Credit, Credit Cards & Debt

Avoiding Debt-Relief Scams

If you’re looking for a way to manage your debt, the last thing you need is to get ripped off by a company that promises to help. According to the Federal Trade Commission, that’s what happened to people who paid hundreds of dollars each to Southeast Trust, LLC. The company contacted people through illegal robocalls and claimed it was a non-profit group that could get them credit card interest rates as low as zero percent. Continue Reading >

Minimum Payments Can Undo a Deal

For many of us, the holiday season and shopping go hand-in-hand; it can be tough not to pounce on those big deals when you see them. But if you use a credit card to pay, remember you’re borrowing money you’ll have to pay back. What’s more, if you’re counting on making only your card’s minimum payment, you could end up paying much more in interest than you’d save on the deal. Continue Reading >

Can’t Fully Pay? Put it on Layaway

Eyeballing that chic dress in the store window, but don’t have enough cash on hand to buy it? Maybe you need that new set of tools, but your checking account is hovering around its minimum? If the store you’re buying from offers a layaway plan, you might consider using it when you don’t have all the money you need to pay for something you’d like to buy. Continue Reading >

Veterans: Don't Get Schooled

You’ve served the nation and maybe you’re thinking about heading back to school to start the next chapter of your career. Colleges are there to help you, right? Hmm, not so fast. Not every school has got your back. Some for-profit schools may care more about boosting their bottom line with your VA education benefits. Some may even stretch the truth to persuade you to enroll, either by pressuring you to sign up for courses that don’t suit your needs or to take out loans that will be a challenge to pay off. In 2010, the Inspector General of the U.S. Continue Reading >

Haunted by Phantom Debt?

Phantom debts – sounds a little like a ghostly Halloween prank. Unfortunately, it’s no joke. Some fake debt collectors may try deception and threats to pressure you to pay debts that you don’t owe. The FTC recently settled a case with debt collectors, Pinnacle Payment Services, Lisa Jeter, her partners and related companies about just these kinds of practices.

Imagine getting a phone message like this: Continue Reading >

A Text Twist on Debt Collection

Yet another text message. Who’s this one from? Seriously? A debt collector?

Getting texts from debt collectors might be annoying, but it’s not illegal. What is illegal is an incomplete disclosure and a harassing or deceptive attempt to collect money. For example, it’s against the law for debt collectors to pretend to be attorneys or falsely threaten to sue you, regardless of how they communicate — through texts, through letters, or through phone calls.  Continue Reading >

Facing Debt Collection? Know Your Rights

Dealing with financial trouble is stressful enough. But when a debt collector is hounding you using unscrupulous methods, it can make matters even worse.

The fact is, you have some rights when it comes to dealing with debt collection agencies. They’re spelled out in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA), which  protects consumers from abusive, harassing or unfair debt collection practices, and is enforced by the FTC. Here’s the abbreviated version of the key provisions: Continue Reading >

Your First Line of Defense

We’re all consumers and information is the first line of defense in the marketplace. Everyone can benefit from amping up their consumer know-how and getting the inside skinny on avoiding scams. That’s true for servicemembers, veterans, and their families, too. And that’s the spirit behind Military Consumer Protection Day, July 17. The FTC, the Department of Defense, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and Military Saves have teamed up for this first ever MCPD to kick off a year-round campaign to empower the military and veteran communities. Continue Reading >

World’s Largest Debt Collector Pays the Price for Harassing Consumers

If you’re behind in paying your bills, or a creditor’s records mistakenly show that you are, a debt collector may contact you. You have the right to be treated fairly by debt collectors. They can't use abusive, deceptive or unfair practices to collect from you. That includes making harassing phone calls. But according to the Federal Trade Commission, that’s just what the world’s largest debt collection operation did. Continue Reading >

Going Mobile

If you want easy access to reliable consumer tips and advice while you’re on-the-go, check out the Federal Trade Commission’s (FTC) new mobile-friendly navigation for our library of consumer information. You’ll have ready access to more than 1,000 helpful articles, videos, and audio tipsContinue Reading >

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