Debt Collection Scams: What You Need To Know

Coping with debt collectors is difficult… dealing with fake debt collectors is even worse and all too common.

 

While businesses often do hire third-party debt collectors to pursue past due accounts, there are scammers who pose as collection agents to trick you into paying money for debts that have been paid or canceled or that don’t even exist.

 

Here are some clues to recognize a debt collection scam:

 

  • The collection isn’t on your credit report 
  • The debt collector asks you to pay via wire transfer or another untraceable method
  • You don’t recognize the creditor or the account 
  • You can’t find anything on the internet when you search by their phone number 
  • They threaten you with jail time or pose as a government official
  • They won’t give you their company’s contact information

 

To help you separate the scammers from legitimate collectors, always start with these questions:

 

What is the name and address of the debtor you’re trying to reach? If you are provided the wrong information or incomplete information, do not correct them. Instead, tell them to send you the validation notice (a letter that is required to be sent within 5 days of first contacting you) to the address they have on file, explaining that you will respond accordingly once the letter is received. Then hang up.

What is the name, address, and phone number of the company you’re calling from? Even if a caller gives you an answer, never discuss debts over the phone. Ask them to send you the validation notice and again, let them know you will respond once the letter is received.

What are the last four digits of the debtor’s Social Security number? This is somewhat of a trick question, as a legitimate debt collector will never answer this question. If they do, they are violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA. Even if they have your SSN, never confirm or deny the information.

 

Remember, don’t be intimidated even if collectors attempt to scare you into paying, threaten to have you arrested, or pose as a government official. These are all violations of the FDCPA and a clear indication the collector is not legitimate.

If you believe a fake collector is calling, hang up. You don’t need to speak with them regardless of what they say or how often they call. If the debt is legitimate, it does not mean the person calling is entitled to collect the debt. Again, wait for the letter.

 

If you have questions, need help with debt settlement and want to stop the harassing phone calls, give THD Credit Consulting a call today.

 

-Erik

Protect Your Child with a Credit Freeze

With unblemished credit, our kids are easy targets for identity thieves. According to a 2018 study by Javelin Strategy and Research, over 1 million children were victims of identity fraud last year. 

Not only can identify fraud affect your child’s credit, often times the crimes often go unnoticed for years. In many cases the fraud isn’t realized until the victims apply for their first credit card, apartment or job and get rejected. Then, they can face huge battles to clear their names.

When a security freeze is in place, someone who applies to get credit using your child’s name and Social Security number will be rejected. Access to your child’s credit records will stay “frozen” until you say so, or until your child removes the freeze after reaching the age of 16.

Here’s what you can do:

Call all 3 credit bureaus and check if your children have credit files.

You should not find a credit file for your child because minors cannot enter into contracts. The only time you’re going to find a credit file is because it’s fraud or you have intentionally asked for a duplicate card for your child.

If you find there are no issues and there isn’t a file, then tell the credit bureaus that you want a file created for your child and you want to freeze it.

This is one of the best proactive things you can do for your child’s financial future. The law requires credit bureaus to create and freeze files for children under 16 at their parents’ request. Sixteen- and 17-year-olds can request a freeze themselves, and files must be created if none exists.

Request a credit freeze not a credit lock.

Credit bureaus will typically recommend a tool called a credit lock. It is a financial service product for sale and it does not come with the same protections as the federal law that was implemented in September of this year. A freeze is more work for the credit bureau, it puts them on far more liability, but doesn’t take any more effort for you. 

If you have any questions or would like to schedule a free consultation, click here or email us at asktheexpert@thdcreditconsulting.com.

-Erik Kaplan

How to Repair Your Business Credit with THD Credit Consulting

As a business owner I am sure you’re aware of how important it can be to have a good business credit score. In the same manner that your personal scores serve as financial ratings for you as an individual, your business credit scores rank how credit worthy your business is.

A business credit score tells lenders how likely you are to repay them in a timely fashion.  Therefore, having a low business credit score will impact whether lenders or creditors will work with you and can determine whether vendors, suppliers or trade partners will do business with you.

If you have a business credit card for your company, you probably do have a business credit score too. As a business owner, having a good business credit score is crucial to helping you get financing to help with working capital requirements or to fund your business’s ongoing growth.

If you’re a business owner struggling with bad credit and need assistance repairing your business credit… 

Here is what you need to do:

  1. Click here to get your Business Credit Scores.
  2. Request a Free Consultation and to Discuss Fees by calling us at 1-800-822-7120. 

Taking care of your business credit profile is one of the most important things you can do as a small business owner.  It opens up financing opportunities and the business relationships that can help you run and grow your business.

-Erik Kaplan

Credit Consolidation vs. Debt Settlement: What is the best option for you?

Finding the right debt relief option can be tricky. Given that using the wrong debt solution can lead to even greater financial distress, it’s important to familiarize with these concepts so you can make an informed decision.

What is Debt Consolidation?

This financial process rolls multiple debts into a single, consolidated monthly payment.  The goal being to reduce the interest rate, which allows you to get out of debt faster, even though you pay less each month.

However, debt consolidation is not a one-stop fix for all of your financial worries.  

When is it NOT A Good Option?

  • If you have bad money habits or issues maintaining a healthy budget, debt consolidation will only delay your financial problems.
  • If you have out-of-control credit card bills, it may be appealing to roll those debts into your mortgage and deal with that new fixed payment every month. Just remember – if you fail to pay your credit cards it could go to collections or you could be sued. If you default on your new combined mortgage payment then you could lose your house.
  • When you consolidate your debts, old accounts are closed and replaced by one new account. If you are concerned about your credit score then this might not be in your best interest.  

What is Debt Settlement?

Is a process where you pay back a portion of what you owe in exchange for a full discharge of the remaining balance. Simply put, you settle your debt for a percentage of what you owe. The settlement is usually made in a single lump-sum payment.

What are the Advantages of Debt Settlement

  • Settling your loans can mean paying a lower overall interest rate on your debt which will save you money.
  • Unlike a debt consolidation or credit counseling plan, debt settlement can help you pay a much lower amount than what you originally owed. 
  • Debt Settlement allows you to pay off what you can without having to destroy your credit like a bankruptcy can. 
  • Debt Settlement also offers a greater level of privacy, putting you the consumer more in control of the process and a lower overall cost than other debt relief options.

If Debt Settlement is the best option for you, contact 

THD Credit Consulting.

We help settle credit card debt, home equity lines of credit, collection accounts and charged off accounts. In most cases we can save you up to 75-80% on the amount that was owed and stop all the harassing phone calls.  

Give us a call (800) 822-7120 or email us today at asktheexpert@thdcreditconsulting.com.

Why are your FICO® Scores different for the 3 credit bureaus?

In simple terms, A FICO score is a three-digit number that lenders and credit card issuers use to predict how likely you are to repay them if they grant you credit. The company uses a proprietary formula and has various scoring models.

Because the data that goes into the model could come from three different national credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) it creates the likely possibility of having three different scores.

Here are some points to consider when comparing scores across bureaus:

  • Not all credit scores are “FICO” scores. So, make sure the credit scores you are comparing are actual FICO Scores.
  • Access all 3 FICO scores at the same time. A differentiation in time could result in score differences due to time based components in the scoring model.
  • Not all information is supplied to all three credit bureaus. It’s up to lenders to decide which information they report to the major credit agencies – and which agencies they report to in the first place.
  • There is a possibility that you have credit under different names which may cause incomplete files at the credit reporting agencies. Typically, the credit bureaus combine all files accurately under the same person, however there are many instances where incomplete files or inaccurate data (social security numbers, addresses, etc.) cause one person’s credit information to appear on someone else’s credit report.
  • Lenders report credit information to the credit bureaus at different times, resulting in one agency having more accurate information than another.
  • The credit bureaus may record, display or store the same information in different ways.

If you want to track your score over time, you’ll want to use the same brand of score and the same version of it as well. That controls for differences due to which bureau’s credit report is used and which formula interpreted it.

If you have questions about your credit score, reply to this email or give me a call at (800) 822-7120.

-Erik Kaplan