Archive for the ‘credit report’ Category

What to Do If You’re a Victim of Identity Theft… Part II

Friday, July 25th, 2008

By now you’ve contacted your local law enforcement and the FTC and have the proper documentation in hand to show that you’ve been a victim of identity theft. You’ve notified one of the major credit bureaus, who has in turn notified the other two.

You’ve been diligent about logging every conversation, along with its date and time, and you’ve kept a careful record of every expense associated with reclaiming your own identity.

You’re daydreaming about what you’d like to do to the person who caused you all this grief, but that won’t help. You need to keep a clear head and keep working on putting everything back to rights.

One of the first things you did when you discovered the identity theft was pull your credit report. Now do it again, because more information may have come in since the last report.

Examine it again for new entries, and if you find some, contact the credit bureau again and let them know of the new fraudulent accounts or charges.

If either the first or second report showed new accounts opened in your name, the next step is to contact each of those creditors and do the following:
• Notify each creditor of the identity theft and get the address where you need to send the fraud affidavit.
• Ask the creditor to send you any application that has been made in your name
• Ask to have the account closed and flagged with a fraud alert

If the thief has been using your credit cards, you need to notify the credit card issuers immediately and have those cards cancelled. They’ll issue new cards, with new numbers. Check to make sure that the address and e-mail address in their database is correct, so they don’t just send your new cards to the thief! Of course let them know which charges on your account are fraudulent, and of course note all of these conversations in detail in your log.

If the identity thief has written checks in your name…

• Call your local police and file another report
• Call your bank and close the account
• Get the proper address to send a copy of the police report
• Ask for a refund of monies fraudulently withdrawn
• And of course, carefully record each of these steps in your log

Identity theft costs millions each year, both in money and time loss. It’s a rude and devastating intrusion into your life. But if you take the steps we’ve outlined, you’ll get through it with the least amount of stress.

Good Credit Saves You Money in More Ways than One

Wednesday, July 23rd, 2008

When you think of needing a good credit score, the first thing that comes to mind is buying a home. Next is buying a car, and third is probably the ability to get a credit card.

It’s true, a good score will help you in all those areas. Not only will it make you eligible for a home, a car, or a new credit card, it will mean that you will be granted a lower interest rate than someone with poor credit. Your buying power will be larger, because less of your money will be drained off to pay interest.

Just think, if you borrow $30,000 for a new car and pay just 1% more interest than your neighbor, you’ll spend an extra $300 per year – $25 per month that you could be using for other things – just on interest. If you pay 2% more, that’s an extra $50 per month. Of course, the lender will probably let you stretch your payments over more years, so your payment might be the same as your neighbors, but you’ll pay it for an extra one, two, or three years.

That doesn’t sound like fun at all, does it?

But that’s not all. Your credit score could mean the difference between having and not having a cell phone, or satellite TV service. It could also mean the difference between an affordable insurance rate and one that makes you want to sell your home and your car just to avoid the premiums.

Not buying a house? Prospective landlords also check credit before deciding if they’ll rent to you. After all, if you’ve got good credit you’re more apt to pay your rent on time. When your credit report shows late payments or defaults, they’ll form the opinion that you don’t care much about paying your bills. So naturally they’ll choose a tenant with good credit over a tenant with bad or even marginal credit.

But that’s still not all. Professional employers check credit before hiring employees. When your credit is good it indicates trustworthiness and responsibility. When it’s poor, the prospective employer suspects that you’re disorganized, irresponsible with money, and just might not be conscientious in caring for the company’s best interests.

This practice is especially prevalent in employment fields tied to financial practices – banks, accounting firms, and treasuries.

The first step you need to take is to learn about your current score. Get a free credit report from an online provider, read it carefully to make sure it has no errors, and then begin working to make it as good as you possibly can.

About the Author: Mike Clover is the owner of is the one of the most unique on-line resources for free credit score report, fico score, free credit check, identity theft protection, secured credit cards, student credit cards , credit cards, mortgage loans, auto loans, insurance, debt consolidation ,and a BlOG with a wealth of personal credit information. The information within this website is written by professionals that know about credit, and what determines ones credit worthiness

Should You Freeze Your Credit Report?

Sunday, July 20th, 2008

Perhaps. It depends upon your immediate plans. If you’re getting ready to buy a house or a car, or if you need another credit card, then no, you definitely should not. But if you have no impending need to apply for credit, and you worry about identity theft, then it could be a good plan for you.

Many older consumers are good candidates for this. They’re at an age where they aren’t likely to want a new house or a new car – at least not any time soon. Generally they have several credit cards, many that they aren’t using, which gives them excellent credit. And, sad as it is, elders are often the target for identity fraud.

But first, what does “freezing your credit report” mean? Simply stated, it means that no one, not even you, can access your credit report.

This move helps prevent identity theft because thieves trying to use your credit will run up against a brick wall. When a would-be creditor tries to run a check, they’ll be denied. And when a creditor can’t find out if you’re a smart money manager or not, they’ll deny the credit.

The down side is that you’ll have to pay $10 to each of the three credit reporting agencies: Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union. If you have a spouse, you’ll also have to pay $10 each for your spouse. You’ll also have to fill out paperwork.

However, you can get a “free freeze” if you’ve already become a victim of identity theft. You’ll have to send a copy of the police report in lieu of money.

Because the credit bureaus fought for 4 years to prevent Congress from passing a bill allowing individuals to freeze their reports, they aren’t making it easy for you. You’ll have to mail certified letters, present utility bills to prove you are who you are and you live where you live, and give other personal information.

Later, when you want to purchase a house or a car on credit, you’ll have to go through a reverse process to “thaw” your reports. You’ll pay the $10 per person per credit bureau over again. That’s the second “down side” to freezing your credit report.

Only you can decide if this is the right move for you. But anyone who has gone through the hassle of putting their lives back together after a brush with identity theft would probably tell you that paying those “freeze and thaw” fees is well worth it.

Rental – lease collections Q & A

Saturday, July 19th, 2008

Hi Mike,
I have some questions about leases with apartment complexes. My husband and I are in a lease currently that is up in 5 months. We just ran across an opportunity on a house that we cannot let go. The apartment complex will not let us out of our lease; they said we would have to pay almost $7,000 in fees to break the lease. We have excellent credit and fill like this is absurd. I told them they could easily rent it out again. My question is if I let the lease go and not pay the money will it go on our credit report. I don’t want anything to affect our good credit history. My husband and I have credit scores in the 700’s according the lender that has approved us. Any suggesting would be greatly appreciated.

Tanya Riddle

Hi Tanya,
I personally think apartment complexes can be a thorn in your side. But on the flip side they need some kind of commitment from people as well. I do though completely understand your situation. If your break your lease, two things will happen. First the rest of the lease plus fees will be reported on your credit report. Also when you start the loan process the underwriter will need to verify good rental history, usually for 12 months. The apartment complex will state that you are breaking a lease. So my advice would be either pay it off, or finish out your lease. Also in the long run you will pay for it, and so will your good credit scores.

Credit Report after Divorce Q & A

Monday, July 7th, 2008

Hi Mike,
I have recently decided to divorce my husband. We have lots of debt together on our credit report. I have read some of you great articles about your credit during a divorce. I want to make sure that my credit scores don’t suffer because of this divorce. We currently have about 3 credit cards that are joint accounts. We also have a house we both or on the note as well. I am really concerned that he might stop paying on some of the obligations which will affect my good credit rating. What do you recommend?

Jenni Braco

Hi Jenni,
I am sorry to hear about the divorce. The first thing you need to do is make sure the divorce attorney forces the husband to get all debts he is reasonable for out of your name. If he is late on an obligation I can assure you it will affect your good credit score report. This is only applies to joint accounts that he is responsible for. Even though the divorce decree might state he is responsible for the debt, if he is late on an account that has your social attached to it, your good credit will suffer. This is a common problem out there; also I would recommend selling the house if it’s awarded to him, or suggest that he refinance the house. Bottom line you don’t want any obligations in your name that he is responsible for. If you were responsible for paying the bills and feel he might be late on something, I would foot the payments until everything is out of your name that he is responsible for.

Mike Clover

About the Author: Mike Clover is the owner of is the one of the most unique on-line resources for free credit score report, fico score, free credit check, identity theft protection, secured credit cards, student credit cards , credit cards, mortgage loans, auto loans, insurance, debt consolidation ,and a BlOG with a wealth of personal credit information. The information within this website is written by professionals that know about credit, and what determines ones credit worthiness

Life after a Foreclosure

Saturday, July 5th, 2008

Your life during a foreclosure might seem never ending. A foreclosure does affect your credit score report, but the good news is there is life afterwards. If you have fell victim to the Sub-Prim meltdown which caused you to loose your home, I will explain to you how you can recover from this fairly quick. Obviously anytime you have a negative mark on your credit report it will stay on there for 7 years. The positive side is you can implement some good credit management steps to recover.

It will be a minimum of 3 years after foreclosure date before you can buy a house again. FHA and Conventional loans have a 3 year seasoning requirement before they will allow you to get financed. By implementing what I am about to teach you, you can still get your credit in the right direction.

Step 1: Late Payments
Make sure you don’t have anymore late payments on any of your other obligations. Late payments will destroy your credit.

Step 2: Credit
Make sure you have at least 3 lines of credit reporting on your credit report. This could be a couple of credit cards, secured credit cards, car loans, and installment loans.

Step 3: Rental
Make sure you have excellent rental history. Don’t be late on your payments to your landlord. When you get ready go buy a new home in 3 years, this is a must, and make sure the rental payment is fairly close to what you new mortgage payment would be. The reason is if you are ready to buy a home and your rental was $400 to $500 less than your new mortgage payment, the bank will consider that payment shock. So watch this closely.

Step 4: Savings
Save your money, you should have at least 6 months worth of mortgage payments in your savings. The banks like to see that you have the ability to save.

Step 5: Learn from your mistakes
After you have experienced a foreclosure, make sure you don’t have the something happen again. Fair Isaac the creator of the FICO score will forgive credit mistakes, but the new FICO 08 does not forgive repeat offenders too well. So don’t make the same mistakes twice.

Stuff comes up during our little journey here on earth, but we can make matters a lot better with good credit management. If you are not rich, there will come a time where you need to borrow money. It can be a little frustrating when you need a loan and you cannot get one because of bad credit. Once you implement what I have mentioned you will be well on your way to good credit health.

Medical Collections Q & A

Monday, June 30th, 2008

Hi I have some medical collections on my credit report and was wondering if this will affect me getting a car loan. I have not pulled my credit report yet so I am not sure what my scores are, but know the debt I owe is around $2500 for a surgery I had. What type of credit scores are auto lenders looking for? What is considered a good credit score for auto loans?



Hi James,
I am not sure if your medical collection was the result of the hospital not coding something correctly so your insurance would pay. I do know that this is a common problem if you have insurance. The insurance claim was coded wrong; therefore the insurance company would not pay. If this is not the case, yes any collection hurts your credit report. This negative mark on your credit report reports every 30 days. My suggestion would be to settle on it, so the balanced owed goes away. Typically car dealerships are able to get low credit scores financed, but you will pay for it. To get the best rates you typically need a credit score of 660 or above.

How a Co-signer can affect your Credit Report

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

Do you want your credit score to plummet, go ahead and co-sign for someone. I personally believe this is a huge problem. With your credit score and credit report being the road map to financial health, the question is can you really afford to co-sign for friends and family. Over the years I have seen more problems with this issue. Here is how a co-signer can affect your personal credit.

Late Payments
If you co-sign for a family member your credit report could be at risk. If for some reason the family member is late on an obligation you co-signed for your credit score just dropped about 100 points. Most people don’t thing about this, but it happens all the time. Anytime someone is late on a obligation that reports to all 3 credit bureaus, that bad mark will be on there for 7 years. It’s not worth it. If you have to co-sign for someone make sure you are not getting ready to make a big purchase, because it could affect your purchasing power as well. Some banks like to see a payment history in good standing usually around 12 months on co-signed obligations. They also typically like to see proof that the payment is coming out of the person’s bank account you co-signed for. So co-signing opens up all kinds of worms in the world of finance.

Income to Debt Ratio
Once you have co-signed on a loan for a friend or family member it could affect your ability to get a loan for something else. That added debt that is showing up on your credit report is technically your responsibility as well. Let’s assume you have this car note you co-signed for and the payment is $500.00 a month. You have now added this debt to your portfolio of debts in a underwriters eyes. In order to buy something else an underwriter may require a good 12 month payment history by the other party to disallow a debt from your portfolio of obligations. So with this being said think real hard before you co-sign on anything. I don’t recommend it. There are ways for someone to get there credit established so they can get loans in their own name. The internet is a great resource. There is anything you can imagine on the web to help you achieve just about anything, including getting your own credit established so you don’t need a co-signer.

Tax Lien Q & A

Sunday, June 15th, 2008


I have a tax lien on my credit report from 1998. This tax lien was due to taxes on a 1099 job I had for 2 years. I did not pay the amount owed for the year of 1997. The IRS filed a tax lien for $12,000. My attorney said it should drop off after seven years. Well 7 years was a while back. What am I missing here? I have been told this tax lien will affect my credit score as well. I want to resolve this matter as quick as possible. I am getting ready to sell my home and purchase another home.


Determining when collections are going to come off your credit report might seem simple, but there are some types of credit report activity that does not apply to the 7 year rule. Tax liens are one of those debts owed that will not go away until you pay it. The Fair Credit Reporting ACT has different rules for this type of debt owed. Here are the facts.

• Unpaid Tax Liens- there is not a set expiration date for unpaid tax liens according to the FCRA. So tax liens will stay on your credit report until you pay it. Some credit bureaus cap how long they report records like tax liens for up to 15 years. So if a tax lien has been reporting for over 15 years, you might consider disputing to see if the bureaus will remove.

• Paid Tax Liens – Once a tax lien is paid off, the tax lien will report on your credit report for 7 years from paid date. Tax liens are the only record where the expiration date is tied to repayment.

Jim you do have a chance of getting this record off by disputing it. There is no guarantee it will com off though. You will more than likely have to pay the debt off. You can use our how to dispute process here.

Mike Clover

Common Credit Report mistakes

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2008

Your credit report is not something to be taken lightly these days. It is almost as important as your social security card. There will come a time where your credit report will be required for credit purposes. We see credit reports on a daily basis, and there typically are issues with that individual’s credit report that was not known. This is all too common due to a lack of staying on top of your personal credit report. Here are some common issues we see that cause loans to get denied.

Credit Report Issues:
Credit Cards charged beyond credit limit
• Credit Cards charged above 30% of allowed credit limit
• Late payments
• Co-signed for loans
• No Credit
Credit Score too low
• Your dads credit shows up on your report because you are a junior
• Medical Collections
• Stolen Identity
• Credit card fraud

The majority of the time most people have no idea that the previous information discussed affects your credit report. All it takes is one of these mistakes to have issues getting credit extended to you.

If you are getting ready to make a purchase you can definitely save on interest rates and terms by pulling a copy of your credit report with credit scores. This is a preventive measure so you don’t get blind sided with a credit problem. There is a 1 n 4 chances your credit report has incorrect information on it.

Suggestions to avoid common credit report mistakes
• Pull your credit report every 3 months
• Don’t be late on obligations
• Don’t co-sign for anyone
• Don’t charge more on a credit card than you can pay off that month
• Establish credit if you don’t have any with Secured Credit Cards
• Pay your medical bills
• Shred all document that come in the mail to avoid id theft

Disclaimer: This information has been compiled and provided by as an informational service to the public. While our goal is to provide information that will help consumers to manage their credit and debt, this information should not be considered legal advice. Such advice must be specific to the various circumstances of each person's situation, and the general information provided on these pages should not be used as a substitute for the advice of competent legal counsel.