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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Known as IDR’s, Income Driven Repayment plans are available for federal student loans. Payments on the student loans are based on income and family size, and are not based on the amount of the loan. If you are unemployed or have low wages, your payments could be as low as zero dollars per month. Some borrowers can also get interest subsidies and eventual loan forgiveness.
Your credit report will have your information listed in the following way:
1) Identifying information about you – name, social security number, previous addresses
2) Trade lines – mortgages, credit cards, car payments
3) Credit inquiries
4) Court information (bankruptcy, foreclosure, judgments) and collections accounts
5) Closed accounts, paid accounts and negative accounts