Opting Out: Scams, Junkmail and Marketing Offers

Inboxes full of spam and junk mail, texts coming from unknown numbers alerting you to new investing opportunities, “urgent” mail with pre approved credit and loan offers, and new marketing practices are just some of the annoyances the average consumer must face on the daily. In todays blog, we will go over how to opt out of several of these annoying inquiry services and get your inbox cleaned up for good! 

Pre Approval Credit Offers 

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With your information readily available to creditors and  insurers from lists provided by the main three reporting bureaus, credit offers can flood your mailbox at any time without warning. Even though these offers are screened and sent to you due to the fact that you meet their criteria, you may not always be looking for a new line of credit or just don’t need one in general. Luckily the FCRA allows for consumers to opt out of these offers easily with just a few simple steps. To opt out, all you have to do is either; call  888-5-OPTOUT (888-567-8688) or submit  the request online at OptOutPrescreen.com. All you have to do is enter some personal information (SSN, birthdate and name) and you are on your way to opting out! The next step is to follow the prompt and either request a temporary or permanent opt out. Note that you will only be able to use the permanent opt out option if done through the website, but you can do the temporary option through the website prompt or over the phone. 

  

Direct Marketing Offers/ Junk Mail 

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Even if you have opted out of the credit offers, your information will still be listed on mailing lists. To opt out of these lists, there are a few things you are going to have to do. 

1- Visit DMAchoice.org and set up an account with the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and decide which mail you want to receive from DMA members. There will be a  $2 processing fee, which will cover you for the next 10 years. 

2-Visit the DMA website and set your email preferences to stop email marketing. 

3-Send a request by mail to the DMA Mail Preference Service, P.O. Box 643, Carmel, NY 10512 

Keep in mind, even when following the procedures listed above, there is no way to completely eliminate direct marketing offers, but it will drastically limit the amount that you receive. 

  

Telemarketers 

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All you need to do to stop unwanted telemarketing calls is to put your number on the national do not call registry. To do so, just call 1-888-382-1222 or visit www.donotcall.gov to register. Take in mind that the Do Not Call rules will not apply to every telemarketer. Non-profits,  many charities,  polling companies, and recent business endeavors are just a few unaffected by Do Not Call rules . The Do Not Call Registry will also not stop scammers who are operating illegally or committing fraud. To file a complaint against someone who violates the Do Not Call list, call 1-888-225-5322 (888-CALL-FCC). You can also complain online at https://consumercomplaints.fcc.gov/hc/en-us. If you are unsure if whoever is calling you is a debt collector or scammer, take a quick look at our blog to learn the difference Here 

  

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. 

 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. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Questions To Ask Before Starting Credit Repair

So You’re Saying There’s A Chance?

All jokes aside, credit repair is a very serious matter.  We have come into contact with many companies that over promise and under deliver when it comes to the services they offer. Have you been teetering back and forth between companies but have been unsure what to ask? Well here’s your guide for working through the sales pitch, and getting to the hard facts.

What is credit repair and how does it work?

When a consumer decides that they are going to attempt credit repair there is often a “pain point” involved that has led them to this decision. For many of our clients, they have visited a lending institution and have been denied financing. Being denied for a home loan or car loan can really get a person in gear and ready to go because credit is important when it comes to major financial purchases. Have you been denied financing recently and are trying to start making your way back toward better credit?

You may find yourself looking for ways to improve your credit score and running into a dead end with “repair” companies. Another thing you may have found is that you may have heard that you can work on your credit repair yourself.

A law firm, like Credit Law Center has the ability to do more than both a consumer and what a credit repair company can. The side by side shows just a few things that you may want to start quizzing your current or potential credit repair company you hire on and start to look for companies that can help you out in all aspects of credit repair.

1. What Will I Need To Get Started?

In order to enroll in credit repair with Credit Law Center you will want to speak with a credit advisor first. They will walk you through our process and what you can expect as far as cost and time frame goes. You will know after your consultation what the cost could be for credit repair if every item came off the report.

You will notice we said if everything comes off. Each item is priced per line item as we only want to charge a client for the successful removal of what we dispute. You would receive a contract ceiling price and be billed accordingly after each round is completed. We are a pay for performance company, which just means you will only pay us for results as opposed to a monthly repair company.

Next, you will need a copy of your credit report, which the credit advisor will pull with you. They will go through line by line with you and educate you on how you can improve scores while we work on any derogatory items on the report. You can expect to pay $1 at the consultation and then decide if you would like to work with our Law Firm. Again, you will be quoted all pricing before ever signing a contract.

Although the cost may sound cheaper per month for a monthly program, and manageable for your budget, it might hurt you more in the long run.  Too often we see consumers that agree to this and they end up signing up for something that takes years for them to improve their credit. Our typical time frame is 60-120 days depending on what other items are positively reporting on a report.

We will work inside anyone’s budget!

Finally, a contract will be emailed to you and after a few ID’s submitted to your credit advisor, you will be ready for credit repair! We are built for speed and this is why 53% of our business comes from referral partners like loan officers and real estate agents. They can expect that their clients will get results quickly, and be ready for financing.

2. Is There An Attorney Involved/Working For Me?

We currently have 3 attorneys in the office that our clients can speak with about their credit reports or any legalities they may come across during or after credit repair. These attorneys also have the ability to work on your behalf, to stop collection calls as well as work with you on what you can say now that you are a client. When a collection company calls you and you are represented by a law firm, you have the ability to request no further communication at that time. Should you continue to receive calls, you may be able to sue for continued harassment.

Does your current “law firm” have the ability to do this? Ask the hard questions!

 

free credit repair consultation

3. Do They Have The Ability To Negotiate And Sue?

Credit Law Center has sued all three major credit agencies: Experian, Transunion, and Equifax. Ask your current or potential company in questioning if they can do this!

Unfortunately for a consumer, there are many ways that these agencies and collection companies go in and break the law. The main reason for this is due to the lack of education out there about credit and what can or cannot be done. You want a legal team guiding you and informing you of your rights through this process.

Our legal team is versed in the FDCPA (Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) and  FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act).

Although your credit advisor will not give you legal advice, you can rest assured that as a client you have access to any of the attorneys on staff about matters such as harassing phone calls and items being misreported. They can also negotiate debts on your behalf or sue for damages if you have been impacted by misreporting on a credit report.

4. Who Will Be Monitoring My Credit?

There seems to be many companies out there right now that do not monitor the clients credit while in repair, or do not let them know if they have new activity or items reported. We will monitor your credit with our monitoring service and will update you every 45 days or so on your report. You have access to a copy of the report at all times.

Do you receive updated copies of your credit report with your current service?

This is vital for us, as it allows us to see what items are being removed when we dispute and allows us to also see if you are ready to go from a credit score standing on financing. We will never hold a client in repair any longer than need be. If they are at a point that a lender says they are ready to move forward, we will pull them out of repair and send them on their way!

5. Am I Being Billed Monthly Regardless of Items Being Removed or Not?

Lastly, and most importantly, ask what you are being billed for. If you are working with a credit repair company and spending money monthly with no activity as far as your score moving at all, it may be time to make a switch. We are saying there’s a chance! If you work with the right company that can provide you with great results and you listen to the education our credit advisors provide, you may be off to your dream home or dream car sooner than you thought!

If  you are currently working with a credit repair company and are not satisfied with your results, please let us know. We would be happy to help you get financially ready for whatever your next steps might be (house loan, car loan, etc.) Please  contact us today for your personal consultation with a Credit Advisor. We have helped over 30,000 clients improve their scores. Let us get you back on the path toward financial freedom.

Article By Breana Washington

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.

Check out Credit Law Center’s infographic on 4 myths of collections reporting on credit reports.
credit reports

5 Ways To Help Manage Your Accounts

Credit Alerts Worth Setting Up Now

In order to maintain great credit scores, keeping track of all the activity on your accounts is key! Smart phones are attempting to make our lives easier with a multitude of applications. All major banking institutions now have online banking or apps to make life easier on their customers. These apps have the ability to “control” what comes and goes out of your bank. Gone are the days of driving to the bank to make a deposit. You can now take a screenshot and deposit through mobile banking. The possibilities are endless! We’ve made a list of several other ways to get the most out of your banking apps, most of which are free! Here are a few other ways to use those apps:

Maintenance Notifications:

Statement Notification: Many times it feels like the month flies by and bills are  due once again. ‘Payment due’ is now one of the most used alerts on mobile apps. When the payment is due, an alert pops up, reminding you ahead of time when to make a payment and what the balance is. You can set it up to notify you as soon as you would like! While auto pay or auto draft is great, it is still important to double check that the payment was taken on time. For many families with many different bills due at a time, this is a great way to reduce the headache of having to remember one more thing on that laundry list of “to-do’s” for the week.

Payment Received: Having this notification can ensure that the payment successfully went through and will notify  you immediately on your mobile device.  One of the worst things that can happen is  falling late on a credit card or payment.  Many times if something happens with a card on file and the payment is not processed, consumers don’t catch it. This will ensure that you know those payments are made on time and for the correct amount. To set these up, you will want to download the credit card or bank app you use and turn the notifications on for all purchases and payments made.

Balance Notification: This is a great notification to have set up, as it is very important piece of the puzzle for your credit score. A great rule of thumb is to keep the balances below 30%. The best thing for your credit score is two revolving accounts and two installments in order to have a healthy credit profile. The lower the balance, the better the score is! So, if you’ve noticed your credit card keeps creeping out of your wallet, you can set up notifications at a certain balance so overspending is combated. It is almost like an accountability partner and is great if you find yourself overspending often!

 

credit apps

 

Preventative Notifications:

  1. Suspicious activity- Your bank or credit card company will now send a text message to you if you would like if  there is suspicious activity on the account. The message may sound similar to this: Please verify activity on ____ card ending in ___ at this Location. You can then confirm or deny this text.  If you reply deny, a text follows up with a message that you will receive a phone call in the morning to go over the details. Easy enough, right?
  2. Card not present-Purchases made online will notify you with an alert. Online shopping has seen a dramatic spike in identity theft. For this reason, a feature such as this is a great to keep in mind.
  3. Gas-Any purchase made at a convenient store or gas station will alert you, if you wish. Unfortunately not every station requires a pin to make purchases.
  4. International Purchases-This is not a new feature but is great to keep in mind. If you are traveling, always notify your institution of the activity. Some will automatically turn the card off on you in order to protect the cardholder.
  5. Over limit-This notification is set up by the cardholder and notifies them any time a purchase is made over a certain price.

For more information about your credit score, please give Credit Law Center a call at 1-800-994-3070.

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 Breana Washington

Financial Focus for 2021

How to Focus Financially in the New Year

By Jessica Larson, SolopreneurJournal.com

New year, clean slate. Well, maybe it doesn’t seem like it, with the pandemic still very much in play and lots of the same challenges hitching a ride with us into 2021. 

 

You may not be able to wipe away all your debt as you turn the page on your calendar, or step into a new job opportunity right away on January 1. But you can still clear your thoughts, refocus your goals, adopt a new attitude, and start fresh with new ideas to improve your financial situation as the new year gets underway. Here are some ideas on how to do that.

Determine what’s different

What changed in your situation during 2020, and have you adapted to meet those changes? Here are just some of the factors that affected most people during the year that’s just concluded:

  • Transitions from office work to remote work
  • Loss of income from rental properties, or eviction notices
  • Job losses in the service sector, such as restaurant and hospitality workers, retail associates, and travel industry staffers
  • Strains on hospital staff and other health-care workers
  • Fewer in-person entertainment options (movies, concerts, sporting events)
  • Depletion of savings accounts while trying to stay afloat in difficult circumstances.

Take an inventory of what you’ve gone through, how you’ve met the challenges, and how (with 2020 hindsight) you might change your approach in the coming year.

Review your credit report

The information on your credit report can make life harder or easier. A high score can unlock low interest rates on mortgages and credit cards, saving you lots of money. However unresolved debts, identity theft, or even errors can block you from renting an apartment, getting a mortgage, buying a car, landing a job, or getting a security clearance.

It’s normal for credit scores to go up and down as life circumstances change. Carrying higher balances on your credit cards, making a late payment, new “hard inquiries”… all of those things can lower your score temporarily. However, if you have a debt in collections or an error on your report, ignoring it will only make the problem worse. Start the new year by resolving to dispute it yourself or get professional help to fight back or negotiate a solution you can live with. 

Identify opportunities for growth

The economic climate in 2020 created many hardships, but it also brought new opportunities. Look into what those are and identify where you may be able to help fill a newly created niche.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, five of the 20 fastest growing industries in the next decade will be in health care and social assistance. The individual and family services sector leads the way, with a projected annual growth of 3.4%.

Other growth areas include:

  • Forestry (3.7%)
  • Support activities for mining (2.8%)
  • Home health services (2.6%)
  • Outpatient care (2.6%)
  • Computer systems design (2.3%)
  • Grantmaking (2.2%)
  • Software publishers (1.9%)
  • Independent authors, writers, and performers (1.9%)

Does your work fit into any of these categories, or can you expand your skill set to fill one of these needs? If you’re traditionally employed, ask your boss for training in a growth area. If you’re self-employed, a contractor, or between jobs, seek out extended education courses and online learning opportunities. Improve your networking and even consider finding a mentor.

Cover your blind side

Just because 2020 is moving (mercifully) into the rearview mirror, more challenges — and unexpected perils — still may lie ahead. You never know what’s around the next corner in life, and it pays to be prepared.

If you faced a loss of income or had to dig into your savings, you’ll have to be extra careful to guard against further financial hits in the year ahead. Make sure your home, auto, and health insurance are good to go. Revisit your policies to find out if you can save money by changing insurers, eliminating overlap, or bundling policies together. 

While you’re at it, protect what’s inside your home, too. If you’re renting, renters insurance can cover the theft of property from your unit, whether it’s a valuable heirloom or childhood comic book collection. If you own your home, consider a home warranty, which can cover the cost of repairs to major systems (HVAC, plumbing, etc.) and appliances like your dishwasher or fridge.

Plan for the future

People typically make new year’s resolutions to cover a single year, but any life changes you make now can last far longer, whether you’re quitting a bad habit or forming a good one.

One habit can involve how you use credit. How does your credit score look? Did you know you can request a free credit report once a year? Learn what’s in it, what it means, and how to improve it. Here are some basic methods:

  • Pay your bills on time.
  • Make utility and cellphone bill payments promptly.
  • Keep credit card balances low.
  • Don’t apply for too much credit.

Now’s also a great time to make sure you’re preparing for retirement with the proper savings options. If your employer offers a 401(k) with matching contributions, that’s worth exploring. You might want to consider IRAs, annuities, and other options, as well. What investments can you make to solidify your long-term financial stability?

Many of the plans you make involve paperwork, so do your research and consult a professional financial planner and/or lawyer. For your family’s sake, make sure your life insurance, health-care directives, will, and estate are in order, with documents signed and filed with the appropriate agencies. 

You may be bringing a good deal of 2020’s finances with you into 2021, but you’ll still be able to make a difference by exploring new approaches to fiscal health and planning ahead — for the year to come and for the longer term.

By assessing your position, looking for ways to improve it, and guarding yourself against future crises, you can make the year ahead (and the years after that) more fruitful and less stressful.