credit report

5 Great Questions to Ask a Debt Collector

Minnesota debt collection defense attorney John Rossman wrote this breathless warning for debt collectors for InsideARM:

An army of Debtors — fully equipped with scripts drafted by consumer attorneys and recording devices — are using their telephones as weapons to wage war on unsuspecting Debt Collectors across our nation.

Rossman warns debt collectors that consumers are trying to “entrap” collectors and “trick” them into violating the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by asking the following questions:

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Repairing a Bad Credit Score is Getting Easier

To repair your credit score in the past, you had to do a lot of guesswork. But because of the recent financial reform bill, lenders who refuse to loan you money will have to tell you why. They will also have to give you a copy of the credit score they used to decide to turn you down. This goes for employers, insurance providers, and anyone else who takes an “adverse action” against you based on your credit report.

Getting rejected sucks, but at least in the future you will know why, which means you can work to fix the problem.

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Fraud Alerts Will Not Hurt Your Credit Score

LifeLock has had its troubles, but its main tool—putting a fraud alert on your account every 90 days—does not hurt your credit score. It does, however, make it more difficult to get credit, because lenders have to jump through more hoops before approving a credit application.

So if you are not planning to try to obtain credit in the next 90 days, go ahead and use a fraud alert. Otherwise, know that placing a fraud alert on your credit files will make it more difficult to get credit.

Fraud Alerts Don’t Hurt Your Credit Score | NYT

Use for Free Credit Reports

If you want a free copy of your credit report, head over to, which was setup by the Federal Trade Commission.

Thanks to Congress passing the Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act of 2009, the ads should be a more clear in the future. FreeCreditReport will now have large disclosure ads on their website that say something like “You have the right to a free credit report from . . . the only authorized source under federal law . . . .”

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Debt Collection Scammers Often Worse Than the Real Thing

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) has put out an emergency alert regarding bogus debt collectors that have recently been praying on consumers. The fake debt collectors are often just as nasty as real debt collectors can be, if not worse.

If you are contacted by a debt collector and think it is a scam, here are a few tips:

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Congress calls out is sort of an “honest” scam. “Hey, we’re! Nah, you have to pay for your free credit report. Yeah, but the name is!!! But you totally have to pay. For your FREE FREE FREE credit report.”

Under the new credit card reform legislation, outfits like that offer free* services will have to (1) inform consumers that the only place for a free credit report is; and (2) include the statement “this is not the free credit report provided for by federal law.”

This is not the free credit report you are looking for.

CARD Act Includes Limits On Not-So-Free Credit Report Ads | Consumerist
Pop Culture Hot List: | SI

Gone in 60 seconds: 10 credit score myths

60-second video: Myths of credit | I Will Teach You to be Rich (via Lifehacker)

New form: credit report dispute letter

In order to remove inaccurate information from your credit report, you must report that information to the credit reporting agencies (CRAs) Experian, TransUnion, Equifax, and CSC Credit Services. Once you dispute the inaccurate information, the CRAs must investigate the matter and remove any inaccurate information or edit the entry to reflect your dispute.

The credit report dispute letter is a form to help you make those disputes. Remember: the more information you provide to back up your dispute, the better your changes of getting the inaccurate information removed.

Remember to keep a copy of the letter along with the information you include. If the CRAs refuse to correct the inaccurate information, you should contact a consumer lawyer for help.

You can find more forms at

Credit reports apparently generated by Flintstones technology

According to Gary Nitzkin, “[t]he credit reporting industry is operating in the stone age.” By which he means the credit reporting agencies seem incapable of dealing with credit information that comes from identity theft. Gary filed two lawsuits because even though the identity thief confessed, he could not get his clients’ credit reports fixed.

Why not? Because credit reporting agencies like TransUnion, Experian, and Equifax reduce all disputes to three pieces of information: the name, address, and social security number of the person making the dispute. If the CRA and the company who provided the negative information both have the same information, the credit report stays as-is.

Notice the lack of any investigation into whether the negative information itself was actually accurate? Even better: “Neither of the CRAs allow their investigators to use the internet, the telephone or a fax machine when conducting an investigation into a consumer dispute.”

Wait, what? They actually prevent their employees and furnishers from doing the required investigation. Facepalm, indeed.

OMG….The CRA’s are sooooo F’ed Up when it comes to ID theft!!!! | Michigan Collection Law Blog

(photo: Wikimedia Commons)

Prisoners of Debt (redux)

A while back I promised more analysis of this article. This gist of the article is that those debts discharged by a bankruptcy court are not being honored as discharged. There are some powerful reasons for this

First, those debt collectors who we collecting on the debt prior to the discharge will continue to collect on these debts in violation of the discharge order. Second, the owners of the discharged debt will continue to sell these debts on the secondary market.

So why is this? The answer is simple – Money.

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