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    • CDTV Launch! March 30, 2011
        Credit Dusters has just launched our interactive television show. The network is called CDTV and it will start out with a daily show about all things credit. You can go there now…tv.creditdusters.com.
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    • New VW and Other Purchases I Didn’t Make June 4, 2008
      It seems strange considering my profession.  I recently pulled a copy of my credit report through the credit watch service  I am a member of.  I needed to purchase a car so I wanted to see where my scores stood and shop for the best interest rate.  To my surprise I had purchased a brand new […]
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    • Loan Modification – The Best Chance for Success April 30, 2008
      This week we are discussing a painful, but important situation that a lot of American consumers are facing. It is so scary to think that you might lose your home, but we want you to know that there is hope. We want to be a resource to those folks because we have been there and […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter IV – The Final Verse April 25, 2008
      My family lives in a small, rural town in Southern Indiana. We are surrounded by a soy bean field with hundreds of sprawling acres across the street and a large lake that adjoins our property in the back. Sounds nice, right? Why am I so discontented?What is it that continues to drive me toward always […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter III – The Endless Road April 24, 2008
      I began writing about the subject as a result of my daughter and I going on a field trip to our county 4-H last week. All the modern day farmers talking about raising chickens, cows, rabbits, and living off the land made me yearn for a life like that. This is my journey…The truth is […]
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    • Beauty in Simplicity Chapter II – What’s in the Box? April 23, 2008
      In his book, Halftime, author and successful businessman Bob Buford comments on the purpose of money in the following manner: Mike Kiami is a strategic planning consultant. He is brilliant. He is intuitive. He is demanding. He slices through all the pretense and posturing, and hones in on the core. He does not believe in […]
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    • Beauty In Simplicity – Chapter 1 April 22, 2008
      “Stop this train, I want to get off!” – Vanilla Ice Yesterday I touched on the fact that I am soul searching for the simple life. My wife and I used to think the Amish had the answer. I now know, as I mentioned, that I do not have to buy a farm and work […]
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    • A Rabbit Meat Shortage, The American Consumer, and Something About The Simple Life April 21, 2008
      I went on a field trip with my 3rd grade daughter this past week to our county 4-H. I learned a lot about farm animals. It was quite amazing because I saw the farmer of today and even with all the modern technology, (like a $280K combine that has a stereo, GPS system, and two seats) it […]
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    • How To Not Blow Your Tax Refund April 2, 2008
      In my previous post I wrote about the importance of filing even when you owe. Today I am going to give some helpful tips on preparing for your refund. Whether you are getting $500.00 or $5000.00 it is human nature to spend your money two or three times before it even hits the bank. I would encourage […]
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    • How To Proactively Protect Your Identity March 26, 2008
      Freecreditdusters.com has a great article on ID Theft – Check it out
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Beauty In Simplicity – Chapter 1

“Stop this train, I want to get off!” – Vanilla Ice

Yesterday I touched on the fact that I am soul searching for the simple life. My wife and I used to think the Amish had the answer. I now know, as I mentioned, that I do not have to buy a farm and work the land in order to embrace a life of simplicity.

We all yearn in some way to get off the roller coaster. This life is going way too fast. The highs are way too high and the lows…well that’s for another post. It does help that Laura and I have our own company and we are able to set the pace, which we have, but it goes so much deeper than that. Anyone can set their own pace.

I am learning that there is a lot of work in achieving simplicity. You are going against the culture of working till late at night to get the car (Lexus SC430, anyone?), the big house (Is it on a golf course?), and all the latest trappings. I feel as if I have to daily reboot my hard drive so as not to get caught up in the emotions and desires of consumer America.

We have had friends “upgrade” to that life and we have watched them become isolated from what really matters. I am not anti-wealth. The question is and will always be in my mind, “What price am I willing to pay for it?”

Is it ever enough?

John D. Rockefeller was asked by a reporter when he was at the pinnacle of wealth and late in his years, “How much is enough?” and John D. in startling honesty said simply, “Just a little more.”

What else needs to be said?

Dinkytown.com – the coolest little website this side of texas!

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There is nothing dinky about dinkytown.com. This is the mecca of online calculators. Do you want to know how long it will take you to pay off your mortgage? At what age you will be a millionaire? What about how much you will owe in taxes this year? If you can think it then you can dinkytown it!

Hope you enjoy!

Good things come to those who are proactive!

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Today we received a phone call from one of our clients. Carla and her husband called to thank us for sending them to the credit watch service. They had signed up a few months ago, but had never checked her credit since then.She was surprised when she received an email from Trans Union alerting her that several new trade lines had been added to her credit report. Carla knew that she had not applied for anything. She logged onto to her True Credit services and saw that 3 new collections had been added from the same company.

The ironic part is that these were her husband’s medical bills and they had been added to her account. She had just spoken with the collection agency and set up payment arrangement to avoid it reporting on her account.  They had assured her that the collections accounts would not be reported to the credit bureau.

“Because I was signed up with the service it alerted me immediately that something was wrong on my credit. This allowed me to be an educated consumer and hold the collection agency accountable. If I had not had the service with True Credit I would have not known about these until I applied for a loan. By then it would have been too late.”

We are working with Carla to get those items removed permanently from her report. Carla did a great job and we were happy to hear from her. 

FCRA Series: Trans Union Vs. FTC

This is going to be a complicated post – I am finding out some shocking revelations about our friends in the credit industry. I am like a kid in the candy store. In any case, I wanted to kick off our fun with something that will give you a little flavor of what I am discovering. The credit industry just like any American business is about making money. The conumser however is the one that sometimes suffers. I speak with people everyday in my business that are having a hard time paying their mortgage/rent every month. So it is important to me that you understand why we are tackling this subject.

In 1992 the FTC (Federal Trade Commission) filed an administrative complaint alleging that Trans Union violated Sections 604 and 607(a) of the FCRA by “compil[ing], for sale to clients, lists of consumers, based in whole or in part on information contained in its consumer reporting database . . . . In English this means that the Federal Government felt that Trans Union was violating the law. The Government was not upset that Trans Union was selling our information to third parties (i.e. Credit Card companies). Typical buyers of this information are firms considering extending some kind of credit to the consumers about whom they inquire; they use Trans Union’s information to evaluate whether the consumers are good credit risks. This was all well within the law.

What the Government did see as a clear and alarming issue was the type of information that Trans Union was selling. 

In 1987 Trans Union diversified, launching a “target marketing” division. That division-first TransMark, now Trans Union Lists-uses data from Trans Union’s consumer reporting database, CRONUS, to create mailing lists. The lists are sold to companies wishing to send sweepstakes entries, catalogs, circulars, and other solicitations to classes of customers that they believe will be particularly responsive to their pitches.

So here was the crux of the problem. The “target marketing” gave the buyers of the list a decided advantage since they could specify what type of information they wanted. It was very powerful and profitable for the marketers and for Trans Union.

As part of its argument in the case, Trans Union contended that neither the FCRA nor the FTC Order demonstrated a substantial government interest in protecting consumers’ privacy and, therefore, violated Trans Union’s right to free speech under the First Amendment. “Contrary to the company’s assertions, we have no doubt that this interest – protecting the privacy of consumer credit information- is substantial,” the Court wrote.

Wow! Trans Union basically said that the Fair Credit Reporting Act did not, “demonstrated a substantial government interest in protecting consumers’ privacy”. What more do you say…there is so much more. See you tomorrow.

Be sure and RSS our feed so that you can be updated each time we post.

Here is the RSS: http://feeds.feedburner.com/wordpress/xqWu 

Thanks Matt Sullivan, CEO of Credit Dusters.  “We are a valuable resource for credit education and financial education!”

http://www.creditdusters.com/

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If you have not checked your credit in awhile then you need to. You will receive all three credit bureaus with all three credit scores for the unbelievable price of $14.95. Check it out

The TRUTH about FCRA – a journey to understanding your rights!

Would you like to really know what the FCRA (Fair Credit Reporting Act) really says?  We will tackle Such Questions As:

How long does a derogatory item stay on the credit?

What are your rights as a consumer?

Can I really sue a collection agency or the credit agencies?

What are my rights if I have been a victim of identity theft?

How can collection agencies pull my credit? – (This has just recently changed a little due to a law suit – You are going to want to stay tune for this one!)

This is good stuff! I am not talking about what you have read in bits and pieces from the news or other sources, but the TRUTH.

I am not sure what you know about the FCRA, but I can tell you what you think you know is probably wrong. So we are going to take awhile and review the document that supposedly protects us as consumers. I will also interject comments and landmark cases that either helped to define the FCRA or changed it. As you may know, our judicial branch has so much power now that they mold and shape the law.

We are about to embark on a fascinating journey – will you join me? It starts tomorrow.

You will probably want to join our feed so you will be updated when there are changes: http://feeds.feedburner.com/wordpress/xqWu

Zombie Debt: Coming now to a Credit Report near you!

Zombie   Did you ever see Night of the Living Dead when you were a kid? I am not talking about the new one – I am talking about the original. The 1968 George A. Romero’s cult classic. It is black and white with ketchup laden cannibals. It has no plot and it lacks rhyme or reason , yet it terrifies me to this day.

Speaking of cannibals and having no rhyme or reason – we are going to discuss collection agencies (The carcass feeders) and their business practices (the lack of reason).  Look, I understand that if I do not pay a bill then it should go to collections, but at what point am I still tracked down for the demons of my past.

However, collecting on old debts is a rapidly expanding industry. This year a whopping $110 billion of such debt is expected to be sold to collection agencies, up from virtually nothing 10 years ago. Aggressive companies can buy charged-off credit card accounts from the original lenders for pennies on the dollar or less. Then, they use credit-scoring and other new technologies to identify which debtors are most likely to pay.

The players in this “junk debt” market range from fly-by-night outfits to well-established companies funded by Wall Street investors.  Many credit card companies have started selling delinquent accounts to collectors to boost quarterly earnings, according to a report by Kaulkin Ginsberg, a Rockville, Md.-based adviser on debt collection.

On face value, companies can make a profit if they can get debtors to repay even a tiny fraction. Along the way, some collectors realized they also could squeeze money from people who didn’t even owe it. Some consumers pay because their finances are so disorganized they don’t realize the debt isn’t theirs. Others are coerced into paying by illegal threats of lawsuits or ruined credit.

The consumer does have some protection: Six years after a debt goes into default, the collector no longer can sue to collect. And after seven years, the debt can’t be shown on a consumer’s credit report.

COLLECTION IS LEGAL

However, efforts to collect old debt are legal, as long as the collector doesn’t threaten to sue or report the debt to a credit agency.  

KEEP YOUR FRIENDS CLOSE AND YOUR ENEMIES EVEN CLOSER

The best thing you can do is to keep an eye on your credit by joining a credit watch service.  We recommend using True Credit they are a great service that provides a complete credit report with all three bureaus and scores for $14.95.

What To Do When Your Income Drops – Part II

One of the beautiful caveats to being broke is that it makes you creative. The painful jolt of your dire situation makes you feel so alive. You are aware that something has to change. You can’t pretend a money fairy is going to come and sprinkle gold dust on you. If things are going to be different then YOU are the only one that can do something about your situation. Its all you!

I worked a full time job and delivered pizza six nights a week for six months. Was it hell? Absolutely! But it kept me from losing my house which was already in Foreclosure.

We as American consumers are so lazy. I coach people that are going through hard times everyday and the moment I mention a second job the excuses begin before I finish.  

“I can’t work a second job we only have one car!”

“It would not be worth it for me to do something like that. I can’t be away from my kids.”

“I have an allergic reaction to work.”

Obviously there is no cure for laziness. The good news is that if you are even a little motivated there are literally millions of opportunities to make money quickly. (No, I am not talking about your brother-in-law who sells health supplements!) 

Pizza Delivery – As I mentioned before this was a great way to make good, cash money. You literally get paid each night you work. It was great for Laura and me because we were able to buy groceries. Plus we ate free pizza.

EBay – There are online resources on how to make money selling on EBay. You can also use the library us a source of information. To get started all you need is a computer, high speed access, a camera (preferably digital), and a lot of “junk” around the house. My wife sold thousands of dollars in kid’s clothes while we were going through our crises.

Soon – More Income Generating Ideas!