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We hope the articles below help you understand your rights as a consumer. You can scroll through the titles, or sort by Practice Area or Topic. You can also use the search feature to locate information by keyword.

Flitter Milz represents people with a variety of problems involving consumer credit and collections. If you have a particular question or believe your consumer rights have been violated, Contact Us for a no cost consultation.

How Medical Debt Impacts Your Credit Score

Medical emergencies occur as we go through life. Often, health issues are unexpected and can end up costing thousands of dollars in medical bills. With the lapse in time from when you are billed by a medical provider to the time your health insurance company pays, very quickly accounts can be turned over to third party debt collectors, and frequently, become listings on your credit report.

Even when the medical bills are paid, the time spent in collection status may negatively impact credit reports and lower credit scores.  The result could make it more difficult to get approved for a loan, purchase a car, rent an apartment, or even get a job.

How to Manage your Credit Score

Your credit score is a three-digit number that’s used by lenders to predict the likelihood that you’ll pay your credit obligations on time.  Scores range from 300 – 850 and are calculated based on credit history information listed on credit reports. Make sure that information listed on your credit report is accurate.  Incorrect listings may contribute to lower credit scores.  Take these steps to make sure your credit score is an accurate reflection of your credit history.

Obtain Current Credit Reports
Every twelve months you are entitled to obtain new credit reports for free from each Transunion, Experian and Equifax. There may be a fee from the credit bureaus if you need to request reports more often.

Review your Credit Reports for Accuracy
The bureaus list not only personal information, such as your name, birth date, social security number, addresses and employment history, but also list account payment information, liens, judgments and bankruptcies.  Learn to read your credit report .  If there are errors that could bring your credit score down, take steps to get them corrected.

Dispute Errors on your Credit Reports
If there are errors on your reports, send written disputes to the credit bureaus.  Your dispute letter should be concise and provide documents illustrating why the listing is incorrect.  Send your dispute to the bureau by Certified Mail, Return Receipt, so that you have proof your dispute was received. Be sure to keep copies of your complete dispute. The credit bureau has 30 days to respond to your dispute.

Collection contact over Medical Debt
Once a medical provider assigns the collection of a medical debt to a collection agency or law firm collector, the consumer has rights against a collector’s abusive collection practices. Whether you have been unable to pay or dispute the amount, the collector must follow the law called the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognizedconsumer protection law firm that represents victims with problems involving credit reporting errors and abusive collection practices.  Whether you owe the debt or not, our firm will evaluate whether your consumer rights have been violated.  Contact us today for a free legal review.

 

 

 

 

 

IRS Warns of Identity Theft Scams

Identity theft remains a top priority for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). It is among the fastest growing type of crime nationwide. Refund fraud caused by identity theft is one of the biggest challenges facing the IRS.

Taxpayers can encounter identity theft that involves their tax returns in several ways. Identity thieves try to file fraudulent refund claims by stealing and using another person’s identifying information.

Protect yourself from IRS Refund Fraud

  • Don’t carry around your Social Security Card or information with your Taxpayer Identification Number.
  • Don’t give a business your SSN or TIN just because they ask – only give this information when required.
  • Check your credit report every 12 months.
  • Secure personal information and financial documents at home.
  • Protect your personal computers by using firewalls and virus software.
  • Change your passwords and pin numbers regularly.
  • Don’t provide personal information over the phone, through the mail or on the internet unless you know exactly who you are dealing with. Beware when someone calls requesting financial, banking, or identification information. This could be scam. For example, the IRS will not call consumers to collect taxes or payments. They communicate through the mail or in person.

Are you a victim of Identity Theft?

  • More than one tax return was filed for you.
  • IRS records indicate you received more wages than you actually earned.
  • Your state or federal benefits were reduced or canceled because the agency received information about an income change.
  • You have a balance due or collection actions taken against you during a year when you did not file a tax return.

Anyone who receives a notice from the IRS and suspects their identity has been used fraudulently should respond immediately to the contact phone number provided on the notice.

If you did not receive a notice from the IRS, but still believe you’ve been the victim of identity theft, contact the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at (800) 908-4490.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit reporting accuracy and privacy issues or abusive collection contact resulting from identity theft.  Contact Us to discuss your rights.

Is Your Credit Score Holding You Back?

Building and repairing credit is easier said than done. Whether you are trying to build credit or repair credit after some financial mishaps, the discipline to meet financial decisions responsibly can be paralyzing. And if you’re in the midst of a credit crisis, the situation could seem hopeless.

For better or worse, we live in a credit-dominated society.  Big purchases such as homes, cars, education, furniture, internet service, and cell phones require a credit history. Good credit enables us to make these purchases and enjoy the benefits that come with them.  Bad credit makes these purchases a challenge.  Although you may get approved for the loan, the credit terms may be more expensive and carry higher fees and interest rates.  And, you need to be cautious.  The ease of spending on credit, without paying cash at the time of purchase, can create a cycle of over spending.  Suddenly, it’s difficult to meet monthly bills.

Begin building your credit

If you’ve never had credit, or if you’re working your way out of financial hardship, you may need to seek some help.  One option may be to get a secured credit card from your bank. This type of card requires a cash security deposit, which reduces the risk to the issuer and can help you build a credit history.  A number of banks offer secured credit cards, where you can put money on the card that acts as your credit limit. These secured cards work differently than pre-paid and debit cards. You will receive monthly bills to pay in order to avoid penalties.  Most important, make sure the furnisher of this card reports to the credit bureaus. You want your good payment history to count towards building or repairing your credit.

A second option may be to become an authorized user on someone else’s credit card. This means that the primary account holder adds your name to their credit card account.  You will receive a card and pay for the items you’ve charged.  The accounts where you are an authorized user will likely appear on your credit report, along with your good payment history.  Most of all, you want to establish financial discipline for paying back borrowed money on time.

Credit Cards Require Responsibility

After building up some credit, you will likely become eligible for a credit card of your own.  But, beware.  Credit cards are a lot of responsibility.  You must avoid overspending so that you can pay off your balance in full, and on time, every month.

Pay your bills on time

Whether you get hard copies in the mail or emailed statements examine how much you owe.  Plan your expenses so that you’ve saved enough money to make payments on time. Bills can be scary and intimidating, especially if you’ve spent more than you can afford to pay.

Credit reports list delinquent payments and bring down your credit score. Some people find setting up automatic payments from a bank account helps to stay current on bills.

Obtain current credit reports

Every twelve months consumers are entitled to one free credit report from each Transunion, Experian and Equifax.  Review your report for accuracy.  If you find errors, dispute them by writing to the credit bureau. You want your credit report to be an accurate reflection of your credit history.

Seek Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a nationally recognized consumer protection law firm that represents victims with credit report problems, those who’ve had contact from abusive debt collectors or a vehicle wrongfully repossessed by a lender. Whether the consumer fell behind on payments or not, there are laws that the credit bureau, debt collector and lender must follow.  Contact Us for a free consultation to discuss whether your consumer rights were violated.

Does Your Credit Report List the Same Account More Than Once?

If a creditor sells your account to a debt buyer, sometimes both the creditor and the debt buyer will list the same debt on your credit report. Duplicate listings can lower credit scores and make it more difficult to get approved for a loan, buy a car, refinance a home, or get a job. Even if you pay the debt, duplicate listings may remain on your report.

Steps to Dispute Errors on your Credit Report

  • Obtain current credit reports from Transunion, Experian, and Equifax. Consumers are entitled to obtain a free credit report every twelve months from each bureau.
  • Send written disputes to the credit bureaus that show a duplicate listing. Include a current copy of your credit report with the disputed item highlighted. Briefly state why the duplicate listing should be removed. Attach any supporting documentation that will support your claim.
  • Written disputes that are mailed to the credit bureau are most effective. Additional supporting documents can be submitted with the dispute.
    Online disputes have limitations for the number of words and characters which may restrict the explanation of a complex dispute.
  • Send your dispute letter through the US Mail by Certified Mail, Return Receipt, or by another traceable means such as FEDEX.  You need written confirmation showing the dispute was received.  The bureaus have 30 days to respond to your dispute.
  • Keep a file with all dispute correspondence sent and received from the credit bureaus.

Get Legal Help

Flitter Milz is a consumer protection law firm that represents people with  credit reporting problems.  When there is an error on a credit report that the bureaus do not correct, there may be a violation of the consumer’s rights. Contact us for a free evaluation.