Truth in Lending Act

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The Truth in Lending Act (TILA) protects you from inaccurate and unfair credit card and other lending practices. Under TILA, you have a 3 day right of rescission, so you can back out of your agreement within 3 days. The TILA also has rules related to mortgages and student loans.


Credit Score

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What is a credit score? A credit score is a number that will predict your payment behavior when you use credit. Banks, car loan companies, mortgage companies and other lenders use this number when they decide if they will give you a loan. There is no one method of coming up with your credit score. Different companies use different methods.


Debts Being Sold Online

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Debts are being sold online through small internet marketplaces, sometimes through social media. These debt portfolios are selling debts for pennies on the dollar, and some for even one-tenth of a penny per dollar. Sometimes they have unencrypted personal information, including names, social security numbers, account numbers and dates of birth. Some of these debts are being sold for as little as $1 to $2. Most of this debt is at least 5 years old. The majority of the debts being sold online are payday loans and credit card debts.


Paying Down Your Debts – Two Methods

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There are two methods of paying down your debt – debt avalanche and debt snowball. With debt avalanche, you pay off the debts with the higher interest rates. You pay off your debt faster and pay less interest to banks and lenders. With the debt snowball method, you don’t look at the interest rates. You pay the smaller debts first and then move on to the bigger debts. The debt snowball method uses behavior modification so that you get used to paying down your debts and can eventually pay down all of your debts.


How Long Old Debt Can Stay on Your Credit Report

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Under the Fair Credit Reporting Act, negative items have to be taken off of your credit report seven (7) years from the date you were first delinquent, such as when you first got behind. The exceptions are: Chapter 7 bankruptcy filings, which can stay for 10 years; Judgments; Money owed to the government, which can be indefinite. Just because you pay the debt or settle it, it does not mean it will be removed from your credit report.


There’s An App For That, But is it Fake?

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The Federal Trade Commission warned of fake apps that look like well-known brands. These fraudulent apps can take your bank or credit card information and can also install malware on your phone. See if there are reviews for the app before you download it. The big retailers will usually have thousands of reviews for their app.


Don’t Pay for a Car with Amazon Gift Cards

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In January of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission warned people about scammers who are getting people to pay for big ticket items like cars, motorcycles and boats with Amazon gift cards. The scammer will tell you that they need to sell the car fast because they are in the military or about to deploy. Scammers will also try to get you to pay using the following methods, which you should not do: iTunes gift cards, PayPal, reloadable cards, Western Union, and MoneyGram.


Credit Cards Can Help

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Some people are afraid of getting credit cards, thinking they will get into heavy debt. But you can use your credit cards wisely and they can help you. Your payment history makes up 35% of your credit score (more than one third of your credit score). If you charge some expenses on your credit card and then pay them off in full, this will increase your credit score. Try to keep a low credit utilization, which is the amount you owe as a percentage of your available credit.


Can You Hear Me?

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Beware of receiving phone calls where the other person says “Can you hear me?” Scammers can record you when you say “Yes.” Then the scammers will use the recorded Yes to put through charges on credit cards or do bank account withdrawals. You may even see a local area code, which makes you want to answer the call.


Illegal Robocalls

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In January of 2017, the Federal Trade Commission cracked down on two massive robocall operations. How does the law apply to robocalls? If the telemarketer does not have a consumer’s written permission, it is illegal to make those calls. One robocall operation was trying to sell home security systems. In the other robocall operation, they were selling car warranties and SEO services.


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