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Protect Yourself Against Identity Theft

The Federal Trade Commission has stated that reports of identity theft had skyrocketed to record highs in 2020 and continue to to rise in 2021! In 2019 the total amount of reported cases was around 650,00o while cases in 2020 had  breached 1 million!  2021 is shaping up to have similar results and it is grossly apparent that consumers need to bolster themselves against the onslaught of thieves looking to take advantage of there information. In this blog, we will go over how to protect yourself when it comes to identity theft, what to look out for and what you can do if someone has stolen your identity!

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

Have you been a victim of identity theft? Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors and complete a free consultation please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

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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.

5. Monitor Your Credit. You’re entitled to one free copy of your credit report every 12 months from each of the three nationwide credit reporting companies but monitoring your credit on a regular basis is the best way to help protect your score! Sites like Credit Armor allow consumers to monitor all three bureau reports with monthly pulls, track how your credit score changes over each month, and provides helpful identity theft protection tools like fraud insurance!

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.

Poor credit and renting

Renting With Poor Credit

Less Than Perfect Credit Scores and Living Situations.

Many families deal with tough situations when it comes to rentals and the landlords that come with them. According to the Business Insider, more Americans are renting than at any time in the last 50 years.  I can recall a time when I rented a home that had mice so big, that even the neighborhood cats didn’t try to catch them. My roommate and I had to put our fear and phobias aside and get rid of all the mice on our own. Maybe this is your current situation now, and your credit scores are forcing you to rent.

Are you currently living a rental nightmare?

We understand that this is not the ideal living situation.

At some point I lost track of the number of mice we ended up finding and shortly after, we were able to end our lease. Such is not always the case. Breaking a lease can be extremely difficult and some landlords are not as understanding. After many times of reaching out to our landlord with little to no help, we figured out a few things:

  1. Slumlords, as we call them, are only interested in the rent being turned in on time. (No, not all landlords are this ruthless, but you find while renting that few really care about the tenants residing in them).
  2. Quick fixes and patch jobs are ways they are able to make temporary fixes at little to no cost to them.
  3. With the demand and price being very high for a place to live, the quality of homes can be very, very low.
  4. Whether you are renting in a college town or a nice area in the suburbs, you meet less than perfect landlords. It is bound to happen!

 

So why are people renting more now, than they ever have?

These are just a few of the pain points that have been expressed:

  1. Poor/Bad credit-The inability to get approved for a home loan/mortgage.
  2. Lack of excess funds-Unable to make the down payment or fix things in the house once it is purchased.
  3. Lower expenses-Included in rent such as water or electric in most cases.

 

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These are just a few reasons why more people are currently renting. If you are in a position where renting is your only option, here are three things to take into consideration in an effort to make a change:

  1. Look into your state laws and know your rights as a tenant. Is your landlord hard to get in touch with? Do they fail to repair things in a timely manor? Each state has their own requirements when it comes to repairs on a rental. There is such thing as ‘repair and deduct’ which just means if you as the tenant pay for a repair, it can be documented and deducted from the rent. The landlord must know about the problem and it must be proven that the landlord failed to repair it within a reasonable time. If you are dealing with a lazy landlord or one that is hard to get in touch with, this may be something you deal with. Continue to reach out and attempt to communicate with them via email/phone. Document everything that happens and try to keep everything in text and email so there is written communication.
  2. Credit Repair with a Law Firm: A bad rental situation may have you interested in looking into buying a home. With a poor credit score, you may be far off from moving if you don’t take action now. With attorney-based credit repair, you can expect to see results between 30-180 days.  If you are unsure of what your current credit score is, you can pull a credit report here. Talk to a Credit Advisor today about what you can do to get out of your current rental and into your own home soon.

If low credit scores are keeping you from improving your living situation, please contact us today for a free credit consultation. We have helped over 30,000 clients improve their scores. Let us get you back on the path toward financial freedom.

Big Changes From Fannie Mae

A Change to Credit Score Eligibility in DU

Each and every point making up a credit score just got even more crucial! Fannie Mae’s new release (B3-.1-02) changes the way you calculate the qualifying credit score. For purchase apps with multiple borrowers, the qualifying score will be an average of the applicants’ middle score; see their example below.

To better provide opportunities for new homeowners, Fannie Mae is updating the credit score that is viewed by DU when assessing eligibility. Instead of using the representative credit score to make sure mortgage loans apply for the minimum requirement, it will instead follow the average median credit score! When determining an average median credit score for multiple buyers, the DU will be calculated between the each buyer. This is HUGE and should open many previously closed doors for people in your pipeline, so we wanted to get the word out! If you have anyone close to qualifying or that could use our help, please send them our way! Everyone gets a free consultation where we go over both what we can do to improve their scores and what they can do themselves.

Example;

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*View Fannie Mae’s Full Release
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Watch Now Button Png, Transparent Png - kindpngCheck out our video showing you 3 things people can do in 24 hours to improve a credit score that don’t cost a thing! But shhhhhh, we talk about these in our free consultations too… 🙂

Call us now at!    1-800-994-3070

Facts on FicoWhether you are looking to get into a new home or buy a new car, your credit scores are vital. If you are hoping to make changes for your financial future, you can start taking small steps now to get back on the right path. If you are in need of assistance today, our credit advisors can help educate you on what you can be doing on your end while we work on derogatory items on the credit report that are hindering you from higher scores.

A Note From The Author: The opinions you read here come from our editorial team. Our content is accurate to the best of our knowledge when we initially post it.

Article by Joe Peters

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

 

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Grain Valley

The Roadmap to Better Credit

Time to Pass Go: 

How to Establish a Good Credit Score

 

Whether it’s finding a home for your growing family, financing your dream car, entering a career or even attempting to acquire a decent rate on car insurance, everything in our lives revolves around credit. No matter what you do, someone is going to be viewing your past choices to asses if you are a liability in your future endeavors and they could be the deciding factor in whether you are living your life or just surviving.  I’m not saying this to scare everyone or say that without good credit you can’t live the life you are meant to live, but that acquiring good credit could provide opportunities that may seem out of reach!

So, I guess its time to get a credit card and start building my credit! Before we get overzealous with the power we have been given with this seemingly divine piece of plastic, let’s take a look into a few ways to reliably start building and maintain our credit.

 

Good Credit Starts with Good Financial Habits

Many people are trapped in credit purgatory, looking for debt consolidators that can act as magical credit faeries to reset their credit scores after they have fallen behind on payments. If you can’t establish good financial management habits, then the attempt to establish better credit will be futile. When building a house, you must start with a strong foundation and the same goes for credit. Some great financial habits that can help you improve your creditworthiness are:

  1. Record every transaction. I know it seems like a pain to keep everything logged, but in the end, you can observe how much you spend down to the last cent. If you wait to record your transactions, you may lose details along the way.
  2. Round up expenses. Say you go out to eat and your bill comes up to $24.14, you should list the transaction as $25.
  3. Round down income. When recording your transactions, you should round down your income. If you got paid $483.23 for the week, round it down to $483.00. This way you’ll have a few extra bucks when you balance your accounts. If your hard-core round down to $480.00 to save a little more and build the habit!

Start with a Secured Credit Card

Now that you have a good record of your finances, you can show your bank that you have a stable income and can responsibly manage your finances. This puts you in a better position to apply for a secured credit card and shows that you are low risk.

When you acquire your secured card, the bank will require you to deposit the limit of the card into an account. So, if the discussed limit of your card is $500, then you will deposit $500 into the secured account. When you make a purchase with this, the $500 is not touched (unlike a debit card that allows you to withdraw the money in your account). The purpose of the money you deposited in the secured account is to provide collateral if you default on paying off your balance.

 

Pay it Off on Time

Now that you have your secured credit card and you have made a few purchases with it, make sure that you have your balances paid off on time each month. The credit card companies make money from the interest charged for late payments and we are trying to establish and raise our credit!

Since you are beginning to establish credit, your interest rates are going to be pretty high compared to someone with established, good credit. In the end would you rather pay the final $20 that was left on the account, or $200 after the absurd interest rates? Some credit companies could also charge you a late fee or reduce your limit if you fail to pay your balance in full when it’s due!

 

Don’t Use Your Credit for Emergencies

Now, an emergency is classified differently among different people. Some classify an emergency as not having gas left in the car a few days before pay day and they are running on empty. Others classify an emergency as a new plasma screen TV going on sale at their local department store and the sale ends before payday. Learn to use your credit card for when it would be more stressful to pay with cash, don’t have an ATM around and can’t pull out cash or small day to day transactions. If you use your credit card for just “emergencies” you may find yourself slipping into a situation where everything is an emergency and spur of the moment purchases will become more frequent. Not having an 80-inch plasma TV to watch “Stranger Things” on is not an emergency!

 

Strive to be Creditworthy

Credit cards can have quite a lot of perks and pros associated with them; however, it could send you into bankruptcy if you aren’t vigilant in how you handle them. Once you have acquired a good credit score it may be tempting to open many additional cards because it’s easy for banks to lend to you now.  You should strive to be credit worthy and push on till your financial freedom. If you are credit worthy, you’ll have a good credit score and can enjoy your transactions and purchases without having to pull out your journal to log everything. Just like working out to get fit or building your career for a future, establishing and maintain good credit does not happen overnight, but in the end will help you achieve the life you know you are meant to live!

 

Author- Joe Peters

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

Check out Credit Law Center Reviews:
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Is It Possible For Your Score To Drop After Credit Repair?

How Does the Credit Utilization Percentage Impact My Credit Score?

 

When beginning credit repair, many consumers hold high hopes of ending their  repair process with a clean report and a high credit score. Removing a few items here and there can really make your positive credit shine through and can give you the push you need to acquire financing; but that may not always be the case. The topic of todays blog goes over how and why it is possible that your credit score can actually drop after removing negative items from your report.

Don’t Panic!

So what does it mean when your score is lower than it started after finishing your credit repair process? There are several reasons that can lead to a drop in your score, but remember, a lower score is not always a bad thing!

What to Know About Buying Credit Tradelines - Self. Credit Builder.

1- You Do Not Have Enough Active Tradelines

One reason that your score can drop after credit repair could be that you do not have enough open lines of credit reporting to  help establish your score. Each open account is meant to show how well you are able to manage your borrowed money and the more accounts you have that are reporting positively (low balance/ low credit utilization rate) the better your score will reflect your responsible actions. If you only have one or no active tradelines reporting after credit repair, there is a good chance you will see a dip in your scores.

2- You Have High Amounts Of Debt

High amounts of debt listed on your account and high credit utilization is another reason your score could drop after credit repair. With fewer accounts reporting, just like positive accounts, negative accounts can hold more weight with a clean account. Paying down your cards and keeping them below a 15% utilization rate will help negate a score drop and can greatly improve your final credit score. It is imperative that you monitor total utilization because it impacts 30 percent of your credit score! Experts frequently recommend consumers to keep their credit utilization rate below 20% to positively effect your credit. It is a good habit to keep your ratio as low as possible since high utilization is very off-putting  to lenders. A high utilization ratio tells lenders that you’re having a hard time managing your money and they are at risk to losing their investment.

3- You Have Nothing Left Reporting On Your Account

This situation is a little more rare but is entirely possible after credit repair. In some cases, a clean sweep of a credit report can drop the score due to the fact that there are no accounts left to report. When you first start building your credit, you technically start out at a credit score of zero. When a “clean sweep” occurs and you have a 100% removal, you are essentially back at square one. This is actually beneficial to you when it comes to building credit  as it means that any positive credit you accrue will impact your score much more than new tradelines and positive payment history would on an account with multiple derogatory items.

4- You Applied For New Credit Cards or Loans

During the credit repair process, it is imperative that you practice good credit habits to maximize the results after items are removed. One common mistake consumers make is applying for new lines of credit with the belief that opening a fresh tradeline will add positive credit to the account immediately. When you apply for a new card or a loan, you trigger a hard inquiry. Hard inquiries one their own are not terribly impactful on their own but multiple hard inquiries while repairing your credit can be detrimental to your score.

Credit Counseling & Credit Repair: What's the Difference?

Navigating through the Do’s and Don’ts of credit repair can seem overwhelming at first but avoiding a score drop after credit repair is not as hard as you might think. Our seasoned credit advisers will always audit your report prior to starting the program and provide instructions to maximize your return for your credit report specifically. A drop in your is avoidable as long as you follow the direction of your repair specialist and stay away from poor credit habits during the program.

Author- Joe Peters

Do you have questions about your credit report? If you would like to speak with one of our attorneys or credit advisors  and complete a free consultation please give us a call at 1-800-994-3070 we would be happy to help.

If you are hoping to dispute and work on your credit report on your own, here is a link that provides you with a few ideas on how to go about DIY Credit Repair.

Check out Credit Law Center Reviews:
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