Credit Repair: Part 3 – the Letters and the Laws

Continued from Credit Repair – Part 2 – the Methods

I’ve used some form of the following letters to contest credit issues.

This first letter

is to the creditor (group 1). The creditor must either provide you with proof of confirmation of your identity or tell the collections agency to remove the account. First, you must contact the original creditor by phone. If they’re out of business, your debt must be canceled. If they answer, get a name, their legal address, and ask (politely) what kind of record keeping proves your debt to them. If they don’t have positive ID (like a bank would request), then send this letter to their legal address.

May 27, 2017
Re: Acct # WERNICKE, CHARLES  
SSN ***-**-1234  
DOB 01/01/1901
Dear Legal Department:

This letter is in regards to a phone call I placed to your organization on April 1, 2017.  I called to inquire about an account that is listed on my credit report and spoke to an employee who identified herself as Rachel. 

The account is from Feb 24, 2012 for $780.

She informed me that your company does not have any proof of identity on this account and that all documentation was sent to a collection agency. I was the victim of identity theft. I don't understand how the investigation confirmed this debt without any documentation or proof of my identity for purposes of incurring a debt? I have copied the collection agency with this complaint.

Please remove these debts from my credit history. They are not mine. If this incorrect information is not removed from my credit reports, I will file suit against your organization for violating the FDCPA and/or the FCRA as applicable.

Sincerely,
Your Name Here

At the same time,

you will need to send a letter to the collections agency (group 2). They need to be notified that the creditor (group 1) has received a challenge and to expect a follow-up. The agency (group 2) can be sued (successfully) for failing to comply with federal law. It’s not worth it to them to pursue a legally contested account. They will probably abandon it rather than risk it.

May 27, 2017
 Re: Acct # WERNICKE, CHARLES
 SSN ***-**-1234
 DOB 01/01/1901
 

Dear Legal Department:

I recently disputed the collection accounts reported on my credit by NTL. I was the victim of identity theft during 2012. The debts were allegedly verified, however, as legitimate debts:

THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR COMPANY Feb 24, 2012 $780

I contacted the creditor (THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR COMPANY) on April 1, 2017, and spoke to Rachel.

Rachel informed me that THE ORIGINAL CREDITOR COMPANY does not have any documentation on this account and that it was all sent to your collection agency. I don't understand how the investigation confirmed this debt without any documentation or proof of my identity? I have copied the creditor with this complaint. Please remove these debts from my credit history. They are not mine. If this incorrect information is not removed from my credit reports, I will file suit against your organization for violating the FDCPA and/or the FCRA as applicable.

Sincerely,
Your Name Here

Now keep an eye on your weekly credit reports.

You will normally see the credit bureaus (group 3) drop the problem claims without further effort. If nothing happens and you receive nothing in the mail, send both letters again. Give them a month. If they ignore the second try, then take them to small claims court.

Here’s the law:

FCRA: Fair Credit Reporting Act (1970)

is U.S. Federal Government legislation enacted to promote the accuracy, fairness, and privacy of consumer information contained in the files of consumer reporting agencies. It was intended to protect consumers from the willful and/or negligent inclusion of inaccurate information in their credit reports. To that end, the FCRA regulates the collection, dissemination, and use of consumer information, including consumer credit information. Together with the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (“FDCPA”), the FCRA forms the foundation of consumer rights law in the United States. It is enforced by the US Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

The following excerpt from the Act explains legal procedure:

§ 623. (a)(8) ABILITY OF CONSUMER TO DISPUTE INFORMATION DIRECTLY WITH FURNISHER
(D) SUBMITTING A NOTICE OF DISPUTE- A consumer who seeks to dispute the accuracy of information shall provide a dispute notice directly to such person at the address specified by the person for such notices that–

(i) identifies the specific information that is being disputed;

(ii) explains the basis for the dispute; and

(iii) includes all supporting documentation required by the furnisher to substantiate the basis of the dispute.

(E) DUTY OF PERSON AFTER RECEIVING NOTICE OF DISPUTE- After receiving a notice of dispute from a consumer pursuant to subparagraph (D), the person that provided the information in dispute to a consumer reporting agency shall–

(i) conduct an investigation with respect to the disputed information;

(ii) review all relevant information provided by the consumer with the notice;

(iii) complete such person’s investigation of the dispute and report the results of the investigation to the consumer before the expiration of the period under section 611(a)(1) within which a consumer reporting agency would be required to complete its action if the consumer had elected to dispute the information under that section; and

(iv) if the investigation finds that the information reported was inaccurate, promptly notify each consumer reporting agency to which the person furnished the inaccurate information of that determination and provide to the agency any correction to that information that is necessary to make the information provided by the person accurate.
(v)

§ 616 and § 617 of the FCRA talk about how much the fines are for violations of the FCRA (the willful and negligent noncompliance), typically $1,000 per violation in small claims court.

§ 623(c) of the FCRA affords that if you challenge the original creditors (group 1), without first having disputed through the credit bureaus (group 3), you are likely screwed. Don’t do it. Contest your claim with the credit bureaus first!

FACTA: Fair and Accurate Credit Transactions Act (2003)

is a United States federal law as an amendment to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The act allows consumers to request and obtain a free credit report once every twelve months and created AnnualCreditReport.com, to provide free access to annual credit reports.

The act also contains provisions to help reduce identity theft, such as the ability for individuals to place alerts on their credit histories if identity theft is suspected, thereby making fraudulent applications for credit more difficult.

In summary,

you should now have all the ammunition you need to restore your credit. Put a little effort into it and you’ll be back on track in no time. Identity theft need not be the end of the world. Thanks for reading through to the end. Bee bopity bo.

Credit Repair: Part 2 – the Methods

Continued from Credit Repair: Part 1 – the Enemy

You’ve read thus far because

you want (or need) your credit fixed. Perhaps it was some trouble in your past, maybe a medical bill you couldn’t afford, or you were cheated. No matter what the cause, the solution may be easier than you think. There are several methods of attack. This text won’t judge – you do this for whatever reason you see fit, but don’t think that they think you are an honest person. You have already been classified as a deadbeat and must proceed with that in mind.

Before you do anything,

get your latest credit report. CreditKarma is one fast, easy, and free way to accomplish this. You can also get a free annual report (required by law) from AnnualCreditReport. All the credit bureaus (Group 3: Equifax, Transunion, and Experian) also offer some level of free online reporting. You need this current information in front of you before you can start disputing it.

After you have your report,

challenge the bad credit reported by the reporting bureau (group 3). This should take about 30 days. They will contact the collections agency or financial institution involved and notify them that you dispute the item. They will have to investigate. Surprisingly, many companies won’t carry paper records for more than a year. They will be unable to provide proof and your problem is over! If they do provide proof, then you have to proceed with one of the following tactics:

Method 1: If the debt is legit

and you want to pay, make sure the collections agency (group 2) agrees in writing to remove any derogatory marks on your credit report. They will most likely agree. They’ll be making many times their investment back, and they have nothing to gain by leaving you screwed. In fact, restoring “good” credit to a risky person increases the likelihood of them getting another account (yours) down the road from your next “victim”. Everyone wins except the original creditors –  and they deserve their fate for so easily giving you credit.

The original creditor has probably tacked on late fees and other penalties on your balance. You can offer the collection agency (group 2) a settlement. Remember – they are taking a risk when they buy the debt from the creditor (group 1) – so they are will probably accept as little as 10% of the original debt. If you decide to negotiate, I’d recommend a book by Herb Cohen entitled “You Can Negotiate Anything”. He describes useful tactics for drawing your opponent in to invest his time and effort into your problem. People hate to waste time. If the collections agent develops a relationship with you, he will be more likely to accept an extremely low offer. So pay it all, or pay a fraction, either way, it is your choice from the very beginning.

Negotiate. It’s worth your time and effort. If someone offered you $500 to make a 5-minute phone call once a week for 12 weeks, would you do it? Of course you would. Saving $500 is the same as earning it. Negotiate these people down and earn your pay, baby!

Method 2: If you have been cheated

through fraud of any sort, you should challenge the debt. You should call the original creditor (group 1) and ask them for copies of the contract that names and identifies you. If the debt is more than a year old, they may not have it! If they never requested identification, then you’re done – they can’t come after you and they have to clear it up with the collections agency! If someone else took out credit using your name, how can they morally hold you responsible? They will. That’s insane, and it happens much more than you imagine.

Even if they do have positive ID, if you can prove it a forgery (as in identity theft), then they will have to remove the record. This will take persistence on your part. The police will be very unlikely to help you with this unless the amount is substantial. The burden of proof of identity though lies upon the vendor (the creditor). They’re the ones who got robbed by your “impersonator”. You may have to take the vendor to court, in the end, should they choose to be stubborn, but most won’t be. Most times the debt disappears and your credit is fixed!

Remember, your corner bank won’t hand you money without proper ID and funds, so a merchant doing so is stupid, and deserves some pain in this harsh business climate. I’m not advocating fraud, but don’t let someone else’ bad behavior change yours. Their bad business practices should not cost you a nickel!

Method 3: Wait 7 years

for the accounts to fall off your credit history. This will obviously take a while. You probably can’t do this, but except for the two methods listed above, you have little other choice!

 

Now you know the methods, next are some sample letters and simple explanations of the laws behind them…

Credit Repair: Part 1 – the Enemy

Bad credit. How do you fix it?Credit Repair

I had some crap on my credit report. It affected my employment opportunities, housing, and it was pretty much assumed to be a picture of “me”. That sucks, because I’m a very responsible and honest person, but creditors don’t play anymore. If you have a dispute, they ignore you and send the bill to a collection agency. Now you can wait the 7 years for it to fall off, and it will, but I’m not a patient man when it comes to some things. Like ice cream – I want it NOW.

I’ve been describing these facts and methods to a number of friends recently. This information was intended to be (and will be) added to the next edition of Darknet, Bitcoin, Fraud.  After explaining it a few times though, I realized I can’t hold this back any longer. It’s simply too important to hide.

This is how I fixed my credit:

I’ve tried to keep this simple. Since credit is important these days and identity theft is rampant, I thought it would be prudent to explain the process of recovery. The government has also swung in this direction, passing acts in the past few years to help US citizens gain some power in their arguments against creditors. It’s pretty straightforward, but let’s get a few things clear.
There are basically three different groups involved. The laws have changed for all of them, granting you more power, but you need to be able to speak with authority. Their business practices haven’t changed much; they’ll still threaten, harass, and blackmail you. I will show you how to easily defeat them, and use the laws in your favor.

First, here’s a rundown of the three groups; what each one does:

Group 1: Creditors are those businesses or entities that grant you credit. They give you something in exchange for your promise to pay. They must ensure that the person they’re granting credit to is you. You can’t walk into a bank and withdraw money without an ID. A social security number and birthdate just won’t do. They’ll tell you to hit the bricks. Sorry for your luck. BUT that’s also what other creditors must do. They can’t just go around willy-nilly handing out money insisting it was you they gave it to, without proof that it was actually you. Rewind to the bank – did they get your ID? Oh, ok. They didn’t? Well, that’s their fault, and if you decide not to pay then that’s their loss – not yours. They’ll get angry, give up, and turn over your account to a collection agency.

Group 2: Collection Agencies are just paper pushers that are skilled in the arts of lying and negotiation. They will buy your account from the creditor for a significant discount. They’ll probably give the creditor about $70 for your $1000 “bad debt”. Now to the creditor, $70 is better than nothing. They’d much rather settle with you for say $100, but sadly that time has come and gone. Pride and appearance usually get involved, clouding the battlefield and causing the creditor to give up on you instead of negotiating. Either way, fortunately for you the collection agency will usually accept any amount over that $70 once they believe they’ll get little more than that. This takes a certain amount of negotiation, stamina, and perseverance. It won’t be easy, but it’s do-able. Meanwhile, they list your delinquent account with a credit reporting agency, sit back, and wait up to seven years for you to cough up the full amount owed.

Group 3: Credit Reporting Bureaus like Equifax and Transunion merely report what Group 2 tells them. They sell this information to individuals and organizations that request it. The bureaus must report what they have, and they are the “front door” for any dispute. They are just “the messengers” – reporting what others have told them – and shouldn’t be “shot” despite the fact that they’re the people responsible for your credit approval. The credit reporting bureaus just assemble your credit score; that’s all they do. They must tell you who is requesting and reporting what. All the information you need to attack your problems is within their grasp, but they won’t help you very much aside from reporting that you contest the claim.

So now you know your enemies; let’s discuss the battlefield.

Next up…. who does what to who, why, and when?

Darknet, Bitcoin, Fraud released

I’m thrilled to announce the November 11, 2016 release of
“Darknet, Bitcoin, Fraud” !!

Click here to buy it now on:

Amazon Kindle
Buy “Darknet, Bitcoin, Fraud” here

Intro:

Have you been hacked yet? You’re next! The chances are you will be attacked, soon. This book shows you how you’ll be targeted, and what you will hopefully do to prevent it.

One in five people have already been hacked, and 25 million more are defrauded every year. You read about it in the news; emails from your bank, “Change your password! Use a VPN! Verify your account details!” These tiny cyber-attacks are typically interstate or international, and never prosecuted. Identities, credit cards, titles, even actual lives are stolen and traded online. Victims rarely find out until it’s far too late, and then they are faced with a long, uphill battle. These people never fully recover from the assault.

Cybercrime is rampant and just getting worse- the nation just doesn’t have the resources to combat it. The federal hiring focus is on cyber-agents: they need more whitehat hackers to investigate and prevent these attacks. Meanwhile, every second another helpless victim is snared in the US alone.

How does this happen? Who can do this? You can. Anybody can! It’s easy, but we’re lured into believing otherwise. This concise manual describes the simplicity of committing digital fraud. Knowledge is power; the last thing the FBI needs is more pressure to fix something they can’t. Our ignorance and complacency is the underlying problem. The author seeks to change that. Take a few minutes and try on the black hat! Find out for yourself what it feels like, and learn how to protect yourself from online villains.

Each chapter is designed to illustrate ease, simplicity, and security. A wide swath of topics introduce the reader to the hacker tools and methods of attack. Bitcoin transactions are described from start to finish, which is an essential component of Darknet purchases and money laundering. Secure communications and online privacy tactics are highlighted to enable further research (if desired). Many of the weaknesses in our online structures exploited by today’s cyber-criminals are revealed within, and various means to defend yourself are spelled out.

Links and references are included throughout to hold the reader’s hand and expand their opportunities (should you feel the desire).

Warning: hard truths within. This may shake you up (at least) a little.

Darknet, Bitcoin, Fraud is being released…

Darknet, Bitcoin, Fraud is being released on Kindle and iTunes September 30, 2016.

I’m already working on new topics and revisions. Da Vinci once said that, “Art is never finished, only abandoned”. I must abandon this first edition and release the information to the wild. It’s not perfect, but it never would be. I can only hope that it helps someone do something constructive, aside from me and the many months it served as a worthwhile distraction.

I appreciate the many people that helped me with this effort!

These Credit Card Fraud Statistics are shocking…

Every time I research fraud statistics I get sick to my stomach.

Not from the amount of fraud mind you, but from the insignificance of those amounts compared to the profits generated by credit card companies! Hard numbers are difficult to nail, apparently obscured due to their obscenity. $25 trillion was projected for 2016 in worldwide eCommerce transactions, with somewhere between 2%-12% going to the bankers. That’s nearly $3 trillion in annual credit card revenues by some estimates. And we buy into it, willingly, happily even.

I smell another book on the horizon, but I promise I’m cheaper to buy than to kill!

Darknet, Bitcoin, Fraud is being edited…

My book, “Darknet, BitCoin, Fraud” is in editing and should be released to the publisher this month. I’m already researching the next edition. I also have a fictional story in the works and hope to make time to complete it. I thoroughly enjoy entertaining people, it’s the most satisfaction I find in life these days.