10 Credit Mistakes Everyone Makes

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This is a guest article from CreditZeal.com 

There is no doubt that debt makes everyone nervous when they think about it. If you’re one of those people, the truth is, there is absolutely no need to be worried. It’s very important to realize that when you have a situation like that, it’s going to be something that takes a while to be resolved. Because of that, you’re going to have to understand that time will be needed for everything to work properly, so rather than sitting on the side and waiting for something to happen, you can definitely try and make something happen in a rapid fashion.

This is essential when looking at other people that are having credit problems, but without a doubt, there are a lot of mistakes that some people make. Rather than being one of those individuals that is constantly having credit issues, you can actually attain freedom, but in order to do so, it requires understanding a few simple concepts and ideas. Now understand, everyone’s credit situation is different, so if you’re unable to figure out a precise solution to your problem, you’ll have to keep these in mind so you can finally escape your credit issues once and for all.

  1. Start Small

When it comes to credit limits, you always want to start with a lower limit first. This is primarily for the fact that when you have fewer lines of credit, it’s harder to rack up debt. But obviously, people will want bigger lines of credit as time goes on. This is a great solution because it forces you to learn discipline from the beginning, and if times goes on, you’ll be able to do a lot more in terms of work and accomplishments credit-wise.

  1. Borrower from Reputable Lenders

When you do decide to utilize credit, it’s important to understand that not all creditors are created equal. There are going to be some that are a lot more reliable than others, and if you’re still sceptical about that sort of things, you’ll only need to contact the right people in charge. In other words, this means that if you’re sceptical about finding the right solution, you’ll have to go to people that really understand how things work. Most credit agencies can handle this for you, but in order to make sure you pass all of those situations, you’ll have to communicate with them first before anything else gets out of hand.

  1. Only Paying the Minimum

Remember, credit doesn’t just go away magically when you pay the mandatory minimum payment. The minimum payment is exactly that, the minimum. You can easily pay a lot more if you want to, but some people are neglectful and simply don’t take the time to pay what they should. Rather than being one of those individuals, you can easily reach out and make progress with the right person should they decide to come up and actually do something positive to help you, but remember, keep that in mind for the long term.

  1. Only Having One Card

In order to get a better credit limit, you’ll actually want to have multiple credit cards. It can seem counter-intuitive, but in reality, you’ll want that extra card in order to make a positive difference going forward. This is why it’s so essential to go directly to the right kinds of people if you’re looking to make a permanent improvement on what’s happening with your card. The more credit lines you have, the more credit you’ll be able to develop, showing other creditors you’re reliable.

  1. Ignoring Your Credit Accounts

Looking at your accounts can sometimes be a dreadful feeling. And yes, it can sometimes feel a lot better to just not have to look at your accounts and actually confront your credit problem. While this can be an issue for some people, it shouldn’t be something that you worry about for the long term. Instead, be confident with the fact that if you take out credit that you owe, you’ll simply have to pay those individuals directly, and if you continue to do it for a long time, you’ll be able to stay on top of credit accounts rather than having bigger issues.

  1. Not Paying On Time

This is the biggest mistake people tend to make, but it can be avoided quite easily. Only charge what you can afford to pay back, and of course, make sure you’re paying before the deadlines close. This will just make things a lot easier.

  1. Overspending

This is yet another issue people have because when they overspend, they obviously owe a lot in terms of credit. If you’re an individual that overspends, you’ll really need to get that under control, because if you don’t, you’re going to realize rather quickly that it might destroy your credit history permanently.

  1. Not Tracking Your Credit Report

While tracking your individual payment accounts is good of course, it’s important to see how your credit score is doing overall. This will let you know what you can fix and improve upon and hopefully, how far you’d be from getting financial success and freedom. If you credit score does need work you can always turn to the trusted services of CreditRepair.com who are the experts in credit repair.

  1. Failing to Be Consistent

It’s important that when you make payments towards credit, you’ll want to ensure that you are consistent in terms of what information you provide and report. This ensures that a lender can give you the best loan or credit line possible, and in the long term, you’ll be sure that you won’t be making any catastrophic mistakes.

  1. Taking a Loan for Someone Else

One of the biggest mistakes that people make that can truly destroy their credit history permanently is taking out a loan in someone else’s name. This is a huge issue because for a lot of people, they think they can just do this and nothing is going to happen. In the long term what eventually happens is that those individuals face tremendous hardship because they were trying to help someone else, so rather than worrying about, it’s better to simply ignore it for the long term.

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Disputing a charge on your credit card

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Every once in a while, you might see something on your credit card statement that you don’t recognize. While it’s alarming and possibly leaves you feeling a little violated, there are steps you can take to remove it from your account. First, you’ll want to call your credit card company to let them know your card has been compromised. You can call the merchant to inform them that someone has used your card fraudulently. If they are unresponsive or unhelpful, the credit card company will likely help you remove the charges from your balance. Most credit card companies are very understanding when this happens.

For those who are actively working towards credit repair, it can be especially stressful to have this happen. There are three reasons you can legally dispute a charge on your credit card so you are not ultimately responsible for it:

Someone used your card without your permission.

As outlined in the scenario above, this may leave you feeling the more vulnerable, but there is hope. You can work with the credit card company to resolve this issue. Many credit card companies have policies on fraudulent purchases that work in the consumer’s favor.

You were billed by the company in error.

Say your cable company has charged you twice on accident. After speaking with your credit card company, you should also speak with the merchant to resolve this issue, and there may be an apology credit in your future.

The merchant won’t help you resolve an issue with what you have purchased.

Imagine you purchased something, only to take it out of the box and realize it was damaged in some way and therefore didn’t work. If the merchant refuses to exchange or refund your purchase, it’s possible to get a chargeback on your card.

Here are some things to watch out for that can affect your credit in these types of situations:

After you’ve resolved the dispute, you may want to find out if there are other accounts in your credit profile that have been compromised. As you may already know, running a hard credit inquiry may ding your credit score by a few points. That’s a far better alternative than finding out you have a fraudulent account in your name when you’re about to make a large purchase.

If you are unable to dispute the charge successfully, you may have to pay it, though it’s unlikely it will get to that point. Nonpayment would, of course, impact your credit negatively. The long-term effects of this will likely be far more costly than paying a charge you shouldn’t have to. When it comes to credit, sometimes it’s more important to think big picture. You can also consider initiating a credit report dispute.

Ultimately, if you do have to dispute a charge, make sure it’s for a good reason and in good faith. Credit card companies notice patterns of abusing the system, and it doesn’t end well for those who do.

For more information about credit repair and winning credit card disputes, contact www.lexingtonlaw.com.

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How China’s New Social Credit Score Compares to Credit in the U.S.

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Nearly one-third of the population in the U.S. has a credit score below 600, and many of those people are working on credit repair. Credit scores in the U.S. are based solely on a person’s ability to pay their debts, how much debt they carry, and how timely those debts are repaid. But imagine a world in which you’re judged not only by those standards, but based on your spending habits, level of education, and even the credit scores of your friends and family.

That’s what it’s like to try to cultivate a good credit score in China. The controversial new system, called the social credit score (SCS), was introduced by the Chinese government in 2014 with a goal of full implementation by 2020. While the goal of the scoring system seems to be similar to that of the American scoring system, there are many, many differences, and some of them are downright chilling.

History

We previously noted the difference between trying to apply for credit in the U.S. fifty years ago as opposed to today. In the 1950s, the idea of a “credit score” began to take flight. The founders of Fair, Isaac and Co. (FICO) recognized a need for a more data-based rating system to determine the trustworthiness of a credit applicant. Prior to this, you could have been turned down for a loan based on your race, mannerisms, or even lack of cleanliness. Once the system was implemented, however, more people found it possible to gain access to credit, and it has constantly evolved to become what it is today.

In contrast, China has only recently begun the process of implementing a credit rating system. Brought about by necessity and fueled by smartphone usage, the Social Credit Score has been a subject of world-wide discussion due to its perceived unfairness. Not only does the SCS judge a person based on their financial decisions and standing, but on things that suggest they’re being rated on their value as a person.

While this system does seem unfair and is being watched by multiple human’s rights groups, it’s indicative of the differences between an individualistic society — in which it’s socially acceptable for the needs of an individual to take precedence (such as the U.S.) — and a collectivist society. Like many other Asian nations, Chinese culture dictates that the greater good is more important than the needs of an individual.

Credit bureaus

We’re familiar in the U.S. with the major credit bureaus: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. They collect data reported to them by lenders, banks, and sometimes doctors or hospitals. This information tells them about your ability or inability to repay a debt. After seven years, most negative credit items will “fall off” your credit report.

Credit reporting is much more arbitrary and varied in China. To begin with, there are multiple credit reporting agencies in China with more popping up every day. Imagine if there were 20 different FICO scores to keep track of. Their ranges all vary, and they all judge a person’s creditworthiness based on different things. Some of them take into account your education and give higher scores to those who hold more advanced degrees. Some of them utilize your spending habits and even the credit scores or spending habits of your friends. Ultimately, this system will place a high priority (whether intentional or not) on punishing those who do not add monetary value to society.

Advantages

Before our official credit rating system came into effect in the U.S., it was more difficult to prove that one was capable of handling a loan. (Not to mention that loans weren’t as necessary as they are today.) If you applied for a loan in the 50s, you’d likely be vetted through a series of phone calls placed to water and power providers, friends and family, and others who could vouch for your level of responsibility.

While this system does seem a bit more friendly and centered on relationships, it wasn’t a beneficial system for those who had poor reputations in small towns, minorities, and women, just to name a few. Today, our system focuses much more on factual data, which tends to put more Americans on an even playing field, though it can still be difficult for those who reside in very poor areas of the country who suffer from something known as “credit invisibility,” in which a person remains in a perpetual “catch-22”, unable to get credit because they lack credit.

In China, the goal of the new SCS is to encourage everyone to be the best citizen they can be by working hard to improve not only their credit, but their social standing as well.

Disadvantages

Even though the SCS encourages people to improve their credit through spending habits and sometimes even cleanliness, it sometimes unfairly punishes those who are innocent. From our perspective, there are many things about the SCS that seem wildly unfair. For example, on some credit rating scales in China, parents with low scores may have a difficult time enrolling their children in school. Or, in the case of one Chinese man, some may be unable to purchase a plane ticket if they happen to default on payment. If someone is listed by the government as “untrustworthy,” they may find it difficult to go about their day-to-day life. They’d also end up paying more than those with high credit scores.

From a distance, it will be interesting to watch how the new SCS in China plays out as time goes on. It’s easy to speculate how it could be incredibly detrimental to many Chinese citizens as their income disparity continues to become more pronounced. Luckily, for those in the U.S. with poor credit who are in need of credit repair services, there is a path to financial success. For more information, please visit www.creditrepair.com.

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5 Credit Card Perks You May Not Know You Have

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We all see commercials for the various perks and rewards offered by various credit cards. Credit card companies offer these rewards to entice consumers to sign up. Rewards range from free trips and discounts on purchases to cash back. While it’s true that credit card companies are in the business of making money, if you use them correctly, some of these perks could put some money back in your pocket.

If you decide to get a rewards-based credit card, it’s important to understand how it works. First of all, you need to decide if the potential benefits offset any annual fee associated with the card. Next, you must make sure that you properly manage the monthly payments on the account each month in order to reap the most benefit from your rewards. For example, it’s always a good idea to pay as much of your total balance off each month as you can. Not only will this typically increase your rewards eligibility, it will also give your credit score a boost. Credit utilization accounts for 30 percent of your overall score, so keeping balances low is key to maintaining a high credit score. Ideally, you always want to keep your utilization rate under 30 percent of your total available credit.

So long as you manage your credit card accounts responsibly, there are many benefits to taking advantage of rewards. Let’s take a look at 5 lesser-known credit card perks you may not realize you’re eligible for:

  1. Admission discounts

    Different credit card companies have relationships and agreements with different businesses. This can work to your advantage if there are rewards or discounts for things like restaurants, movies, or museums. For example, in January, Bank of America announced that it was offering free admission to 200 museums across the country this year. The deal grants free entry to participating museums on the first weekend of the month for cardholders.

  2. Product protection

    Many cards offer additional protection on purchases made with their card. One of the more popular perks credit cards are offering these days is cell phone protection coverage. Chase and Wells Fargo each offer up to $600 in damage coverage if customers use one of their cards to pay their cellular bill each month. Considering that cell phones are one of our most costly investments — a new iPhone X averages $1,000 — this is an attractive perk for many.

  3. Reimbursements on price differences

    Discover, Capital One, Citi, and Chase each offer different types of “price protection.” This is a perk that reimburses cardholders when price differences occur within a certain amount of time on a product they’ve purchased with the card. The timeframes range from 30 to 60 days and these cards will issue the difference in price to the cardholder.

  4. Presales and special access to events

    American Express is perhaps the most prominent card offering this perk. Cardholders are eligible for presales on all types of events, including concerts, live shows, and sporting events. They’re also eligible for VIP experiences and other perks at significantly discounted rates.

  5. Cashback matches

    Discover is currently offering a cashback match on everything cardholders get at the end of their first year. While this is an extremely attractive perk, be sure to consider whether or not the benefits of opening a new card outweigh the impact of adding a new credit account to your name.

If you want to learn more about your existing credit card perks, or if you’re considering getting a new rewards-based card, it’s always best to inquire with the company. Most credit card companies list out their rewards and stipulations on their website. You can also call and talk to someone that can walk you through some of the benefits.

If you’d like to learn more about how to manage your existing credit card debt in order to improve your credit score or to become eligible some of these perks, Lexington Law can help. Call us today at 1-800-608-8004 for a free credit report review.

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Credit Score Myths Debunked |

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Credit Score Myths Debunked

Posted by Erica Steeves on February 20, 2018


As a consumer, you should already know that a good credit score is a key cog to your financial future. But credit scores and credit reports can be complicated topics – and as is the case with most complicated subjects, misinformation is likely to spread. In this post, we’ve taken the liberty of debunking some of the most common credit score myths that we hear today. Have a look:

 

 

 

  • Myth 1: Making on-time bill payments is one way to help improve a credit score.
  • It’s important to make on-time bill payments, as it accounts for 35 percent – the single largest category – of the FICO score model. However, on-time payments won’t really help your score. Conversely, if you miss a payment, it can significantly hurt your score.
  • Myth 2: Closing unused credit cards will help improve a credit score.
  • This isn’t necessarily true – and for two reasons. First of all, credit history plays into your credit score, so closing an account may affect that. Secondly, closing an account can also affect your credit utilization ratio, or your debt-to-credit ratio. Generally, you want this to be 30 percent or less for the best possible score.
  • Myth 3: Checking your credit report will dock your score.
  • This is true, but only if it is a “hard pull.” Hard pulls are often performed by lenders during loan approval processes, and they may reduce your score by 10 points or so in the short term. Soft pulls don’t affect your credit score at all.
  • Myth 4: The more income you earn, the better credit score you’ll have.
  • That’s not true, as your credit score has no correlation to your earnings.
  • Myth 5: I only have one credit score.
  • That’s false. Though the FICO score is the most popular one, there are lots of different scoring models that lenders use.
  • Myth 6: Checking your credit report costs money.
  • While this can be true, it doesn’t have to be true. That’s because by law, every American is entitled to one free credit report per year from the three major credit reporting bureaus (TransUnion, Equifax, Experian).
  • Myth 7: Credit reports offer fully accurate histories of consumer financial behavior.
  • Ideally, this is an accurate statement. However, it’s estimated that up to 20 percent of all Americans have some sort of error on their credit reports.
  • Myth 8: If there’s an error on my credit report, there’s nothing I can do about it.
  • The potential of an error on your credit report is part of why you should be checking it at least once a year. If you find one, you should immediately dispute it. Contact the credit bureau that issued the report to dispute the inaccuracy. It will be investigated and resolved within 45 days.
  • Myth 9: A large credit card balance won’t impact my credit score as long as I make the minimum payments.
  • That’s not true due to the credit utilization ratio that is taken into consideration. Generally, if this ratio is at or less than 30 percent, you’ll have a higher score than if it’s greater than 30 percent.
  • Myth 9: There’s no fast way to repair a credit score.
  • This may be true depending on the various factors that have led to a low score (i.e., bankruptcy, foreclosure, etc.), however, it’s important to keep in mind that credit scoring is fluid. Just paying down credit card balances to get within the 30 percent utilization ratio can yield a significant and speedy score increase in some cases.
  • Myth 10: If I have bad credit, it will be hard to get a loan.
  • There are opportunities to get loans no matter what your credit score is. However, being considered an at-risk consumer will unquestionably result in higher interest rates than if you had good or excellent credit.





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How a Credit Card Convenience Check Could Affect Your Credit

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When you open a credit card, you will likely receive several blank checks attached to your account. It may be tempting to use these or view them as “free money,” but caution will serve you well, especially during credit repair.

Convenience checks (not to be confused with a cashier’s check, which you have to have actual cash in the amount of the check to obtain) are a holdover from the days before credit cards were accepted everywhere, including a vending machine. The conveniences of modern life allow us to move our money more freely. We can now pay bills online, use our phones to pay our friends back for brunch while the bill itself is still being processed, and even use our debits card to get a car wash. Some of these conveniences were not available to us as recently as five years ago.

A convenience check (sometimes called a credit card check) can be useful in emergency situations. For example, if your car breaks down, and you take it to a small auto repair shop that doesn’t accept credit cards (a rarity, but still possible), and you don’t have the money to pay your repair bill with cash, a credit card check would allow you to pay for your repairs. You’d be able to write the check to yourself in the amount you need, or write it directly to your mechanic.

However, these checks should only be used in cases of absolute emergency. Treat them as you would any credit card purchase and spend with caution. If you’re someone who can and will pay off your credit card balance every month, then you may not have an issue. But if you’re the type of person to be a little more cavalier about your credit card balance (as many people are), then you may want to avoid using these checks altogether and store them in a safe place for a rainy day.

Not paying off the balance on these checks could result in credit issues for you. Ultimately, it will all come down to what’s stated in your credit card agreement. Here are a few things to consider before using one:

  • Qualification for credit card rewards.

    If you chose this credit card specifically for the rewards it offers, you should check to make sure cash advances are included in the rewards. If the amount you spend doesn’t apply towards rewards, you may want to choose one that does, or find a way to avoid using them.

  • Different interest rates and fees attached.

    The money spent using a credit card check may not have the same interest rate as regular credit card purchases. Check your credit card agreement to be sure.

  • Credit limit

    Don’t forget to include the check amount when you consider your credit limit. Going over the limit could be detrimental to your credit score and lead to needing to fix your credit, and these things are reported regularly.

  • Grace period

    Some credit cards offer balance transfers for zero percent interest for a certain amount of time. These grace periods are helpful if you are working on paying down debt and want a break from paying interest, but they do end, so make sure you can pay it off within the allotted time–or risk paying back the full amount of interest from your transfer.

Before diving into any financial decision, make sure to do your research and find out how it could affect you down the road. For more information on credit card convenience checks, or how to repair your credit after using one, visit www.creditrepair.com.

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How Disputing Information on Your Credit Report Affects Your Credit

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Every once in a while you might see something on your credit report that you don’t recognize. For those who are actively working towards credit repair, it can be especially stressful to have this happen. While it’s alarming and possibly leaves you feeling a little violated, there are steps you can take to dispute it.

Then, of course, you may also want to dispute information on your credit report that is just plain erroneous or incorrect. Here are some examples of things you can dispute on your credit report:

  • Incorrect personal information: names, addresses, dates, and more can be reported incorrectly to credit bureaus. Wrong spellings of names should also be corrected.
  • Unfamiliar accounts: bank accounts, credit cards, loans, and others may also be incorrectly reported and may show up on your credit report. When this happens, you should take immediate action.
  • Incorrectly reported accounts. Sometimes things can be reported as open when they have been closed, or vice versa. These types of mistakes can be disputed.

How to dispute incorrect credit items

This will depend mostly on the credit bureau, of which there are three major ones: Experian, Equifax, and Transunion. They usually share information, so if you dispute with one bureau you may see changes to your report from another. You should work directly with each one if you see something on your credit report that isn’t accurate. You can also learn more about the disputing process on their individual websites.

The cost of disputing items

Filing a dispute will not change your credit score. The results of a dispute, however, can change your credit report, depending on the nature of the dispute. If you report incorrect spellings of names or addresses, this usually has no impact on your credit.

If you dispute something that changes for the better, it may stay on your credit report indefinitely. If you dispute something and it changes to a negative item, it could stay on your credit report for up to seven years. After that period of time, however, it should fall off of your report. For the most part, people tend to only report things that impact their credit negatively, so there’s a good chance that you may experience a slight increase in your credit score following a successful dispute.

If you disagree with the outcome of your dispute, you can take further action:

  1. Find out who reported the information and contact them. You may still be able to change the outcome.
  2. Add a statement of dispute. While this will not change the outcome of your original dispute, it can help you down the road when potential lenders or creditors review your credit history.
  3. Dispute again with relevant information. If you discover new information related to the disputed item, you have the option to dispute again with more supporting documentation.

If you need more assistance with your credit repair or credit dispute, contact Lexington Law at www.lexingtonlaw.com.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.





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Will Refinancing my Car Affect my Credit?

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Perhaps you had a lower credit rating when you first bought your car two years ago. Perhaps interest rates were quite high then, and they’re much lower now. Whatever the reason, while it’s not quite as common as refinancing your mortgage, it’s not unusual for people to refinance the loans on their vehicles.

For those participating in the process of credit repair, or those who are happy with their credit score, it may be wise to ask what sort of affect refinancing will have on your credit. In reality, all you are doing is closing an old loan and opening a new one. These two things tend to cancel one another out, which is why refinancing alone won’t affect your credit much.

What will affect your credit, however, is a hard credit inquiry. Whether you go with your old lender or a new one for your new car loan, the potential lender will still need to run a credit check on you, which will lower your score a few points for a short period of time.

Since there are many processing costs associated with opening a new loan (and sometimes with closing an old one, as some lenders charge a fee for “early payoff”), it may not be worth your time to refinance. You should only do this if you expect refinancing to lower your monthly payment a substantial amount or the overall interest paid will be much lower than your current loan.

If you’re just looking to free up some cash monthly, here are a few other things you can do that may be more worth your time than refinancing your vehicle loan:

  • Refinance your mortgage.

    If you closed on your home before the historically low interest rates of the last couple of years, you could be missing out on some savings. While you’ll have to pay new closing costs, they could end up being worth it if your mortgage payment is lowered by several hundred dollars every month.

  • Consolidate your credit debt.

    There are many ways to consolidate your credit debt if it’s spread out among several cards. You can take out a loan with a lower interest rate than your combined credit cards. This can be helpful because your monthly payment amount is preset, so you’ll always know how much to set aside for debt payment. It could also end up saving you a large amount of money in the long run.

  • Transfer a balance.

    If you’re carrying a significant balance on one high-interest credit card, consider opening a different card and transferring your balance to it. Many credit cards offer balance transfers with low or no interest rates for the first 12 to 18 months. This means that if you’re able to pay off the balance in that time period, you’ll pay little-to-no interest, saving yourself potentially thousands of dollars, depending on your balance.

So while it may save you some money to refinance, depending on your circumstances, it may be more worth your while to focus on other types of debt consolidation. For more information on credit repair, visit www.creditrepair.com.

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3 Surprising Ways People Set Themselves up for Identity Theft

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Every year, millions of Americans fall victim to some form of identity theft, an increasingly pervasive problem. As more people shop online, hackers get more sophisticated in their methods, and people become more careless with their private information.

In 2014, the Department of Justice estimated that 17.6 million people over the age of 16 were identity theft victims. We continue hearing new stories of major security breaches: large chains such as Target and Walmart, and even a data breach by one of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax. You may already know some ways to protect yourself from identity theft, but you may inadvertently be setting yourself up to become a victim. Here are three ways you may be making yourself vulnerable to identity theft.

Boarding Passes

No matter how excited you are for your once-in-a-lifetime beach vacation to Tahiti, do not post a photo of your boarding pass on social media. Since most boarding passes contain a barcode with your sensitive information embedded in it, digital thieves can access that information and use it to their advantage.

If you’re the type of person who likes to collect boarding passes, make sure to keep them in a very safe spot in your home or in a journal, and never leave one lying around at the airport or discard it in an airport trash can. The best thing to do with a used boarding pass is to tear it up in a manner that ensures the barcode has been destroyed.

Medical Records

Believe it or not, there’s a market for your medical records, and that includes your medical history. On the dark Web (the “black market” of the digital world), people are waiting to buy your medical information in order to commit different kinds of fraud, including false insurance claims and medication fraud.

While many medical records breaches have been no fault of the patients themselves, it’s possible to protect yourself from this type of theft. Make sure your providers have a security system for record storage, and don’t post any medical information online. Additionally, make sure you keep a close eye on all of your medical bills and payment methods on file. If you see charges for medical services you didn’t receive, call your provider immediately.

Social Media

Have you ever seen someone in your social circle post very private or sensitive information on Facebook, such as a picture of a new credit card with all the numbers visible? A new driver’s license or passport photo? Believe it or not, these things happen. And even if you think you know all of your friends, it’s still better to err on the side of caution and avoid posting information that can compromise your identity.

It’s also important to make sure your social profiles are secured with strong passwords. Make them as limited to public view as possible. This includes not allowing users you aren’t friends with to view your photos, as these can be easy theft targets for identity thieves.

People steal photos from valid users, then use them to create fake profiles on various social media sites. Vet your online social profiles carefully and only accept friend or follow requests from people you know in real life. If you choose to befriend strangers on the Internet for business networking, seriously limit the amount of private information you post.

If you’ve been a victim of identity theft and want to learn more about how to initiate a credit dispute or credit repair, contact Lexington Law today at 1-800-608-8004 for a free consultation.

You can also carry on the conversation on our social media platforms. Like and follow us on Facebook and leave us a tweet on Twitter.





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How the New Tax Plan Could Affect Your Credit

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The new tax reform was passed and signed into law on December 22, 2017, and changes have already begun taking shape. Although the new tax bill will have no impact on the income taxes Americans file this April, many may begin to see a difference in their paychecks as soon as February.

For many, this will be a positive change, as the tax brackets impacting many Americans have been lowered. For example, single taxpayers who are earning between $38,701 and $82,500 will reduce their tax liability from 25 percent to 22 percent. Meantime, those joint filers earning between $165,001 and $233,350 will see their tax liability go from 28 percent down to 24 percent.

These changes will yield significantly lower tax liabilities for those in the examples above, and for five additional tax brackets, where there will be reductions of 3 percent or more. In the example of the family earning $233,350 the changes would result in a tax liability that is more than $9,000 lower than in previous years.

For many single filers and families, this means freeing up money that can be put towards other things. For example, those funds could be allocated to making larger principal payments on credit liabilities such as mortgages, auto loans, or high-interest credit cards. Paying down debts or expediting the payoff of larger loans can yield big savings on loan interest. Allocating tax savings to these kinds of liabilities can also provide many Americans with a much-needed credit score boost.

The impact of reform on student loan debt

There are also slight changes to tax exclusions for employee-sponsored tuition and tuition waivers in the new tax bill. An earlier version of the tax bill had called for imposing tax on student loan money as income, however, that did not become part of the final legislation that passed at the end of the year.

Under the final tax bill, student loan recipients can deduct up to $2,500 of the interest they paid on their student loans directly from their taxable income. That leaves more money in the pockets of current and former students with loan liabilities, which could potentially be put back towards the principal of those loans to pay them off faster.

Paying off student loans can offer a big boost to credit scores considering that many graduates are saddled with student loan debt that negatively impacts their debt-to-income ratio for a decade or more after they’ve completed school.

Allocating the money that is freed up from the tax savings that the majority of Americans will see as a result of this new legislation is a great way to pay off debt, bring delinquent accounts current, and improve credit scores overall. If your credit score isn’t where you want it to be, or you are in need of credit repair assistance, we can help.

CreditRepair.com offers a free personalized credit consultation and credit report summary, a credit score evaluation, and recommended solutions for those with poor credit. Contact us today and talk with a professional about using your forthcoming tax savings to boost your credit score.

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