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Every day, many consumers’ rights are being violated by individuals and big corporations. Banks, lenders, employers, debt collectors, credit repair agencies, so on and so forth. Many consumers have to face these institutions and individuals by themselves, not realizing there are laws enacted to protect them and their livelihood.

It is important that you educate yourself on your rights when dealing with these people and corporations. Knowing the law can save you hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, while also retaining your peace of mind and dignity.

It is crucial that you get a trusted consumer rights attorney on your side, if you feel that your rights have been violated. And it is of no cost to you as we offer free case reviews. We get paid, when you do. So contact us now, or fill out our online form to represent you in consumer matters.

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New Covid Scam Targetting Small Business Owners

New Covid Scam Targetting Small Business Owners

There’s a new coronavirus-related scam making the rounds, but this time the crooks are targeting small businesses. It starts with an email that claims to come from the “Small Business Administration Office of Disaster Assistance.” It says you’re eligible for a loan of up to $250,000 and asks for personal information like birthdate and Social Security number. Let’s do a CSI-style investigation to spot clues that the email is a fake.

Clue #1. You got an email or phone call out of the blue that claims to be from the IRS, the Social Security Administration, or – in this case – the Small Business Administration. The FTC has warned about government imposter scams like this.

Clue #2. You were told that you’re automatically eligible for a big loan. Real lenders never do this.

Clue #3. You’re asked to hand over your date of birth and Social Security number. This is a tip-off that the sender is trying to steal your personal information.

Phishing attempts aren’t the only scam that business owners are reporting. And other people report they’ve been contacted to repay loans they never took out. The likely culprits? Criminals who illegally applied for loans in their name.

Here are steps you can take to help protect yourself. 

consumer alert

Look for reliable sources of information. Looking for a loan? Don’t click on a link in an unsolicited email and be careful with online search engine results. Scammers often bait their online traps with sound-alike names and URLs, phony endorsements, and professional-looking websites. For small business owners looking for COVID-relief programs, always start at www.sba.gov, the official site of the Small Business Administration. Or reach out to a trusted financial institution in your community.

Check out lenders before sharing personal information. Scammers who impersonate lenders have the perfect excuse to ask you for lots of personal information that can be used to steal your identity. Don’t leave a trail of personal information exposed by filling out lots of applications online with lenders you don’t know. Investigate lenders first and if you spot something amiss, stop. 

Check your credit report. The worst time to learn that someone has taken out a loan in your name is when you’re applying for a loan yourself. So check your credit report first. In addition, the three major credit bureaus are offering free weekly online reports to consumers through April 2021. If you’re not in the market for credit or a loan, freezing your credit offers an extra – and free – measure of protection.

Have you checked your credit report recently? Did you find some errors on your credit report? Take Action! Call us NOW at 718-674-1245 or message here

Credit, Debit, and Charge Cards

Credit, Debit, and Charge Cards

Credit, charge, or debit? Each lets you pay for products and services. Each also has unique characteristics. And if you’re shopping for a credit card, it’s important to compare fees, interest rates, finance charges, and benefits.

Credit card — You can use a credit card to buy things and pay for them over time. But remember, buying with credit is a loan — you have to pay the money back. And some issuers charge an annual fee for their cards. Some credit card issuers also provide “courtesy” checks to their customers. You can use these checks in place of your card, but they’re not a gift — they’re also a loan that you must pay back. And if you don’t pay your bill on time or in full when it’s due, you will owe a finance charge — the dollar amount you pay to use credit. The finance charge depends in part on your outstanding balance and the annual percentage rate (APR).

Charge card — If you use a charge card, you must pay the balance in full each time you get your statement.
Debit card — This card allows you to make purchases in real-time by accessing the money in your checking or savings account electronically.
When applying for credit cards, it’s important to shop around. Fees, interest rates, finance charges, and benefits can vary greatly. And, in some cases, credit cards might seem like great deals until you read the fine print and disclosures. When you’re trying to find the credit card that’s right for you, look at the:
Annual percentage rate (APR) — The APR is a measure of the cost of credit, expressed as a yearly interest rate. It must be disclosed before your account can be activated, and it must appear on your account statements. The card issuer also must disclose the “periodic rate” — the rate applied to your outstanding balance to figure the finance charge for each billing period.
Some credit card plans allow the issuer to change your APR when interest rates or other economic indicators — called indexes — change. Because the rate change is linked to the index’s performance, these plans are called “variable rate” programs. Rate changes raise or lower the finance charge on your account. If you’re considering a variable rate card, the issuer also must tell you that the rate may change and how the rate is determined.
Before you become obligated on the account, you also must receive information about any limits on how much and how often your rate may change.

credit
Grace period — The grace period is the number of days you have to pay your bill in full without triggering a finance charge. For example, the credit card company may say that you have 25 days from the statement date, provided you paid your previous balance in full by the due date. The statement date is on the bill.

The grace period usually applies only to new purchases. Most credit cards do not give a grace period for cash advances and balance transfers. Instead, interest charges start right away. If your card includes a grace period, the issuer must mail your bill at least 14 days before the due date so you’ll have enough time to pay.

Annual fees — Many issuers charge annual membership or participation fees.Some card issuers assess the fee in monthly installments.

Transaction fees and other charges — Some issuers charge a fee if you use the card to get a cash advance, make a late payment, or exceed your credit limit. Some charge a monthly fee if you use the card — or if you don’t.
Customer service — Customer service is something most people don’t consider, or appreciate, until there’s a problem. Look for a 24-hour toll-free telephone number.

Unauthorized charges — If your card is used without your permission, you can be held responsible for up to $50 per card. If you report the loss before the card is used, you can’t be held responsible for any unauthorized charges. To minimize your liability, report the loss as soon as possible. Some issuers have 24-hour toll-free telephone numbers to accept emergency information. It’s a good idea to follow-up with a letter to the issuer — include your account number, the date you noticed your card missing, and the date you reported the loss.

Keep a record — in a safe place separate from your cards — of your account numbers, expiration dates, and the telephone numbers of each card issuer so you can report a loss quickly.

Have you encountered any credit report problems?
Call 718-674-1245 or message us here.

Understanding ECOA and Your Rights

Understanding ECOA and Your Rights

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC), the nation’s consumer protection agency, enforces the Equal Credit Opportunity Act (ECOA), which prohibits credit discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you get public assistance. Creditors may ask you for most of this information in certain situations, but they may not use it when deciding whether to give you credit or when setting the terms of your credit. Not everyone who applies for credit gets it or gets the same terms: Factors like income, expenses, debts, and credit history are among the considerations lenders use to determine your creditworthiness.

Here’s a brief summary of some basic provisions of the ECOA.

equal credit

When You Apply For Credit, Creditors May Not…

  • Discourage you from applying or reject your application because of your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you receive public assistance.
  • Consider your race, sex, or national origin, although you may be asked to disclose this information if you want to. It helps federal agencies enforce anti-discrimination laws. A creditor may consider your immigration status and whether you have the right to stay in the country long enough to repay the debt.
  • Impose different terms or conditions, like a higher interest rate or higher fees, on a loan based on your race, color, religion, national origin, sex, marital status, age, or because you receive public assistance.
  • Ask if you’re widowed or divorced. A creditor may use only the terms: married, unmarried, or separated.
  • Ask about your marital status if you’re applying for a separate, unsecured account. A creditor may ask you to provide this information if you live in “community property” states: Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin. A creditor in any state may ask for this information if you apply for a joint account or one secured by property.
  • Ask for information about your spouse, except:
    • if your spouse is applying with you;
    • if your spouse will be allowed to use the account;
    • if you are relying on your spouse’s income or on alimony or child support income from a former spouse;
    • if you live in a community property state.
  • Ask about your plans for having or raising children, but they can ask questions about expenses related to your dependents.
  • Ask if you get alimony, child support, or separate maintenance payments, unless they tell you first that you don’t have to provide this information if you aren’t relying on these payments to get credit. A creditor may ask if you have to pay alimony, child support, or separate maintenance payments.

If you’ve been denied credit, If you’ve been denied credit, the creditor must give you the name and address of the agency to contact.

Call us for questions: 718-674-1245 or message here.

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Consumer’s rights are violated every day by big corporations and employers, and it is imperative that you get a trusted Consumer Rights Attorney on your side to help you fight for damages you are entitled to. We provide free case reviews, and we do not take a single dime from you! When you win, we win! Get in touch with us today!

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