Victim Of Identity Theft-The Good News And The Bad News

Thursday, December 27th, 2012

Victim Of Identity Theft-The Good News And The Bad News

If you ever find yourself the victim of identity theft I have good news and bad news. The good news is that since this type of fraud is happening more and more often, the process of putting things back together has improved a little.

Can you imagine what it was like to prove someone had stolen your identity and try to clear your name back when it was still relatively unheard of?

The bad news is that even though it may be a little easier today to reestablish your good financial name, it can still be a huge hassle. In this article I will give you some tips of the steps you need to take to get your records and credit cleared up.

One of the best things you can do to get things cleared up as soon as possible is to act quickly. The second most important thing is to keep careful records.

Document everything: everyone you speak to about this issue as well as dates and times of the conversations, keep copies of any letters you send or receive during this “clean up” process.

Other than those tips, here are the specific things you should do:

1. No matter what has alerted you to a problem, as soon as you see something is wrong immediately contact all three credit bureaus: Trans Union, Experian and Equifax.

Make sure they understand that your information has been compromised, explain in detail what has happened and request a fraud alert is placed on your reports.

This fraud alert should make it impossible for anyone to open up a line of credit using your information. Ask how long this fraud alert will stay in effect. It may only be for a few months but you may be able to have the time frame extended beyond that point.

2. If any of your existing credit cards are lost you should also contact all your credit card companies and let them know what has happened. They will probably cancel all your cards and reissue new ones to you.

3. Contact your bank to see what, if any, steps they think you should take. Opening a bank account in your name or even having someone add themselves to your account and then cleaning you out are very real scenarios.

Your bank should be able to tell you what you, or they, can do and what safeguards can be put in place to protect your existing accounts.

4. And last, but definitely not least, contact your local police department and file a report. This can help out later when you are trying to put things back together again. It may also be important if the thief is ever caught.

The bottom line is this: do everything you can do to prevent yourself from becoming a victim in the first place. And if you ever find that despite your best efforts someone has succeeded in stealing your identity be willing to take the time to get it sorted out.

Never be afraid to ask questions, get the names and titles of the people you are dealing with and make a timeline. Keep all records and stay calm. This too shall pass. These tips can make it easier to get everything back to normal if you ever become the victim of identity theft.

Cashless Society-Never See One Red Cent

Sunday, December 16th, 2012

There are probably plenty of people today that think the moves that are being made to a cashless society are good ones. They get their paycheck directly deposited into their bank account and then use their debit card to make purchases.

If they have truly set up their own little cashless society they probably pay their bills online as well. They never see one red cent, they never hold a dollar bill in their hands anymore and they do not even have a checkbook either.

Everything they do and buy is with that little plastic card they get from the bank.

I for one still like the idea of having some bills and coins in my pocket, it makes me feel more secure. That may sound silly but I work hard for my money and like to see some of it on occasion.

There is even a more advanced form of being able to make purchases on the rise today as well. Cell phones.

You have most likely seen the commercial of the guy sitting in his chair, then realizing he has to go to the bank he gets up and gets into his hat and coat only to realize once more that all he has to do is take a photo of both sides of his check and send the photo to the bank to make his deposit. Then he removes his hat and coat and sits back down.

I agree that this sounds like a neat idea but then I think, why has he not just set up direct deposit with the company he works for? Maybe this works for third party checks as well but they make the commercial seem like it is his weekly paycheck.

I guess that in this ever growing, ever changing digital world this is called progress.

Then there are all of those restaurant and retail store gift cards and reloadable cash cards, too. Some of the cash cards are not reloadable but the idea is still there. You can usually purchase one of these cards for one of three set denominations from $25 to $100.

They are put out by the two major credit card companies Visa and Mastercard and can be used just about anywhere and for anything. All that is required of the user is to register the card online or by phone to activate it. Much like activating a credit card.

If everyone has the ability to pay for things they want electronically, almost no one would need a credit card. Buying small things on credit could possibly become a thing of the past.

Major purchases like buying a house or a car would still require a person to have a good credit rating but maybe consumers would stop getting themselves in way over their heads if they found it easier to live within their means.

Having instant access to their bank balances and the ability to pay using their cell phone could make the idea of a cashless society a reality sooner than anyone thinks.

Getting Out Of Credit Card Debt

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

If you’re working at getting out of credit card debt, it can feel like you’re putting in a lot of effort but not getting anywhere. However, every effort you make counts, and every dollar you put toward your debt is a small step in the right direction.

There are also some things you can do to make the process of getting out of credit card debt go faster. If you’re in over your head and your best efforts don’t seem to be enough, try one of the strategies below to make your debt load a little lighter.

Debt Settlement

One way to reduce your credit card debt quickly is to negotiate a debt settlement. Debt settlements are generally reserved for people who cannot make their monthly payments and don’t have assets to draw from. It’s a drastic measure, but one that is sometimes necessary for getting out of credit card debt quickly.

Negotiating a debt settlement can mean that you approach your credit card company, explain your situation and ask them if they’re willing to work out a plan with reduced repayments or even a reduced balance for you. Sometimes, it’s as easy as that. You ask for a settlement and they lower the amount you owe them. Other times, they will refuse your request.

If you’re working toward getting out of debt and your credit card company refuses your initial request for debt settlement, a non-profit debt counseling service may be able to help. Because they are non-profit, they won’t exploit your situation, and they have experience working with difficult credit card companies.

Note that there are downsides to a debt settlement. For one thing, any amount of money that the credit card company takes off your bill will be credited to you as income for the year. This means that you will owe taxes on that amount. While this can still be better than the debt you faced before, make sure that debt settlement is right for you before you pursue it.

Debt Consolidation

Debt consolidation is another option for making the process of getting out of credit card debt go faster. It is a good choice for people who can make their minimum monthly payments but aren’t making much headway towards paying off their debt or who would benefit a lot from having a lower interest rate or a lower monthly payment on what they owe.

While debt consolidation doesn’t wipe out debt, it does cover all of your debt with one loan, which you then pay off at a lower interest rate and, therefore, a lower monthly payment than if you pay off each account individually. Thus, it makes getting out of credit card debt go faster, because you can put any extra money toward the balance of your debt and not toward monthly payments that you can barely make.

Whether you choose debt settlement, debt consolidation, or another path all together, remember that getting out of credit card debt is possible and that there are ways to make it go faster than you might expect. Your dedication to lowering your debt will eventually pay off and you will be able to live debt free.