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How to protect your child’s credit – FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports #instant #approval #loans

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By Andrew Housser

Identity theft is terrible when it happens to anyone. The consequences range from hassle to financial disaster. But what if someone stole your identity, and you had no idea, perhaps for years while the thief opened credit cards or secured vehicle loans, filed taxes and pocketed the refunds, or even took government benefits?

It is possible, particularly with children the group most at risk for this type of unrecognized theft. A 2011 study found that more than 10 percent of victims of identity theft were children. This makes children 51 times more likely to be victimized than adults. The tips below can help you protect the children in your life.

1. Know the warning signs.

Possible identity theft has warning signs. The most obvious is if a child begins to receive credit card or loan offers in the mail, or collection calls. Sometimes, a child receives a notice from the Internal Revenue Service about unpaid taxes. Others may be denied government benefits such as Medicaid because the Social Security number has been used. Sometimes, the theft goes undetected until a child applies for a driveR s license or bank account. A fraud victim may be denied because his or her Social Security number has been used with another name.

2. Check the child s credit reports.

Adults and minors older than age 14 can request free credit reports once per year from or by calling 877-322-8228. Check your child s credit reports using his or her Social Security number. If no reports exist, the child s credit has never been used. This is an indicator that all is likely well.

3. Understand when a child might have a credit report.

Some minors legitimately have a credit report. In many cases, this is because parents have added a teen as an authorized user on a credit card account. Other minors may be joint account holders or have a small bill, such as a cell phone, in their names. In these cases, having credit reports is valid. Still, parents or guardians and teens should review the reports together to make sure they do not contain inaccurate information or errors. If you do spot an error, report it to the credit bureau in writing and request a correction.

4. Keep Social Security numbers secret.

Do not share your child s Social Security number, even with family members. If you receive information that any relevant data such as tax return, school or health insurance information has been exposed in a security breach, take necessary precautions with your child s information as well as your own. If you are asked for a Social Security number for identification purposes, ask if you can use only the last four digits, or see if you can identify the child in some other way.

5. Be especially careful regarding foster children.

Foster children are especially at risk of identity theft. This is because their information passes through many hands. Sadly, these children face even greater challenges if their identities are stolen. Fortunately, in 2011 Congress passed legislation requiring child welfare agencies to help foster kids check and repair their credit when they turn 16.

6. Handle fraud or identity theft quickly.

If you believe your child is a victim of identity theft, respond quickly. Contact each of the credit bureaus to report the fraud. Tell at least one of the credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on the account (one company will contact the others). You also should file a fraud report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) online or by calling 877-438-4338.

7. If a child already is a victim, consider a credit or security freeze.

A credit freeze shuts access to an existing credit file, making it impossible for anyone to open a credit card or loan using a Social Security number. If a child is a fraud victim, parents may opt to do this. You need to arrange the freeze individually with each credit bureau. See more details from the Identity Theft Network .

In addition, it s possible in some states for parents to proactively do a credit freeze for any child. If the child has no credit file, in these states, the credit bureau would create a file in order to place a freeze on it. Currently, legislatures have made these credit freezes available to parents or guardians in about 20 states. Be aware, however, that there is a downside to this option. Should someone try to apply for a loan using a child s stolen (but unfrozen) information, the lender will be informed that there is no credit history, and the applicant is a minor. This could result in the fraud being reported, and perhaps the thief s capture. With a freeze on the account, the lender would never be informed of attempts to use the number.

Fortunately, most children will avoid identity theft. For those who are victimized, the best defense is catching the situation early. By reporting the fraud, you can help salvage the child s credit profile in time for grown-up responsibilities such as a job application, student loan or car loan.

Andrew Housser is a co-founder and CEO of a free one-stop online portal where consumers can educate themselves about personal finance issues and compare financial products and services. He also is co-CEO of Freedom Financial Network, LLC providing comprehensive consumer credit advocacy and debt relief services. Housser holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Stanford University and Bachelor of Arts degree from Dartmouth College.

How to Modify Your Mortgage for Free #fast #loans #for #bad #credit

#mortgage loan modification

How to Modify Your Mortgage for Free

I ve seen and covered so many mortgage modification scams that I wanted to show you how you can save yourself from being scammed, save thousands and modify your mortgage for free.

Before you launch into paying anyone thousands for mortgage modification assistance you should explore your free options first.

It s important to know there is no law that requires any lender to modify any mortgage, so a successful modification is going to be an exercise in putting the right documentation forward to your mortgage servicer, and patience. Lot s of patience.

You also need to be familiar with the MARS rule. It s not a rule about space. It actually stands for the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services rule.

The most significant consumer protection under the FTC’s MARS rule is the advance fee ban. Under this provision, mortgage relief companies may not collect any fees until they have provided consumers with a written offer from their lender or servicer that the consumer decides is acceptable, and a written document from the lender or servicer describing the key changes to the mortgage that would result if the consumer accepts the offer. The companies also must remind consumers of their right to reject the offer without any charge.

Let s start with the free online tools that are available to you.

Mortgage Help

Debt-to-Income Calculator

First you ll need to determine your current debt-to-income ratio. The target debt-to-income ratio under the Home Affordable Modification program is 31%. Use this free online DTI calculator .

Mortgage Modification Calculator

The mortgage modification eligibility calculator will ask you several questions and then show you which programs you may be eligible for.

Free Mortgage Modification Help and Counseling

If you have questions about the process or eligibility you can call 888-995-4673 and get connected with an mortgage modification adviser for free. This help is provided by government subsidized HUD Housing Counselors and they can be a big help in navigating the modification process.

In order to assist you, the housing expert will need to gather some information from you. Have the following documents handy:

  • Information about your first mortgage, such as your monthly mortgage statement.
  • Information about any second mortgage or home equity line of credit on the house.
  • Information about the monthly gross (before tax) income of all household members contributing to pay the mortgage, including recent pay stubs if you receive them or documentation of income you receive from other sources.
  • Information about your savings and other assets.
  • Account balances and minimum monthly payments due on all of your credit cards.
  • Account balances and monthly payments on all your other debts such as student loans and car loans.
  • Your most recent income tax return.
  • It may also be helpful to have: A letter describing any circumstances that caused your income to be reduced or expenses to be increased (job loss, divorce, illness, etc.), if applicable.

You can also get free help and housing counseling from a local HUD approved counselor. You can find your local free housing counselor, here .

Contact Your Mortgage Company

Not sure if your mortgage company offers modification programs? Not all do. You can contact your mortgage company to ask them about mortgage modification programs you might be eligible for. Click here to find your mortgage company .

NPV Calculator

Want to know the net present value (NPV) of your home for the mortgage modification process? No problem, use the free NPV calculator to find out. The NPV calculator is right here .

The calculator can be used by homeowners who have been denied a HAMP modification because of their NPV result or can also be used by homeowners prior to applying for a HAMP modification to help them better understand the NPV evaluation.

No Advance Fees

The Federal Trade Commission has a Mortgage Assistance Relief Services Rule which prohibits advance fees for mortgage rescue services or mortgage modification help.

FREE How to Get Out of Debt Guides

Below you will find many of free guides and articles that address specific issues about debt and getting out of debt. But before you head off to those posts I d like to invite you to read How Do I Get Out of Debt Quickly? Change Your Mindset. It is a very important post that addresses how to have the right mindset to best tackle your situation.