Category Archives: Consumer Protection

If an NJ business or large corporation has taken advantage of you as a consumer, you should contact a qualified consumer protection attorney to help you make the business pay for its actions.

What If I Cannot Make My Student Loan Payments?

Student loans are one of the most widely held types of debt in the US. An estimated 44 million Americans owe more than $1.4 trillion in higher education debt. For some people with student loans, payments are problematic. The Brookings Institute estimates that 40 percent of student loan debtors will default by 2024. If you are experiencing difficulty paying back your student loans, there may be measures you can take to avoid default. However, your options will vary depending on whether you have private or federal loans. Federal loans. You may be able to lower your payments on federal student loans by enrolling in an income-driven repayment program. These programs limit monthly payments to a percentage of your income. Income-driven programs include the Income-Based Repayment (IBR), Pay As Your Earn (PAYE), Revised Pay As You Earn (REPAYE) and Income-Contingent Repayment (ICR) programs. Eligibility for these programs can vary depending on…
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Is There More Than One Type of Credit Score?

Credit scores can determine the conditions you are offered on loans, jobs you may receive and where you can sign residential leases. These scores are determined by calculating the information on your three credit reports. The three credit bureaus (Experian, TransUnion and Equifax) each maintain an individual report on your credit history. There are two main credit scoring models: FICO and VantageScore. These credit scoring models have multiple variations that are used by specific lenders. A 2012 Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) report suggests there are 49 separate FICO scores, some of which are industry-specific. For instance, there are FICO scores that are used in the auto and mortgage lending industry. VantageScore also has multiple scoring models. Some of these variations, especially for FICO scores, have been around for many years. Your credit scores can vary depending on the type of scoring model that was used to calculate the information…
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Seven Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Credit Ratings

Your credit scores are created by using the information that is contained on your three credit reports, which are compiled by Equifax, Transunion and Experian. There are also different types of credit scoring models that are used by various lenders. For example, there are various types of FICO scoring models. VantageScore is also becoming more popular with lenders. Despite the diversity of scoring systems, there are still common factors that can hurt or improve your scores. Making late payments. Creditors could report you to the three credit bureaus if you do not make timely payments on your debt obligations. This may occur after 30, 60, 90 or 120 days. Depending on the creditor, you may not be reported for six or more months. Late payments can seriously harm your credit scores. Overextending your credit. Your credit scores can also be hurt if take out too many lines of credit, especially…
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What Debt Collectors Can and Cannot Do While Collecting Debts

Debtors in the US have certain rights that must be respected by debt collectors. Several years ago, The New York Times wrote an interesting piece on how debt collectors resorted to mob tactics to intimidate debtors. The article described instances of physical violence and destruction of property. Fortunately, debt collectors are not allowed to resort to these tactics in the US. The Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) offers you certain protections if you have consumer debts. Under this law, third-party debt collection agencies are forbidden from the following: Making threats of physical violence or harm Using obscene or profane language Misrepresenting themselves or the debts owed Threatening to have you arrested Making repeated phone calls with the intent to annoy or harass Giving false information about you to other parties Coming to your workplace to collect payments Pursuing you for debts you do not owe We have only listed…
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What Are Common Tax Season Scams?

The IRS has issued a warning on identity theft several weeks before tax season is set to begin. According to the IRS, they have received an increase in reports of identity thieves attempting to access the W-2s of employees at small businesses. W-2 forms contain extensive personal information. This is only one type of scam that could cost you dearly during tax season. Identity thieves may use the following scams to steal your information or take your hard-earned money. Phishing emails: These are emails that attempt to trick you into giving personal information or clicking on links. Phishing emails can be designed to look like they are coming from the IRS or your employer. Some phishing emails may contain links or attachments that download malware onto your computer. Malware could log keystrokes, take control of your PC or view what is on your screen. Soliciting payments: Another common scam involves…
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