Addleman. Tom reviewed the information and immediately said, ” let’s go get these guys they are making mistakes!” Since that day in 2009 Credit Law Center has grown to a staff of about 75 employees, including five full-time attorneys on staff.

What Does Credit Law Center Do?

Our core Mission as the company is to help consumers improve their buying power, so whether you can or can’t get approved, but even if you are approved, but you want to improve your situation to where you can get a better rate or the best rate. Credit scores will continue to have a more relevant impact in all areas of consumers lives. Credit reports are required by law to be 100% verifiable and accurate we work to get the information corrected or deleted. When our staff finds errors or violations, our attorneys pursue them and fight for your rights.

Our growth has also allowed us to take on many new referral partners that are coming alongside us because they see the value of what we can do for our clients. We see and believe in the dreams of each of our customers as well as our employees, and we seek to communicate that in the work that we do each day. As one of the nations fastest growing companies, we have the motivation to run a smart, successful business that is well-known for our generosity and ability to change the lives of our clients.  Credit Law Center as a whole would like to extend a huge thank you to each dedicated individual that has played a part in our expansion and growth. Each and every one of you made it possible for us to receive this honor. We look forward to the years to come and the many lives we will help restore in the future.

Identity Theft, Credit Repair $16 billion in 2016

Victims of Identity Theft Are Robbed of $16 billion in 2016

If you haven’t heard the term “identity theft” before you may have been living under a rock. A recent Identity Fraud Study was released this year by Javelin Strategy & Research; this study revealed that 15.4 million Americans were victims of identity theft. These crooks were successfully able to rob two million more victims and stole $16 billion dollars.

What is Identity Theft?

According to the Federal Trade Commission,(FTC), theft of an individual’s  identity occurs when someone uses your information, like your name, Social Security number to commit fraud or other crimes. Thieves are very talented when attempting to commit these types of crimes, and they look for obvious ways to obtain your information.

Ways Thieves obtain your Identity:

  • Stolen Credit Cards
  • Documents or receipts from the trash
  • Phone or email scams
  • Hacking unsecured and wireless networks

Types of Identity Theft?

Once a thief has gained access to your personal information they can obtain access to your existing credit cards, open new accounts, file fraudulent tax returns and more. Below we have named a few:

  1. Financial Theft
  2. Medical Theft
  3. Insurance Theft
  4. Criminal Theft
  5. Driver’s License Fraud
  6. Social Security
  7. Phishing Scams

Ways to Protect Yourself

1.Be Careful of What You Share. With social media and technology on the rise, these pesky crooks can find out a lot of personal information about just by doing a simple search. The information you share on Facebook, Linkedin and all the other media sites these criminals may be able to use the information you have shared to validate your identity. When you are sharing be careful of the information you share.

2.Keep Financial and Personal Information Secure. Here is another example of where technology can come back to bite us if we are not careful. Many Americans use their computers to pay bills, keep bank statements, financial planning and much more. If you do this the important thing to remember is to make sure your computer has a firewall installed; you should use anti-virus and anti-spyware software and secure your wireless network. Another important reminder is when you do have the actual hard copy of any financial or personal information dispose of it properly, and always keep them in a safe place.

3. Keep Your Cellphone Protected. Cell phones apps allow us to track our bank accounts, track your budget and finances, store credit card information, and just about anything else your heart desires. When downloading these apps make sure you are using a trusted and reputable company. Always check the ratings and reviews of any app you are downloading. Make sure you secure your device with a strong password, in case you lose it.

4. Make Sure Your Passwords Are Strong and Secure.  Create strong passwords, not easy to guess. Using passwords that contain, kids names, birth dates, maiden names or anything that may be guessed.

Are You a Victim?

If you believe your identity has been stolen, it is necessary to immediately contact any financial institutions we have accounts with and place a hold on them. You will also want to contact the FTC to file a formal complaint. Make sure to provide them with any and all questionable activity so they can thoroughly build a case.

Debt Collectors

Debt Collectors Are Required to Follow the Rules

 

Carrying outstanding debt is stressful enough, but when you add aggressive debt collectors to the equation, it can be a bit overwhelming. Have you ever sat back and wondered if what they are doing is legal? Debt collectors do have limits, and they are required by law to follow certain guidelines.

Debt collectors must comply with the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act, FDCPA; this act prohibits abusive, deceptive and unfair debt practices

 

Debt Collectors

The FDCPA defines a debt collector as a company or agency that is in the business of recovering outstanding money that is owed on a delinquent account. Debtors will hire debt collectors to collect money that owed to them, and in return give them a percentage of the portion that is collected.

 

Typical Debt Collector Violations

  1. Calling Before 8 AM
  2. Calling After 9 PM
  3. Using abusive or vulgar language
  4. Calling third parties, (debt collectors may contact your spouse)
  5. Communicate to anyone else that the collector is trying to collect
  6. Contacting you after you have submitted a written request to cease contact
  7. Continuously call you
  8. Use or threaten violence
  9. Threaten action they cannot take
  10. Failing to send a written statement validating the debt
  11. Continues to Collect before sending validation letter
  12. Contacting your employer if your employer prohibits it
  13. Debt collectors may often use false statements.
  14. Threatening to have you arrested or that you are being sued when no action has been taken
  15. Giving false information to the credit reporting agencies.
  16. Sending a letter that looks like an official court document if it isn’t
  17. Collecting interest, fees, or other charges on top of what you owe, unless it is in the contract
  18. Contacting by using a postcard.
  19. Repeatedly call you to harras you.

What to Do If You Believe A Debt Collector is in Violation of the FDCPA

If you feel a debt collector has violated the FDCPA you have the right to take action.
You may report any problems you have with a debt collector to your state Attorney Generals Office, the Federal Trade Commission, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. You may also reach out to an attorney that practices law in these areas, you have the right to sue a collector within in one year from the date the law was violated. If you win, the judge can require the collector to pay you for any damages you can prove you suffered. The judge may also grant you up to $1000 even if you can’t prove that you suffered any damages.

If you feel you have been violated in the last year, Credit Law Center isn’t just a credit repair company. We have five attorneys on staff that handle situations like this every day. These laws are here for to help protect you.

Debt Top 10 Reasons

Top 10 Causes of Debt – Credit Law Center

Debt is the amount of money borrowed by one party from another. Consumers typically borrow money from credit card companies or private loans for purchases that they may not be able to afford upfront. Debts are acquired from a car loan, credit card, personal loan or even student loans. In June 2017, U.S. consumer debt rose 3.9 percent to $3.856 trillion. That surpassed last month’s record of $3.843 trillion. The key to debt is being able to pay it off without damaging your credit score.

Top Ten Causes of Debt

  1. Reduced Income With The Current Amount of Expenses
  2. Divorce
  3. Poor Money Management Skills
  4. Medical Expenses
  5. Gambling and Addictions
  6. Underemployment/Not Earning Enough
  7. Spending before you get Paid
  8. Not Saving Enough
  9. Inflation
  10. Financial Literacy

 

Examples of the top 10 causes of debt

1. Reduced Income with the current amount of expenses: Earning a lesser amount per year could be due to a job change. Outstanding bills don’t just go away with a job change. Your current bills will likely stay the same and possibly could increase. You may feel like you are unable to keep up with your monthly bills and wind up deeper and deeper in debt.

2.Divorce: As divorce continues to become more common and couples are spending a significant amount of money beating each other up in the court rooms. One thing is valid divorce, and family lawyers are not cheap, and the more time you spend battling it out in courts, the more you will spend on legal fees.

3. Poor Money Management Skills: Many Americans live paycheck to paycheck, and one little mishap can cause you to snowball. Keeping a monthly budget is essential when you have a debt to pay off. If you are not keeping track of your monthly income and the amount you are putting out in bills, you will wind up in financial trouble.

4. Medical Expenses: Medical services are often necessary to remain healthy, and depending on your situation can be extremely harmful to your pocket book. Many doctors, dentists, and hospitals require the payments at the time of service. A significant portion of specialists and dentists accept credit cards and offer to finance. Essentially this means more debt for you, not them.

5. Gambling and Addictions: Gambling and any other addictions can be downright dangerous financially! Gambling may seem exciting at the time, but dealing with the financial strain after you have spent your house payment, car payment and possibly drained your savings you may feel devastated. If you have a gambling problem or any other addiction that is draining your pocket book, reach out to a professional for help.

6. Underemployment/Not Earning Enough: This is very similar to #1. If you are underemployed, you may feel it is a temporary situation, and in a matter of time, it will work it’s way out. This can lead to a false sense of financial relief especially when you are collecting unemployment. Taking a break is great, but you will want to make sure you are making more money than your monthly bills and ending up in a financial hole.

7. Spending before you get paid: Counting your chickens before they hatch is never a good thing. Buying something today depending on tomorrow is never a good thing. Life can change in a matter of minutes, buying something in hopes of an upcoming bonus could leave you in a financial bind, if something unexpected happens and you don’t receive that bonus. Don’t spend until the money is physically in your hand.

8. Not Saving Enough: Putting aside money every month can significantly impact your financial health. It doesn’t matter how much you make monthly you will want to save something every month. Building a nest egg for emergencies is crucial. Ideally, you will want to try and save up to six months of living expenses in case of something bad happens, such as a layoff, you become ill or a divorce. Remember to “Pay yourself first

9. Inflation:  is often overlooked when it comes to debt. You may not realize how much the cost of living goes up every year. In recent times companies and administrations have struggled to stay afloat and are unable to give annual raises. With the price of housing, food, gas and other expenses increasing annually, this leaves the employees finding ways to supplement the cost increase. Look at the type of savings account you have your nest egg in, find ways to cut back on food and other expenses.

10. Financial Literacy: Many consumers do not quite understand how many works, how money grows, how interest rates function or how to invest in your futures. I am sure there is someone in your immediate circle who doesn’t even know how to balance a checkbook. Think back to when you were in school, were you taught this information? You are responsible for your own life and future, therefore taking charge is your responsibility. If you feel you are inadequate in these areas, take charge and educate yourself. Financial mistakes can be very costly and take you years to recover from being uneducated.

Credit Score Tips

Improve Your Credit Score, Don’t Let Your Past Financial Decisions Keep You Down

Your past financial decisions may feel like they are coming back to haunt you, and handling the complications that arise from having a less than perfect credit score can be rather stressful. Dealing with your past credit mistakes can leave you feeling extremely frustrated and hopeless, but the good there is re-establishing a good credit score can be done.

Ways to Improve Your Credit Score After Bad Financial Decisions

A credit score belongs to you and only you, and no matter what caused you to a have a less than stellar credit score it is only yours to improve. It is common for many Americans living with a low credit score to ignore the problem. The first step in improving your credit score is to face it head on and attack the situation with confidence. Here are a few steps to take when what to improve your score.

Look for errors in your credit report

The first step in repairing your credit is to thoroughly carefully review your credit report to determine that all information is yours and it belongs to you. By law, credit reports have to be timely, accurate, and verifiable, and even though the particular item may belong to you finding an error may allow the item to be removed entirely from your report. You will want to pull all three credit reports from each credit reporting agencies, Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. Make sure you review names, addresses, social and look to make sure the dates on the accounts reporting are correct. If you determine there is inaccurate information reporting you will need to dispute the information.

High Balances

Often having a low credit score can be caused by utilizing too much of your available credit. You may wanted to buy that 60″ TV, but did you understand what maxing out your credit card would do to your credit score. 30% of your credit score is based on your available credit, if you have credit cards with balances greater than fifty percent of the maximum, you should pay those down as quickly as possible. Creditors like to you see you using your available credit, but still keeping the balances under 30% of the allotted credit.

Not able to get credit?

If you do not have enough trade lines, the key number is to have two installments and two revolving; you will want to try and obtain credit slowly. So don’t rush out and try to get all four at once! Start out with one. If your credit score is too low and you do not qualify for a loan or credit card you do have options. Obtaining credit with a low score can be done if you are willing to put up a security deposit. Many banks have secured credit cards and or a CD Building loan. Since your credit score is like a report card and you are graded on your payment history, you will need to make certain you can pay the monthly payments and make sure you can pay on time. One late payment will significantly impact your score.

Pay on time

Earlier I mentioned that credit bureaus grade you on how you pay your trade lines. Making sure you pay at least the minimum balance and on time each month will significantly impact your credit score. One late payment could drastically lower your credit score and as much as 100 points.

Increasing your credit score doesn’t happen overnight and each individual score has a different circumstance. There is no cookie cutter way to follow and coming up with the correct action plan designed for you is the key. Once you have determined the correct plan of action, being disciplined will be extremely important. If at anytime you feel like you might backslide, remind yourself ut what motivated you to improve your score, maybe it is to buy a house, finally buy a brand new car, or to get the job you always wanted. Whatever your reason may be, once you have reached the light at the end of the tunnel it will be well worth it.  If you aren’t exactly sure what steps to take reach out to one of our credit analysts and get a free consultation.

Judgment By Default Concept

Are You Being Sued By a Debt Buyer? – Credit Law Center

Are you being sued by a debt buyer? If you have, you’re not alone. Our office has seen a significant increase in clients coming in with lawsuits from debt buyers.

What is a Debt Buyer

A debt buyer is a company that purchases delinquent debt from original banks and credit card companies, these companies then utilize the states court systems to collect on the acquired accounts that have been charged off from the original creditors.

 

Practices of Debt Buyers

Debt buyers will purchase these charged off debts from original creditors after they have charged them off their books. Many debt buyers are able to acquire debts at a very low price, sometimes pennies on the dollar. The debt buyers main goal is to make money, and the easiest way for them to make money is to use the state’s court system to do that. Their main goal isn’t to string you along in a lengthy court battle, it’s to summons you in hopes, you don’t show up. Approximately 90% of lawsuits filed by debt buyers end in a default judgment, this means by you not showing up the judge will grant them exactly what they are asking for and sometimes this will include lawyers cost and interest. Basically, you have forfeited all your rights and they get everything they want.

Why is it important you show up

If you have been served with a summons remember you have rights to legal representation. You have the right to make sure the debt is yours. It must be timely, accurate and verifiable. Often times when these debts are purchased it may be bought by the highest bidder in online, and it is often sold more than once. The information they purchase may even be on a spreadsheet and can easily prone to errors. If you are being sued by one of these companies make sure you do your due diligence and show up. Do not allow a default judgment, make them prove to you it is your debt. If you are being sued and need further assistance, please reach out to one of our attorneys.

79% of All Credit Reports Contain Errors

79% of All Credit Reports Contain Errors – Credit Law Center

Hard to believe that 79% of all credit reports contain errors, but according to the FTC it is true. I know you are thinking!!!! How many of us would still be employed if we even made half the mistakes as the credit reporting agencies do on a consumers report?

So… When was the last time you looked at your credit report? Professionals suggest reviewing your report at least once a year, and you may do that at freeannualcreditreport.com. You’re probably thinking; well what do I look for? Here a few of the most common mistakes on credit reports.

1. Identify Errors

Look for information that isn’t your name, address, date of birth, social security numbers. Credit reporting agencies may often get this type of information mixed up. We see a lot of cases where you may be a Jr and your father a Sr, at one time you lived in the same house, so the credit reporting agencies can easily get this information crossed. Another example of how things can get information can be mixed is f you have a common name like Bob Smith; it’s common to have more than one Bob Smith in the same town. If you have ever been a victim of identity theft, you will want to carefully review this section to make sure the addresses are correct, date of birth.

Inaccurate reporting of account status

Inaccurate reporting of an account status can have a significant impact on your credit score. Below are the most common ways per a recent publication from the CFPB.

    1. Closed accounts reported as open
    2. Debt listed more than once(possibly using two different company names)
    3. Incorrect date of last payment, date it was opened, or date of the first delinquency.
    4. You are listed as the account owner when you were just the authorized user on the card.
    5. Accounts that are incorrectly reported as late or delinquent.

 

 

Here is an example of inaccurate reporting.

credit repair

 

Here is what correct reporting looks like.

 

Correct Credit Reporting

What if you find an error?

Finding errors on your report can be upsetting, but always keep in mind that by law credit reports must be timely, accurate and verifiable. There are several different outlets you can take in trying to correct the errors, you may dispute the information with major credit reporting agencies, or seek professional help. Be careful who you choose as some credit repair companies may not be able to help with all areas

 

 

Correcting Errors May Significantly Impact Your Score

Leaving incorrect information on your report may significantly impact your credit score and any interest rates that you have on future loans.

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Credit Report- What is a Credit Report - Credit Law Center (1)

What is a Credit Report? – Credit Law Center

A credit report is a detailed compilation of information about the way you handle your debt, which is managed by businesses known as credit reporting agencies. In the United States, we have three major credit reporting agencies Equifax, Experian, and Transunion. All three credit reporting agencies collect your detailed information from lenders to create a credit report, and depending on the type of accounts you have will update every 30 days. Occasionally, some business do not report monthly, but if at any point you let the trade line go unpaid or late they will report.

What is a Credit Report?

1. Personal Information

This section will include Social security number, date of birth, address and employment history. This information can be excellent in identifying identity theft. Always verify that the information reporting is correct, especially if you have the same name and address as another family. This information can easily be reported incorrectly, and you may end up with a mixed credit file. Having a file that is combined could be a significant hassle when trying to correct it.

2. Trade Lines

This section will include department store cards, automobile loans, mortgages and credit cards, and depending on the status of the account it may or not be positive or negative. If you have had a bankruptcy, charge off or repossession this may be negative.

3. Collection Accounts

A collection may be an unpaid medical bill, an unpaid utility bill, or any other bill that went into delinquency and being reported to the credit bureaus from the original company. A Collection item listed on the credit report will always be considered harmful no matter if it is paid or unpaid.

4.Court Records

Court records include bankruptcies, satisfied or unsatisfied liens, and satisfied or unsatisfied judgments.

 

5.Inquiries

When you apply for a credit card, personal loan or home or automobile loans a lender will pull your credit file, and an inquiry will be reported to the credit reporting agencies. An inquiry may not show on all three major credit reports, as some lenders us just one bureau to pull your history.

Making sure your credit report is accurate and verifiable is important. You should check your report at least once a year to make sure the items reporting are correct. AnnualCreditReport.com allows you to review each major credit reporting agency once a year at no cost.

Credit Repair - Credit Law Center

5 Do’s and Don’ts of Buying a Home – Credit Law Center

Buying a home can be one of the biggest decisions you will ever make. Once you have decided to take the plunge and buy a home, there are some things you may want to avoid during the process.

We have created a list of the 5 Do’s and Don’t of buying a home.

5 Do’s of Buying a Home

1. Review and Monitor your credit report: Credit Reports contain errors, approximately 79% of all credit reports contain errors. To get the best interest rates you will need the highest credit score. Make sure you review your report and determine if all information is reporting accurate, timely and verifiable.

2. Manage your debt: Your revolving debt ratio makes up 30% of your credit score. Keeping your debt ratio as close to 1% will have the best positive impact on your credit score. Debt ratios about 50% will have a negative impact on your score, while anything under 30% will increase the positive impact.

3. Identify any negative items: Attempting to correct inaccurate information on your credit report during the home buying process may affect your credit scores and put an account in dispute.

4. Understand your credit scores: Over 90% of lenders nationwide use the FICO scoring model. Currently, FICO does not allow credit monitoring sites to use their scores. The scores you see online may be dramatically different than the ones your lender will use.

5. Seek Professional Help: If there are issues that arise in your credit before you can purchase a home, reach out to a professional.

 

 

5 Don’ts of Buying a Home

1. Don’t add any new debt: Buying a new home can be exciting. You can’t wait to decorate your home and furnish it, however, don’t let that tempt you in to opening a new credit card. Adding new credit and more debt can significantly impact your FICO scores. Try and refrain from using credit cards until after the loan is funded.

2. Don’t pay off old collections: Old collections may harm your credit scores if you pay them off. Paying off debts can affect the date of last activity on the account, and this could damage your credit scores.

3. Don’t shop around too much: It is true that you can pull your credit within 30 days, and it only counts as one credit pull, BUT inquiries over 30 days old may have an adverse effect on your credit score.

4. Don’t pay off your credit cards: A zero balance on your credit cards shows up in the FICO scoring model as “no data” which can lower your credit score. Keeping a balance of 1% of the available balance is the key number.

5. Don’t MISS ANY PAYMENTS: This is the most important thing to remember! Payment history accounts for the largest portion(35%) of what makes up your credit scores. A 30-day late payment can lower a score by 100 points and potentially cause you to lose the loan.