Tips for Securing Your Personal Information On and Offline

Safeguard Your Information Offline

Thieves only require minor details about your personal information to steal your identity. They don’t need your entire credit report or all the numbers on your bank account. These crafty individuals can access all they need with a simple receipt or basic information from your health insurance card. To avoid becoming a victim and to protect yourself from identity theft, follow these simple tips.

Lock it Up – Keep all of your personal information and paperwork securely locked and guarded. A safety deposit box or lock box are both great places to keep birth certificates, social security cards and passports. Marriage certificates, divorce papers and bankruptcy filings should also all be kept under lock and key.

Shred – Even receipts that have only a few digits from your credit card can give an identity thief enough information to damage your credit. Always shred all receipts, bills and any mail or correspondence that has your personal address, phone number or account information.  Also ask businesses what they do with your personal information to be sure that it is being disposed of in a proper manner.

Go Postal – Avoid using your mailbox for outgoing bills if you can. Try to send all of your mail directly through the post office. Likewise, if you have credit cards or checks coming to you, ask that they be held at the post office or open a post office box to avoid letting those items sit in your mailbox.

Be a Minimalist – Carry only what you need on your person. You wallet should only contain the bare essentials for identification purposes, like your driver’s license, you medical identification card and your credit or debit cards. All other items should be locked up at home or in a safety deposit box. Medicare cards and other items that may reveal your social security number should be marked up so that only the last few digits are visible. This will also help protect your identity from potential thieves.

Keeping Your Information Secure Online

There are several things you can do to protect your identity online. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you conduct business with companies over the internet.

Verify – Most companies allow for bill payments and purchases over the internet. This can be extremely convenient, but unless you are sure the company uses an encrypted website, do not assume your information will be secure. Encrypted websites will have the prefix “https” with the “s” representing a secure site.

Check Them Out - Unless you have done business with a company before and can verify that they are reputable and trustworthy, checking them out thoroughly is essential if you want to protect your identity. Look for verification certifications and search for complaints about those websites before you do business with them and send them any personal information.

Automate – Use an automated software program that will scan your system for security breaches, malware and spyware on a regular basis. These viruses can wreak havoc on your computer, but more importantly, can allow identity thieves to access your personal information.

Change Passwords – Try to change your passwords on a regular basis. Once a month is a good rule of thumb. Keep a list of all your passwords on a computer file that is located on a portable drive, never on your computer. When you choose a password, make sure it is random and does not contain numbers or names that are associated with you personally, like anniversary or birthdates.

Watch for Phishing – Identity thieves and scammers will often phish for your personal information by sending out fraudulent emails or pop-ups. These can be hard to spot because they look like legitimate offers or notices from companies you do business with already. Many of them will even appear urgent or claim that your account has been hacked. Never respond to unsolicited claims like these. Contact the company directly to see if they have sent you that notice. Most legitimate companies will never contact you directly and ask for your account number or personal information unless you have initiated the correspondence.

Identity Theft ProtectionTake these steps if you have become the victim of identity theft.

Even if you take every measure to protect your identity, there is still a chance that you could fall victim to one of these scammers. Follow these steps if you have become a victim of identity theft.

Set up a Fraud Alert – Contact every company that you do business with to notify them of the identity theft. Record the date and time of all phone calls, and who you spoke with. Follow up with letters sent to the companies by certified mail. An identity theft lawyer will be able to help you complete the necessary fraud alerts.

Freeze Accounts – put a freeze on all of your accounts to avoid future transactions. Be sure to keep a record of the date of the freeze so that you can limit your liability on the fraudulent charges. Contact an identity theft lawyer to help you navigate this process.

Send an Identity Theft Report – When you file an identity theft report with the companies you do business with, they will have 30 days to send you copies of your records. Have an experienced identity theft lawyer review these with you to determine which charges are fraudulent and how to address them.

Request Your Credit Reports – Immediately get copies of all your credit reports so that you can have an accurate picture of what your credit history is like before any further damage is done. This will be useful as you collaborate with an identity theft lawyer to recover from identity theft.

No one wants to fall prey to an identity thief. However, if you do, these simple steps can help you protect your identity and provide ways to ensure your personal information will be safeguarded in the future. 

Why Should You Avoid Payday Loans?

Payday loans are taking over the short-term lending scene. Advertisements for these cash advance loans are everywhere and promise immediate cash with virtually no effort on your part. But lenders rarely talk about payday loan laws. Read more to learn what they are and how they can apply to you.

The Downside of Payday Loans

If you find yourself in a financial bind and think that a quick cash advance against your paycheck is a great way to get over the hump, think again. Payday loans, which are usually short-term, high interest loans secured by your future paycheck, can get consumers in financial trouble. Most lenders will offer you a simple repayment schedule and only charge a minimal fee for the loan. However, the interest they levy can be as high as 2000% That is more than what you will receive in your next paycheck. This can make it difficult, if not nearly impossible to pay back the loan according to the lender’s terms.

When you default on a payday loan, the consequences can be steep. Lenders can put liens on your paycheck and even report to credit bureaus. Unless you know the payday loan laws, you can end up in worse financial shape then you were before you borrowed the money.  Negotiating settlements with payday loan lenders is difficult because most of them operate online and cannot be reached in person. This is when a debt settlement lawyer can help you resolve the situation. An attorney that is experienced in debt law will be able to research the regulations in your state and work on your behalf to get the situation taken care of.

What are the Payday Loan Laws in My State?

One of the biggest challenges for consumers is understanding what laws pertain to them. Because payday loan lenders are often located throughout the country, the laws relating to your loan are based on the state that you live in. If you need help figuring out how these laws affect you, contact an experienced debt settlement lawyer who can explain the payday loan laws to you in full detail.

Below are highlights of the payday loan laws for each state:

  •  Alabama - $500 maximum loan, 10-31 day repayment, average APR 456%
  •  Alaska - $500 maximum loan, 14 day minimum repayment, APR 520%
  • Arizona – Prohibits payday loans, 36% APR for small loans
  • Arkansas – Prohibits payday loans, 17% APR small loan charge
  • California - $300 maximum loan, 31 day repayment, APR 459%
  • Colorado - $500 maximum loan, 6 month minimum repayment, 20%
  • Connecticut – Prohibits payday loans, 30% APR small loan charge
  • Delaware - $500 maximum loan, 60 repayment, no limit on APR
  • Florida - $500 maximum loan, 7-31 day repayment, APR 419%
  • Georgia – Prohibits payday loans, $3000 minimum small loan with 16% APR
  • Hawaii - $600 maximum loan, 32 day repayment, APR 459%
  • Idaho - $1000 maximum loan, no set repayment and no limit on APR
  • Illinois - $1000 or 25% monthly income, 13-45 day repayment, APR 403%
  • Indiana - $500 or 20% of monthly income max, 14 day repayment, APR 390%
  • Iowa - $500 maximum loan, 31 day repayment, APR 433%
  • Kansas - $500 maximum loan, 7-30 day repayment, APR 390%
  • Kentucky - $500 maximum loan, 14-60 day repayment, APR 459%
  • Louisiana - $350 maximum loan, 60 day repayment, APR 780%
  • Maine – Prohibits payday loans, 30% APR on small loans
  • Maryland – Prohibits payday loans, 33% APR on small loans
  • Massachusetts – Prohibits payday loans, 23% APR on small loans
  • Michigan - $600 maximum loan, 31 day repayment, APR 390%
  • Minnesota - $350 maximum loan, 30 day repayment, APR 390%
  • Mississippi - $500 maximum loan, 30 day repayment, APR 520%
  • Missouri - $500 maximum loan, 14-31 repayment, APR 1950%
  • Montana - $300 maximum loan, 31 day repayment, APR 36%
  • Nebraska - $500 maximum loan, 34 day repayment, APR 459%
  • Nevada – 25% of monthly income maximum, 35 day repayment, no limit APR
  • New Hampshire - $500 maximum loan, 7-30 day repayment, APR 36%
  • New Jersey – Prohibits payday loans, 30% APR on small loans
  • New Mexico - $2500 maximum loan, 14-35 day repayment, APR 416%
  • New York – Prohibits payday loans, 25% APR on small loans
  • North Carolina – Prohibits payday loans, 36% APR on small loans
  • North Dakota - $500 maximum loan, 60 day repayment, APR 520%
  • Ohio - $500 maximum loan, 31 day repayment, APR 28%
  • Oklahoma - $500 maximum loan, 12-45 day repayment, APR 390%
  • Oregon – No maximum loan, 31-60 day repayment, APR 56%
  • Pennsylvania – Prohibits payday loans, small loan charges vary
  • Rhode Island - $500 maximum loan, 13 day repayment, APR 260%
  • South Carolina - $550 maximum loan, 31 day repayment, APR 390%
  • South Dakota - $500 maximum loan, no limit on repayment or APR
  • Tennessee - $425 maximum loan, 31 day repayment, APR 459%
  • Texas – No maximum loan, 7-31 day repayment, APR 309.47%
  • Utah – No limit on loan amount or APR, maximum repayment time 10 weeks
  • Vermont – Prohibits payday loans, 18% APR on small loans
  • Virginia - $500 maximum loan, 2 pay period repayment, APR 687.76%
  • Washington - $700 or 30% monthly income, 35 day repayment, APR 390%
  • West Virginia – Prohibits payday loans, 31% APR on small loans
  • Wisconsin - $1500 or 35% monthly income, 90 day repayment, no limit APR
  • Wyoming – no maximum loan, one month repayment, APR 780%

Struggling to Pay Back a Payday Loan?

As you can see, many states prohibit payday loans altogether. If your loan is in default, contact a debt settlement lawyer who knows the payday loan laws in your area. They will help you determine if the loan is legal and if you are responsible for paying it back. If so, a debt settlement lawyer can work with the lender to settle your debt. Learn how debt settlement works.

Colorado Debt Statutes of Limitations

Have you ever been delinquent on a debt? Has a creditor or collection agency ever contacted you about a debt that you thought you had paid off years earlier? If so, learn what the Colorado Debt Statutes of Limitations are and how they can protect you.

Each state has its own statute of limitations pertaining to debt. Colorado is no different. The limitations on debt affect collection actions and understanding how they pertain to your individual situation can help you put past debt behind you for good.

What are the Colorado Debt Statutes of Limitations?

The statutes of limitations spell out how long a creditor can try to collect on an old debt. For instance, if you had a credit card account and it became delinquent, as long as you had no further credit or payment activity on that account, the creditor would waive all rights to collect the debt after a period of time set out in the statutes. This does not mean that the creditor will not still attempt to collect the debt. However, if they do try to collect after the statute expires, you will be able to legally stop their collection efforts.

This same rule applies to collection agencies. In many cases, creditors will retain the debt for part of, or the entire time allotted by the statute of limitations. When that expires, they may sell the debt to a third party who will actively pursue you for repayment of the debt. In Colorado, you can legally stop this action as well, as long as the collection efforts are conducted after the time allowed in the Colorado Debt Statutes of Limitations. Here are the time periods for debt collection:

Colorado Debt Statutes of Limitations:

  1. Written Contracts for services or for goods – 3 years: creditors have 3 years from the date of the written contract to try to recoup the services or goods from you; and you have the same time limit to try to recoup defaulted contracts.
  2. Written Contracts for financial obligations – 6 years: these binding contracts must be collected upon within six years from the date of execution or as set out in the terms of the contract.
  3. Promissory Notes – 6 years: lenders, collection agencies and other creditors must collect their funds as spelled out within the terms of the promissory note within six years or forfeit their right to do so. Promissory notes are similar to written contracts for financial obligations as they usually represent promises to pay.
  4. Open Credit Card Accounts – 6 years: unsecured credit card debt ranks up there at the top of the list for outstanding and uncollected debt. Creditors and collection agencies will use every means available to try to recoup this debt, but according to the Colorado Debt Statutes of Limitations, they have no legal ground to do so after six years from the date of last activity or payment on the debt.
  5. Judgments / Domestic through District Court – 20 years: if a judgment has been made against you, the person placing the judgment can pursue your obligation to fulfill it for 20 years. This can also be renewed if the court approves.
  6. Judgments / Domestic through County Court – 6 years: a judgment that is filed in the county court system falls under the Colorado debt statute of limitations as 6 years, but is also renewable if approved by the court.

How do I stop collection activity after the Colorado Statutes of Limitations has expired?

If you are being pursued after the statute of limitations has expired on your debt, contact a debt attorney. In Colorado, there are hundreds of attorneys that specialize in helping you get out of debt. Even if the debt was legitimately yours and in default, debt lawyers know how to research the debt and verify whether it falls inside or outside the Colorado debt statutes of Limitations. They will then be able to assist you in having any collection action stopped.

It is very important to choose a debt attorney to represent you. They are experienced and knowledgeable about debt law and are able to protect your consumer rights under the Federal Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA). Colorado debt statutes of limitations are different than those in other states, and lawyers who practice in Colorado will be aware of all the current laws and consumer rights that can protect you from unlawful collection practices.

When you work with any of the skilled debt attorneys in Colorado, be sure to have your records in order. The more information you can provide, the less time and money you and your attorney will have to spend. Keep notes of phone calls, charges and loan information. If you are being contacted by any creditors or collection agencies, do not admit to owning the debt and do not make payment arrangements. Just log the date and time of the call and bring all of that information to your attorney. They will verify your debt details against the Colorado debt statutes of limitations and explain to you what the best course of action is based on your situation. They will draft letters for validation of debt, will discover if your consumer rights are being violated, and will even pursue legal action against any creditors or collection agencies on your behalf.

Understanding every minor detail of the Colorado debt statutes of limitations can be overwhelming for most consumers. Working with one of any quality debt attorneys in Colorado will help you address your debt concerns, reduce collection harassment, and allow you to safeguard your credit in the future.

Learn about California Debt Statutes of Limitations

How to Negotiate a Debt Collection Settlement

If you have mounting debt threatening your financial ruin then you may have considered doing a debt collection settlement. There are a few things you should consider when it comes to negotiating a debt settlement.  You will need to come up with a realistic budget of what you can afford to pay, and figure out if you can pay the amount in a single lump sum, or if you will need to schedule installment payments. You will need to contact your debt collectors, and will have to explain your condition to each party.

People have negotiated their debt collection settlements on their own with success. You can do it, but it will take a lot more time than just making phone calls. It is important to understand what debt collection laws protect you, and how you can use them to support your case.

Another thing to consider is the emotional and mental anguish that’s involved in negotiating on your own. Some debt collectors are savvy at their trade and don’t necessarily have the compassionate ear. You may not be able to reach the debt collector, or they are not willing to communicate with you. Then you must attempt to reach the original creditor and try to negotiate with them directly. The process can be lengthy and frustrating.  

Reaching and negotiating with creditors and debt collectors can be a difficult assignment. Firstly, creditors understand the laws and their rights to the last detail, and they are accustomed and trained on how to deal with consumers. Debt collectors are not motivated to reach settlements, and are motivated to retain the fullest debt amounts. 

There are a number of ways a debt lawyer can assist you with your debt collection settlement. Obviously, a debt attorney can negotiate on your behalf, but they can also help guide you through each step of the process. An experienced debt lawyer can advise you on the related state and federal laws that protect consumers in debt collection cases. And a debt lawyer can draft, edit, and review the debt settlement documents and agreements; along with filing any necessary paperwork or court documentation. A good debt lawyer can also help you create a budget, and establish a debt relief roadmap to help you reach your financial goals.

Regardless if you negotiate a debt collection settlement yourself, or if you hire a debt lawyer, you will need to prepare the same. There are five steps you can take on your own to prepare you for the debt collection settlement process. Without addressing each point properly, a debt collection settlement is much more difficult.

  • Establish a budget to determine your monthly income and monthly expenses to see what you can afford
  • Create a monthly budget plan, and a long term plan so your debt settlement consultations can help you reach your goal
  • Contact your creditors and debt collectors and communicate your plan to open negotiations; communicate to them your circumstances
  • Negotiate with each creditor and debt collector; they will resist to start with, but persistence will usually find reasonable reductions to your overall debt amount. Creditors are interested in remuneration rather than writing off the account total.
  • Get your negotiated agreement and terms in detailed writing. Verbal agreements are not valid.

Establishing a budget is fundamental. A crucial component in deciding if a debt settlement is the best option for you is to crunch the numbers and see what the end sum is for each option. A successful negotiation can reduce the total amount of your debt by 20% or more, thus saving you a lot of money if your debt amount is substantial.  However, you will need to figure out if you can afford a single lump-sum payment on that reduced figure, or if you can only afford make monthly payments on the negotiated amount.  Then you need to negotiate a term in which the reduced debt is to be paid off.  Also, you will more than likely be taxed on the difference between your actual debt amount and the reduced figure.

There are clear advantages in retaining the services of a seasoned debt lawyer. A debt lawyer is skilled in negotiating with creditors and debt collectors. Debt lawyers have a firm understanding of the restrictions put in place by consumer and debt collection laws that prevent creditors and debt collectors from manipulating the debt amounts, and using intimidation and threats.  Debt lawyers conduct negotiations with your interests and consumer rights in mind. 

If the amount of your debt is substantial, then a debt lawyer can also leverage your position by suggesting to the debt collector or creditor, filing for bankruptcy. The debt collector will not want to lose the opportunity to recuperate a percentage of the debt, and may be more flexible in the negotiations. 

If the debt collector is intimidating and threatening you, a debt lawyer can identify if the debt collector has made any violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) or other federal and state laws.  If any actions did violate the law, then a debt lawyer may be able to file law suits against the violating party. A debt lawyer can also help eliminate the persistent or harassing phone calls, and intervene as the mediator in your case. You will have an experienced and seasoned negotiator with an understanding of the law on your side.

A debt collection settlement has a negative impact on your credit report, however. It will be important to check if the debt collector has updated your credit report once you’ve paid the negotiated debt amount in full. You will also need to make sure that every provision in the negotiation is written in the agreement, and that everything is in order before you sign the agreement. But once the debt settlement amount is paid in full, you will be on your way to recovery, and your credit rating will begin to improve. 

Negotiating a successful debt collection settlement can be difficult. There are restrictions on what creditors and debt collectors can do. Remember, if you do receive a phone call from a collection agent, you are entitled by the law to request a written notice, and a detailed invoice clearly stating what the amounts you owe are, and what they are exactly for.  Debt collectors are not allowed to threaten you with repossession or garnishment of wages. And they are not allowed to contact you at all hours of the night, either. If you think a debt collection settlement is the best option for your debt issues, then start with creating a rough budget, try to call your creditors or debt collectors to open a dialog, and if you don’t feel qualified or prepared to do so, then having an experienced debt lawyer negotiate for you will help you find the debt relief you’re looking for.

What to Do if your Consumer Rights are Violated

In the modern consumer society there is no element with greater importance than a consumer himself or herself. In order to make sure your consumer rights are not violated, you first have to be aware of what those consumer rights are.

Almost every single moment you hear or read about certain rights related issue. The field of consumer rights is not an exception in that sense. Nevertheless, it is entirely up to you to make sure that the violations of your rights as a consumer do not go unnoticed and without a proper reaction. People are often unsure of what to do when their rights have been violated. The first step is to identify the violation, then contact a consumer law attorney. A consumer law attorney will be able to tell you if in fact your consumer rights were violated and what to do about it.

Here are some of the most common consumer laws where consumer rights are violated:

FDCPA (The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act) – The economic crisis brought us the debt trouble. We cannot negate the right of the debt collectors to do their job. On the other side, they should be pretty much aware of our rights while exercising theirs. The FDCPA is to ensure that they do not harass you during the debt collection process.

FCRA (The Fair Credit Reporting Act) – The next place the crisis can hit you hard is your credit report. Did you know that you have a right to request a report about your credit report? If certain decisions are being made according to the findings of a particular credit report, you have every right to know what is the content of such a report. This is one of the most important rights the FCRA provides, but definitely not the only one.

TCPA (The Telephone Consumer Protection Act) – Is your phone ringing? Well, it better be with a good and justified reason. The cases regulated by the TCPA include besides unwanted calls, the automatized or recorded voice or text messages, and junk faxes. If someone is taking away your time by using your phone number without an authorization, do not forget that you are fully entitled to request a financial compensation for it.

EFTA (The Electronic Fund Transfer Act) – With so many transfers on the way it is easy to lose count or to become completely disoriented. The EFTA’s purpose is to ensure that the small fees you are paying do not include big troubles for you. In addition, according to your consumer rights you are entitled to a proper proceeding, if the money from your account is taken without your previous consent.

Know your Rights, Fight your Fights.

It may come as a relief knowing that there are so many legal acts with a sole purpose of protecting your consumer rights. On the other side, this can also be pretty much confusing for a customer who is not used to fight legal battles. If you are not sure whether or not the rights you have as a customer are actually being violated, you can get additional information from the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) section for consumers. The next thing you can do is to hire an attorney. Nevertheless, it would be wiser to consider the services provided by the professional consumer law lawyers. The importance of your decision is directly influencing your chances of obtaining the appropriate compensation for your troubles.

Stop Autodialers and Telemarketing Calls from Invading Your Privacy

It seems there are a lot of autodialed telemarketing calls intruding in our lives, and if you’re being pestered with numerous, interruptive and unsolicited calls then here are some suggestions on how to effectively stop autodialers.

Telemarketing companies and collection agencies use the autodialer tool to streamline their cold-call process. They don’t want to waste their customer service representative’s time by dialing hundreds of numbers without ever communicating to an actual person. Instead, computer software dials your phone, waits for your live response, and then connects you with the customer representative. Meanwhile you may receive dozens of autodialed phone calls per day, picking up the phone only to hear a pre-recorded message asking you to hold. We are all familiar with the annoyance.

There are legal preventative measures you can take to stop autodialers from invading your privacy. The first step you should take to stop autodialers is to register your phone number with the Do Not Call Registry. Once your number is on this national registry, telemarketers are required to recognize that it is on the list, and then remove it from their internal autodialer lists within 30 days of the discovery. They are allowed one “mistake” call per year after identifying your number on the list, and if they persist in calling after the 30-day period, they may be subject to federal penalties and fines.

There are also hardware solutions to stop autodialers. You can install a call-blocking device to your phone. This device recognizes autodialed calls and answers the call with a digital tone signifying the line is disconnected. This signal usually triggers the autodialer system to remove your number from that specific call list.

If the previous suggestions fail, then you can answer the phone and personally request that the agent remove your number from their list. If this does not work and you continue to be harassed by the same telemarketer, then you can request the company information, and report their abuses to the FTC. In this case it is advisable to keep a record of all the phone calls, voicemails, and attempts made by the offender to call you.

There are federal laws, like the Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991 (TCPA) that protect your consumer rights. The TCPA restricts telemarketers from making unsolicited autodialed calls if your number is on the Do Not Call Registry, or if you have formally requested that your number is removed from their list, either verbally on the phone, or through a written letter sent via certified mail to the telemarketer. They must observe the removal request.

The TCPA does restrict all telemarketing calls from autodialing your cell phone number, unless you give consent for them to do so. Telemarketers are also restricted to make their autodialed calls between 8 A.M. and 9 P.M. They are legally obligated to give you their company information, and to indefinitely remove your number from their lists if you request it.

The TCPA does not provide the same restrictions on autodialed calls from tax-exempt non-profit organizations. Telemarketers who are making sales calls solicited by you, or if you have a working relationship with them are not restricted by the TCPA from making autodialed calls.

If the telemarketer does violate the Do Not Call list, or ignores your request to remove your number from their lists, they are subject to federal penalties and fines. If you have grounds to file a complaint with the FTC, then consulting with a consumer law attorney can be beneficial. The TCPA establishes clear fines that come with violating the federal law.

If you continue to receive autodialed calls from a telemarketer after you have requested your number is removed, or registered with the Do Not Call list, then you may be able to sue the offending party up to $500 per autodialed call after your request was made. The TCPA grants the consumer the right to take legal action in a local court. In some cases the courts can levy triple the amount in damages, if the offender is egregious in their violation of the federal laws. There are also circumstances in which suits may be filed for the violation of other provisions in the TCPA, such as; abuses with faxes, prerecorded and artificial messages, calling multiple lines at an office or business, and calling cell phone numbers.

Everyone is affected by autodialed telemarketing calls. They are annoying, invasive, and in some cases, illegal. You can stop autodialers by registering your landline phone number with the Do Not Call Registry, and you can also directly request the telemarketer to remove your number from their list.

Remember, that the telemarketer must remove your number from their list indefinitely if you make the request. If they persist in calling you after 30 days of your number registry and request to remove your number, then you are entitled to take legal action. You may be able to get compensated for your troubles. If all other preventative methods have failed; then consulting with a consumer law attorney may help you find the relief you need to finally stop autodialers from harassing you.

How Credit Score Affect Auto Insurance Rates

Credit Score Affects Insurance RatesIf you are experiencing increases in auto insurance premiums, or have difficulty finding good auto insurance rates, your credit score may be a reason why.

If you have had, or currently have bad credit, or have been involved in credit disputes you may experience unusually high insurance rates, or may have a hard time finding a good insurance provider. Insurance companies investigate your credit history in order to help assess their risk in taking you on as a client.

Studies have shown that those with poor credit histories are more likely to file more claims with their insurance company. A bad credit scores indicates a low quality customer, who will be more of a liability to the insurance company than they would like – according to how the insurance companies tend to evaluate potential customers.

There are measures you can take in order to lower your insurance rates, and to raise your credit insurance rating so that your record reflects your level of responsibility. It’s a good idea to pay your bills on time, and if you cannot, then attempt to make arrangements and a payment schedule with the company your bills are with. It is good to outline a strict budget if you are having difficulty managing your monthly bills. A budget will give you a clear idea of what you can and cannot spend. You can request a free copy of your credit report to review. If you find erroneous information on your credit report, you can consult with a credit lawyer if you want to dispute any of the errors you find. A credit lawyer can help with the process of helping remove any wrong transactions appearing on your credit report and help you develop a plan to improve your credit score. These are tips to help get in order your credit history.

In addition, you need to have a clear driving record. The more traffic tickets, parking tickets, accident reports, and insurance claims you have on your record, the more of a risk you become. It is important to understand that driving is a privilege, and one that should be taken seriously. Drive carefully, know and respect the speed limits, and abide by all the traffic laws. Pay attention to the road and to the task of driving; put down the phone, the music player, and the lunch on the go. Being a safe driver will not only protect your life, but will help in keeping your driving record clear of accidents, claims, tickets, and will ultimately help you qualify for better auto insurance rates.

You can also find different types of insurance coverage if you are on a budget. There are insurance accounts that are pay-as-you-go programs. These programs evaluate your driving data to help find a plan you can afford. If you have no accidents on your record, the rates are lower. If you drive only a limited number of miles, or only drive a select few days a week, then the rates could be lowered, according to your habits. The variances in which you can customize your auto insurance coverage and rates, according to a pay-as-you-go model, differ from state to state. Among the various types of auto coverage that you will consider are: liability, personal injury protection, collision, uninsured motorist insurance, and comprehensive coverage.

States also have different requirements to the types of auto insurance you must have. It is a good idea to visit your state’s DMV website to see what the required bare minimum auto insurance coverage is. Usually the bare minimum coverage type is liability, but liability insurance breaks down into two types: bodily injury liability and property damage liability.

It’s good to look into what cars are more expensive to find insurance for, and what models are more economical in their insurance rates. If you’re driving a BMW in the middle of a city, the rates will be much higher than if you are driving a Toyota Prius in a rural town, for example. The insurance company evaluates how much of a risk you will be as their customer. If your credit score is low, if you drive in a higher-risk region, or drive an expensive vehicle, then your rates are going to be higher. There are things within your control, like; responsibly handling your finances, and driving carefully, paying attention to the road. Those two examples go a long way in helping you maintain a good record in order to keep your insurance rates low.

There are other ways in which you can save on auto insurance rates that goes beyond maintaining a good credit rating and beyond safe driving habits. You can also bundle your insurance for your home, renters, or life-insurance coverage together. It is advised to take advantage of bundling coverage under a single carrier to enjoy a discounted rate.

Remember to manage your expenses and pay bills consistently on time. It is good to investigate auto insurance coverage packages and options, to tailor the right coverage around your driving habits. If you do have a bad credit history, it is good to clear your record in order to have better insurance rates and coverage.

Debt Collection in the State of California Has Statutes to Protect

imageCalifornia Debt Statute of Limitations

The debt collection process can be stressful and confusing. Credit debt has reached a staggering $95 billion annually in the United States.

The American Consumer is lured and aggressively solicited to consume and purchase on credit; and Americans spend and spend. To make matters worse, financial hardship and job layoffs force individuals to pay bills and purchase groceries with credit cards, throwing them deeper into debt while income is lost.

It is not uncommon to get into credit and debt trouble, falling behind in payments, or not making them at all. If you find yourself pursued aggressively by credit and debt collectors, or find yourself a victim of debt collector harassment, you should look into your rights. In this space we will examine major points for the rights of consumers in the state of California.

The California Debt Statute of Limitations provides consumer protection for those who have a breach of contract. This includes cardholders who have not paid off their debt. Some who have been sent to collection and are being pursued by collectors may find some help with their respective state’s debt statute of limitations. What these state’s laws do not do, however, is; establish how long a debt appears on an individual’s credit report, and it does not prohibit collection agencies from making effort to collect the debt.

A main provision spelled out in California law requires that creditors have to file lawsuit within specified time limitations issued by the State of California. The time on limitations on filing the lawsuit depends upon the category of the suit being filed.

In California, the statute of limitations on collection actions is set forth in The California Rules of Civil Procedure spells out the statute of limitations in which a suit can be filed. Because time erodes witnesses’ memories, and records are lost, there is a certain period of time in which the courts will recognize the validity of the case. Depending on the nature of the case the California Statute is four years for a written contract and two years for an oral agreement. The statute begins the date the breach of contract happens. If your payment is due on July 1, and no payment is received, then the statute window begins July 1. There is a four-year statute period when it comes to debt collection regarding rent. The same statute term exists for lawsuits related to credit cards and stated open accounts.

There are a number of ways that the statute period for collection can be brought to an end in California. If the debtor is absent from the state then the clock proverbially stops. If the debtor is mentally disabled, in prison, or a minor then there is a stop to the statue period. Also, if the debtors decease or War prevents access to the courts then the period of the statute for collection comes to an end. More conventional methods end the statute, too, like; bankruptcy, voluntary mutual agreements, and military service.

If a suit is filed and the court places a judgment, then that judgment has a shelf life of ten years in the State of California. In other states it can be a period of seven years.

There are limitations to how aggressively and the tone in which creditors pursue their targets. California laws limit the way creditors communicate and contact their clients. They cannot use obscene, profane, or inflammatory language. They may not threaten to take further action that is not legal. They are only allowed to make phone calls between 8am and 9pm.

The collection agent is permitted to make phone calls to contact the client they are investigating. If the collector reaches the debtor on the phone, the debtor has the right to demand a full invoice and written notification of the collection process, and the exact amounts, broken down, that are owed by the debtor.

A creditor is permitted to contact the debtor at work, unless it is clearly expressed that the creditor is not permitted to contact the debtor at work. And a collector may not disclose any private information to another party about the details of the case, amount of the debt or otherwise.

It is advisable to consult with debt lawyers who specialize in credit and debt law. Though the debtor has consumer rights and there are restrictions that creditors must comply to; a clear breach of contract has occurred in which the debtor is liable for. In state law the creditor is legally entitled to have the debt or credit balance paid in full in a designated term. The debtor is legally obligated to pay back the balance if they are contractually obligated. But there are methods that collectors must use to handle the case, and the client is entitled to file a credit dispute if erroneous information is submitted.

California State law is Byzantine, and complex. Creditors and collectors use aggressive tactics, at times, and take advantage of the fact that most consumers are not aware and informed of their consumer rights. It is not a sound technique to simply ignore calls and notices. The best thing to do is to get help from a debt lawyer who understands the credit debt laws, face the looming debt head on, and take the necessary steps to stop debt collector harassment. Over time and with the help and advice from debt lawyers, the struggle can be overcome.

California Debt Statute of Limitations

California Debt Statute of Limitations

Consumer Laws that Protect your Rights

consumer laws that protect your rightsMany of us in the U.S. don’t realize how lucky we are when it comes to consumer protection laws. Many countries have no such laws to protect their citizens from the fraudulent or unreasonable behavior of others, or the consumer law lawyers to help to take cases to justice.

Know Your Consumer Rights

There are consumer protection laws for just about everything, ranging from debt collection harassment, inaccurate reporting of credit and debt, banking, protection from fraudulent car dealers selling defective autos, invasion of privacy and harassment from telemarketers.

All these consumer protection laws are taken for granted but do you truly know your rights in all these crucial areas that affect your daily life? If you are not sure of your rights, then you should contact a consumer law lawyer to discuss your treatment in the area that is of concern to you. All consumer law lawyers are thoroughly familiar with all our consumer protection laws.

Incurring a debt is often not the person’s choice but a situation may occur when experiencing a shortfall in cash. Fortunately

The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) disallows a debt collector from harassing you by distorting your credit standing, contacting their attorney, repossessing property belonging to you, and threatening you or phoning you at an unreasonable hour. If a debt collector infringes the FDCPA standards, you have the legal right to sue that person in a state or federal court within 1 year of the incident. If successful you may be entitled to USD$1,000.00 and court costs and lawyer fees. If you are in this situation, a consumer law lawyer is available to help you through this difficult time.

The Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA) is a consumer protection law which protects individuals from the incorrect billing on a credit card transaction. Identity theft is surprisingly common and when thieves make payments using someone’s credit card through stealing it or obtaining the card’s number, the FCBA protects you and consumer law lawyers are available to uphold these rights.

Robo dialing is undesirable but there are consumer protection laws for these intrusions through the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA). These laws cover disturbances due to unauthorized texting as well and, in both cases, a complainant may be entitled to a $500 damages claim through the help of a consumer law lawyer.

When a new car is purchased, years of use are expected by the owner but the installing of defective parts often results in an auto failing. If you have had a problem with a recently purchased vehicle, you are covered by the Lemon Law, which ensures buyers are protected from negligent manufacturing errors. Consumer law lawyers can help you interpret this law.

Most income earners are reliant on electronic means for banking transactions but the 1979 Electronic Fund Transfer Act (EFTA) is a consumer protection law, which protects users from the unlawful use of their cards and PIN numbers. It covers automatic teller machines (ATMs), telephone banking, depositing of money and preauthorized automatic payment made to another party. Anyone who has fallen victim to misuse of his or her card in a banking transaction can be compensated for any unauthorized transactions. However, the victim has to notify the financial institution within two days of discovering the episode.

If you have been sold a defective product, been overcharged or deception has been used to sell you a product, consumer protection laws ensure that buyers are not defrauded and consumer law lawyers help victims to exercise their rights.

In 1974, as part of consumer protection rights, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act ensured that student privacy is important. The statute states that institutions must permit student access to any official records that relate to them. The student must give written consent if the records are to be released to anyone else. If you think your privacy has been violated then you should contact a consumer law lawyer.

Getting Help from Consumer Law Lawyers

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the watchdog and government agency that ensures that consumer protection laws are upheld. However, despite the laws that cover your rights they sometimes appear overwhelming and difficult to understand. This doesn’t mean that you should ignore your situation and hope that, somehow, things will sooner or later resolve themselves. You should use the laws for what they are designed for and that is to benefit you. There are consumer law lawyers at hand to help you compile your case and ensure that you receive justice that is your legal entitlement.