Five Tips to Avoid Identity Theft

Identity theft victims reported losing more than $15 billion in 2014. That’s more than the combined losses from burglary, motor vehicle theft and other property theft in the same period. While it’s no surprise that identity theft can leave you feeling vulnerable, there are things you can do to take some control.

Step 1: Order your credit report when you realize you’ve become a victim. You need to quickly find out about any errors showing up on your report. Go to annualcreditreport.com for free copies of your report from all three nationwide credit-reporting companies-Experian, Equifax and Transunion.

If you see any errors or fraudulent charges, report them to the credit reporting companies right away. They will investigate those items and then forward the information to the business that reported it. The business has 30 days to respond.

If the business providing the loan finds an error, it must notify the credit reporting company so your file can be corrected. If your credit changes because of the business’ investigation, the reporting company will send you a letter with the results.

Step 2: Place a fraud alert to make it harder for an identity thief to open more accounts in your name. Call any one of the three nationwide credit reporting companies and ask them to put an initial fraud alert on your credit report. They must contact the other two companies about your alert.

Equifax

1-800-525-6285

Experian

1-800-397-3742

TransUnion

1-800-680-7289

While there’s an alert on your report, anytime a business performs a credit inquiry they will need to verify your identity before issuing credit in your name. This may require contacting you, so be sure you’ve updated your credit report with your current contact information. The alert will stay on your report for 90 days and allows you to order an additional free copy of your report from each of the three credit reporting companies.

Step 3: Consider a credit freeze. A Credit Freeze, also known as a Security Freeze, gives you maximum control over who has access to your credit. It can stop a thief from opening new accounts in your name because lenders and other creditors won’t be able to get your credit report.

With a Credit Freeze in place, even you will have to take special steps to apply for credit. You can still open new accounts, apply for a job, rent an apartment, buy insurance, refinance your mortgage, or do anything else that requires your credit report. But businesses will need to verify your identity so they may need to contact you and you will have to call the reporting company to lift the freeze in order for the business to review your report. Again, be sure they have your most current information through your credit report.

A few things to know: Due to stringent laws, you’ll have to contact each reporting company separately to place a Credit Freeze. Also, placing a credit freeze does not affect your credit score. Finally, the cost depends on where you live. If you are 65 or older, or a victim of identity theft and submit a valid investigative or incident report, complaint with a law enforcement agency or the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), the fee will be waived.

Step 4: File an Identity Theft Report. An Identity Theft Report is a great weapon. You can use it to get fraudulent information removed from your credit report; stop a company from collecting debts that result from identity theft-or from selling the debt to another company for collection. You can also use it to place an extended fraud alert on your credit report, and to get information about accounts the identity thief opened or misused.

Filing an Identity Theft Report is simple: Submit a complaint about the theft to the FTC. When you finish writing all the details, print a copy of the report. It will print as an Identity Affidavit.

File a police report about your identity theft, and get a copy of the police report or the report number. (Make sure to bring your FTC Identity Theft Affidavit and attach it to your police report).

Some credit reporting companies may ask for more information or documentation than the Identity Theft Report includes. It depends on the policies of the credit reporting company and the business that sent the information about you to the reporting company.

Step 5: Report fraud on existing accounts. For any of your accounts that show fraudulent charges, contact the business right away. Explain that you’re an identity theft victim. Close the account and follow their reporting process. You can ask if they’ll accept your Identity Theft Report. Additionally, write to the fraud department of each business. By law, they have to review your letter, investigate your complaint, and tell you the results of their investigation. If the information is wrong, the business must tell the credit reporting company. Make sure to ask for a letter from the business confirming that it removed the fraudulent information.

On any credit card or bank account that remains open, take steps to protect yourself. Change your password and place code words on accounts that allow them. Code words are offered on some accounts as an added level of security. You can typically choose your code word. You might consider using something only you would know and is not public knowledge. Finally, continually monitor your accounts, keeping an eye out for any suspicious activity.

 

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How to Get Divorce Legal Advice

download (1)If you are one of the millions of Americans going through a divorce, you know that it can be a tricky process. There is more to a divorce than just deciding that the marriage isn’t working. With these helpful legal tips, your separation process can be made easier. In this article, we will discuss how to get divorce legal advice. Let’s begin.

First off, there are certain requirements you and your spouse must meet before you file for divorce; these can be found in your state’s divorce laws. These laws include information on issues such as children custody, spousal support, and grounds for filing for divorce. They vary from state to state, so make sure you have all the information you need.

Divorces can be very expensive, but do not have to be. If you divorce is uncontested, it will be less costly than a contested one. Costs include not only attorney fees, but the cost of filing the divorce in court and any other miscellaneous expenses. In order to begin the divorce process, you must file a petition for divorce at your local court clerk. You may do this either with a divorce attorney or without one. If there are any complicated issues relating to your divorce, and you can afford an attorney, one is certainly recommended. You can find reputable legal help in regards to divorces through the yellow pages.

Make sure you choose an attorney that is not only in your price range, as attorney fees accumulate quickly, but one that you can trust. Professional legal advice is vital in complicated divorce cases. If there are children involved, an attorney can help negotiate custody issues. Also, an attorney is helpful during divorce settlement negotiations because dividing marital assets can get heated and complicated.

A good divorce attorney will be able to guide you through these, and other, difficult aspects of filing for divorce, and can also answer any questions you have regarding the divorce process.

Are you and your partner considering a divorce? Do you desperately want to dissolve your marriage without unnecessary stress or conflict? Consider divorce mediation and avoid the adversarial divorce process.

 

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How to Find a Right Divorce Attorney Easily

A divorce attorney is a family law attorney. That means they practice representing cases that concern families, and personal relationships that pertain to families. When a relationship that you are involved in dissolves you need a family law attorney to make sure that the decisions you make regarding the division of property and assets is in your best interest.

Finding a divorce attorney to represent you in the dissolution of a marriage is not as easy as picking up a phone book and calling the first lawyer that you find listed there. To find a qualified lawyer you are going to have to do a little research, and a little interviewing.

Steps to follow while hunting a lawyer to handle your divorce

1. Write down all of the pertinent information the lawyer will need to know about you, your spouse, and your impending divorce. Be sure to include a list of all assets the two of you own. List any grievances you have against your spouse like infidelity issues, or spousal abuse problems.

2. Make a list of lawyers that you have heard of from friends, relatives, and other advertising sources. Make appointments with at least three of those law firms to discuss your situation. These consultations are usually free of charges.

3. Make a list of things you would like your lawyer to have. Include a compatible personality, time to work on your case, close proximity, affordable fees or easy payment plans. When you go to the consultation visits rate the lawyers according to the things you have on this list. When you have visited all of the firms look over this list and see which lawyers met the most of the things you wanted.

4. Consider the amount of experience the lawyer has in the kind of cases that you have. You want to hire a lawyer who is knowledgeable in the laws that pertain to the type of circumstances you are facing.

5. Call the Better Business Bureau and the local Chamber of Commerce to see if the firm has any complaints against them, and if they have had complaints how they resolved the issue.

6. Ask the attorney how full their case load is. You want a popular attorney, but you do not want to retain someone that has a case load that is so heavy they will not have time to pay close attention to your interests.

7. Make sure that you feel comfortable with the lawyer. You have to work closely with this person and you need to be able to get along with them, trust them, and they need to have offices close enough that you can go to see them when needed.

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How to Prevent Identity Theft

Identity theft can wreak havoc on your credit and your life. Because of this I get a lot of questions asking how to prevent identity theft. The first thing to understand is that there is no sure fire way to absolutely protect yourself from identity theft. No matter what you do there will always be some amount of risk that you could become a victim. There are, however, some ways that you can drastically reduce your risk. The important thing to remember is that ID theft is all about access to your information. The more access thieves have to your information the easier it’s going to be for them to steal your identity. Here are a few ways you can keep your information secure:

1. Don’t carry your social security card in your wallet. So many of my clients have had their identity stolen because they keep their social security card in their wallet and their wallet is lost or stolen. You probably have to keep your driver’s license in your wallet but there is almost no reason to carry your social security card so keep it locked up at home.

2. Don’t keep your wallet in your car when it’s parked. Again, many of my clients have their cars stolen with their wallet inside and as soon as that happens the thieves have your address (from your driver’s license) and all of your credit cards. You can easily prevent this by taking your wallet with you even if your car is parked in your driveway!

3. Keep your documents locked in a safe and shred anything you don’t need. Many people think if something doesn’t have your social security number on it that its harmless to throw always. That’s not true! Identity thieves take little bits of information from anywhere to try and open accounts and rack up debt in your name. While shredding all those credit card offers can be a pain it does a lot to keep your information secure.

4. Shred your receipts. The receipts you get from making simple purchases can contain a ton of sensitive information including your name and a portion of your credit card number. Throwing receipts away in a public trashcan gives just about anyone access to your information. Hang on to your receipts and shred them when you get home.

5. Don’t give out your banking information over the phone. I get so many calls from clients saying they got a phone call from someone asking for their credit card or bank account number. If you called the person and you trust whoever is on the other end of the phone you might be able to get away with making a payment over the phone (though I don’t recommend it). However, if they’re calling you then there is a decent chance that it’s a scam. If this happens hang up and make a payment online or by mail.

Thieves are always coming up with new ways to get their hands on your information so they can steal your identity so this is by no means an exhaustive list of precautions but hopefully taking these steps can help prevent you from becoming an identity theft victim.

 

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Tips for Traffic Stop Etiquette

downloadNo, this article is not going to be about which fork to use when you go to your mother-in-law’s house for a holiday meal. I am certainly no Miss Manners so I may not be able to offer you the best advice about table manners. As a traffic ticket attorney, however, I can tell you that I have known some clients who behave inappropriately when they get pulled over and this behavior usually costs them heavily in court. First of all, if you behave badly, the cop is less likely to let you off with just a warning and much more likely to look for other violations to add to the traffic ticket he is most assuredly going to write you. Secondly, the more obnoxious or absurd your behavior is, the more likely you and that particular traffic stop are going to become imbedded in the cop’s mind for him to recall when you appear in court. Consequently, other than remaining calm and polite there are a couple of things that you can do that may minimize the impact of the traffic stop.

When you initially realize that yes, it is YOU that the officer has targeted, check to see what speed you are traveling and then slow down to the posted speed limit. (This may be helpful information for your traffic ticket attorney if you hire one to defend your ticket in court.) Another important suggestion is to make sure that you do not try to ignore him. He is not going to go away just because you act like he is not there and it may only serve to annoy him. Casually glance over and nod in his direction or give some other indicator that you know he is there and that you intend to comply with his desire to pull you over. Use your turn signal to confirm for him that you intend to pull over. This will not only set him at ease, but it will give you the time necessary to find an area where you can pull over safely. There have been many times that I have seen drivers who are being pulled over and they often react with panic. They slam on their brakes, try to cut across lanes of traffic, and pull off on narrow shoulders in order to be compliant, not thinking about the risks that these behaviors pose to themselves, other drivers, and the police officer who is pulling them over. The number of innocent drivers and police officers who are hurt or killed every year due to this kind of reaction is startling.

Once you pull over safely, there are other things that you need to keep in mind to make sure that the traffic stop goes as smoothly as possible. Park the car well off the road, turn off the engine, and keep both of your hands on the steering wheel. We all know that the police officer is going to ask for your license and registration, but now is not the time to retrieve it. You are aware that you are just reaching into the glove compartment for these documents, but as far as the cop knows, you are a wanted felon and may be reaching for a weapon to injure him with or drugs to dispose of. Being a cop can be a hazardous job, so you don’t want to give him any more reasons to be on edge.

When you are stopped and have helped to make the officer feel more at ease, then there is the matter of how to address the police officer. You should greet him politely, but keep any other conversation to a minimum. Generally, the first thing he is going to ask you is if you know why he has pulled you over. Although you may have been driving at 90 mph or recklessly cutting off other drivers, you should always answer him with a polite, “No, sir.” It may seem rational to start apologizing or try to give an explanation for your poor driving practices, but doing so will only prove your guilt. Such a response will make it virtually impossible to successfully defend your traffic ticket. It may be difficult to hold your tongue if the police officer is in the mood to read you the riot act about how your actions endangered others, but by not doing you may just incite the officer further. Once he has completed his invective and then gives you a traffic ticket, be very careful in how you depart the scene. Make sure to thank the officer, put you seatbelt back on if you have removed it, use your turn signal to let the other drivers know of your intent to re-enter traffic, and then pull out slowly and cautiously. Squealing tires or kicking up dust as you pull away is quite likely to result in him pulling you over again.

Whether we like it or not, police officers are empowered with the right to issue speeding tickets, or any other type of traffic citation, if they feel that we have committed one or more traffic infractions. Drivers do need to remember, however, that cops also hold the power of discretion which means they can choose to let you off with a warning. The more cooperative and polite you are during a traffic stop, the greater your chances of getting just a simple warning. This is especially true if the violation for which you are stopped is slight such as just going a few miles over the speed limit. If this is the case, then this advice is especially important in helping the traffic stop to go in your favor.

 

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How to Make a Debt Settlement Deal With Your Creditors – Legal Tips For Debt Relief

This is best time for any loan taker to sign a good flexible deal with his creditors. Can every loan taker get his dues reduced and become tension free? Well, unfortunately, this is not the case. There are certain conditions which every loan taker needs to fulfill. For instance, one of the conditions relates to the minimum liability figure. According to financial rules, this figure is ten thousand dollars. How to make a debt settlement deal with your creditors? If you are negotiating on your own, you will have to out in a lot of hard work. Most loan takers do not choose this option. They hire a professional team which can work on the case in a professional manner. If you want to learn how to make a debt settlement deal with your creditors, ample information is available on the internet.

How to make a debt settlement deal with your creditors if you want more time to pay?

Most loan takers need more time to pay all their bills. You should remember one thing. Loan giving companies want to recover their money in the shortest possible time period. They do not offer very attractive deals to the customers who make them wait. Thus, if you cannot pay your liabilities in a short duration, you should not expect a very high reduction percentage. The best deal is offered to immediate payment makers. If you can clear your account without taking any time, the credit card firm will even reduce your dues by eighty percent. However, you should not expect this kind of flexibility if you want six months or one year to become debt free.

Get a good consultant who tells you how to make a debt settlement deal with your creditors

A customer can never represent himself in the same way as a professional consultant. Here are some of the steps which an expert takes.

· Maintaining a proper set of papers including financial papers, account statements and other documents.

· You cannot just talk about anything in the negotiation process. The arguments and dialogues which need to be presented have to be tested. A normal loan taker will never perform this practice. However, a consultant always performs this activity so that an error is not committed. If a blunder occurs in the negotiation process, you will never get another chance for liability settlement. Even when you are hiring a professional company, you should have sufficient information about how to make a debt settlement deal with your creditors.

Getting out of debt through a debt settlement process is currently very popular but you need to know where to locate the best performing programs in order to get the best deals. To compare debt settlement companies it would be wise to visit a free debt relief network which will locate the best performing companies in your area for free.

 

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Legal Tips to Eliminate Credit Card Debt

Being a debtor you will understand how much trouble you should go through in order to eliminate the debt. The creditors will never leave you alone until you settle the debt. Credit cards are some what traps that make you spend more but making you unable to pay it off. But nowadays as the debt negotiation is possible you can eliminate the debt easily without much trouble.

Here are some useful tips for you to eliminate the debt. There are several methods which you can apply to eliminate debts. One is bankruptcy. Though it is not very advisable to follow this method, you can apply it if you do not have any other choice to. This comes in to action through a court declaration. Once you file bankruptcy, the court will declare that you are bankrupted thus unable to pay off the debt. Then the creditors will make necessary arrangements to eliminate your debt. But note that your all the asserts are in danger when you are declared bankrupted.

Then you have debt settlement. This is a method which you can eliminate your debt without much trouble. There are debt settlement companies to provide this service to you. These companies have the capability of reducing your debt by discussing with the creditors. But in this case you should make sure that you select a genuine and legitimate company for your service. I must say this because there are many fake companies among these so called debt settlement companies. It is up to you to differentiate the good from bad.

There is another option for you. If your debt is over $10,000. You can apply for stimulus money which is provided by the government. If you are lucky, you will be liable to settle the debt with the stimulus money.

With any of these debt relief methods, you have to be careful in handling money. When you are paying your installment, always concentrate on it and cut off all the unnecessary expenses. Calculate your income and how much you are going to spend on debt.

 

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Legal Tips to Reduce Credit Card Debt

Nowadays, people in United States extensively use credit cards which make immediate debt reduction impossible. As the usage increases each and every day, the dependence of the people on these credit cards becomes higher and people are not able to achieve a significant debt reduction.

Because of their dependability on the credit cards, it is becoming difficult for the people to repay their liabilities. Each and every consumer will be looking for ways for debt reduction. By opting reduction, the clients will not have to make the full payment and the liabilities will be reduced to a great extend. In the present financial scenario, more and more people are losing their jobs and firms suffer from bad monetary situations. But even in this financial scenario, credit card debt reduction will be beneficial not only for the creditors, but also for the debtors.

The debt reduction benefits not only the debtors, but also the lenders. As the creditor is concerned, he will not have to pay the full amount as he gets a lessening in the money. As the creditor is concerned, even the fall in the actual amount is good as he gets back something from the consumer which is better than nothing. In this time of recession, the creditor will also understand the gravity of the economic situation and he too will opt for giving cutback to the debtors to avoid being bankrupt.

If a particular person requires a debt reduction, you can make an evaluation of the liabilities. They should take a note of the entire amount of liability and collect the financial documents to have a reviewing of the liabilities. They should also make note of the entire list of liabilities, the rate of interest and along with the amount which they owe to the creditor. Then, they can go through the budget and seek help from the professionals who help in getting legal help in achieving debt reduction.

If you are a person who has 10,000 dollars as unsecured liability, it is advisable to consider a liability settlement. Because of the intensity of recession and the increase in the number of people who have monetary commitments, the creditors are left with very few choices. So, they agree to these liability settlement procedures in most of the cases. One can seek the help of liability relief networks in debt reduction.

If you are over $10,000 in unsecured debt it would be wise to contact a debt settlement company while conditions are so favorable. A legitimate debt settlement company will be able to eliminate 60% of your unsecured debt on average. There are now online services that will compare debt settlement companies for consumers and provide a top performing company in their area. To locate a top performing debt settlement company in your area check out the link below.

 

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Smart Tips For Choosing a Bankruptcy Lawyer

If you are at the point in your life where you may have to go through a bankruptcy, having an excellent bankruptcy lawyer to help you through the process is an excellent idea. However, figuring out which attorney to go to for your bankruptcy needs can be a difficult decision. If you are not quite sure where to begin your search, here are a few excellent tips that can help.

Tip #1 – Ask for Recommendations from Friends and Family

One of the best ways to find a quality bankruptcy lawyer is to ask for recommendations from friends and family members. If they have gone through a bankruptcy, then consider asking them if they could recommend someone to you. This way you have a good idea of how the attorney will perform based on their experience.

Tip #2 – Talk to Your Current Lawyer or Contact the State Bar

If you already have a lawyer for other purposes, you may want to ask if they can recommend a good attorney that deals with bankruptcies. Also, you may even want to contact the state bar in your state. They can give you some good names in your area to pursue and you can be sure that the recommendations they give you are for top quality attorneys.

Tip #3 Check to See if a Free Consultation is Offered

Before you make your decision on a bankruptcy lawyer, check to see if a free consultation is offered by the attorney. Most good attorneys are going to provide a free consultation to you to see if they can help you with the case. If they don’t, consider looking for a different lawyer.

Tip #4 Ensure you Feel Comfortable with the Lawyer

That first meeting is important. You’ll want to ensure that you feel very comfortable with the lawyer. If you are at all uncomfortable with them, then keep looking. You don’t want to have to deal with an attorney as you go through such a difficult time in your life that makes you feel uncomfortable.

Tip #5 Talk to Other Professionals

If you are new to an area, it can be that much harder to find the bankruptcy attorney you need. However, more than likely you go to a specific bank or perhaps you have found an accountant in the area. Ask other professionals about good bankruptcy lawyers to consider. Usually a banker or accountant, or even other professionals, will be able to point you in the right direction.

Tip #6 Ask Them About Their Experience

Last of all, when choosing a bankruptcy lawyer, asking them about their experience is an excellent tip. Find out how much of their practice is based around dealing with bankruptcies. You want to make sure that they have plenty of experience. If they only deal with a bankruptcy from time to time, then you may want to choose a lawyer that has more experience in this field of practice.

 

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Legal Tips About Writing Terms and Conditions For Websites

Writing terms and conditions for websites can be a tedious task unless you are well aware of legal terminology and working. Terms and conditions are also known as the terms of contract between you and your customer that keeps both of you bound to some agreement. These agreements are very important to protect your rights, limit your liabilities and they also provide security to both the buyer and the seller.

Writing terms and conditions for websites is an easy task if you know which points to correctly incorporate in your writing. However, if they are inadequate, they might seriously hamper your business, so it is advisable you hire the best solicitors and advocates who are capable of drafting appropriate content for your website.

Most websites have some generic topics such as privacy statement, copyright instruction, contracts, complaints section and contact. Writing these conditions can be a daunting task as the merchant seller only has these statements to rely on, while the consumer has several levels of protection such as, consumer credit act, data protection act, consumer act and other regulations.

Most people think that policy and privacy statements should be boring and filled with legal jargon and that’s why they never intend to read them. However, while writing the privacy policy for a website, you must always concentrate on writing compactly in a pleasant and open manner that engages the client or customer to read out the statement. Write the statements in clear and organized manner so that it does not create any sort of confusion for you or your client. While writing the conditions, you must chalk out a detailed plan of your merchant policy. You can start by writing down the terms in which you want to treat your customers, the way you would want to deal with enquiries and complaints and the data protection rules that applies to you and the customers.

Data protection is a serious menace and you must clearly point out in your privacy policy about the customer data that you are handling, including contact details, credit card numbers, bank accounts and purchase history. You should reassure people, that their data is safe with you and that their information will not be passed on to other companies. In your terms and conditions page, you should also clarify about when and why you might contact customers as pursuing people without their consent is illegal in most countries and you must refrain from any such acts.

Finally, while supplying goods you must clearly mention that you would only be partially held responsible for the delivery time or conditions of goods and that you are following all laws and regulations of your country. International shipping and customs should also be followed and you must clearly point out the rights and liabilities of the consumer.

Writing terms and conditions for a website can be nightmare unless you get all the points covered. For numerous reasons above mentioned, it is always imperative that you hire the services of a trained advocate who has years of experience in writing flawless privacy policies. For best results you can contact Chenoy Ceil for more information about writing legal terms and conditions for websites.

 

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