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Wise Up About Credit Reports and Credit Scores

Posted on 2016-03-23 09:00:32

Portrait of Pretty Young Female Student with Pencil on Campus Lawn.Sometimes adjust are like teenagers who think they know everything. But it’s amazing how misinformation even adults believe when it comes to credit. Here are five important things even you might not know about credit reports and credit scores. 1. Credit matters in more ways than you might think. Whether you are applying for a mortgage, auto loan or credit card, renting an apartment or getting cable TV, your credit matters. Your credit report can determine not only whether or not you get credit, but on what terms if you do. If your credit is bad, you may be denied credit or have to put down a larger deposit. That can take a bit out of your pocketbook! Credit is also used in surprising ways, such as by employers who may review your credit report as part of the application process. 2. Credit scores are based on the information in your credit report. The three national credit bureaus—Equifax, Experian and TransUnion—store and organize the information reported to them by creditors and others. But your credit report does not include your credit score. Rather, your credit score is calculated based on the information in it at the time someone requests your credit score. It can change daily as the information in your credit report changes.

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3. There are no joint credit reports or credit scores. Credit reports are files maintained on individuals regardless of marital status. If you are married, you and your spouse will have individual credit reports. However, anything you co-sign for becomes part of your credit report. Joint accounts will be reported on both individual’s credit report. If you are an authorized user on someone’s account, the credit history will be reported on both accounts, though only the actual account holder has liability for the account. 4. There are no quick fixes. If you’ve made some poor financial decisions in the past (and many have!), it takes time for your credit score to recover. Negative items such as bankruptcies may stay on your credit report for seven or even ten years; however, the impact of negative items on your credit score should lessen over time. 5. No one is going to monitor your credit for you. You are the only one who knows if the information in your credit report is accurate. With information being added sometimes daily, it’s important to stay on top of your credit report. With MyFreeScoreNow’s credit monitoring service, your credit report is monitored daily, and you are alerted whenever there are significant changes that should be verified. Credit monitoring is a proactive approach to staying on top of your credit.
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7 Trade Secrets of an Identity Thief

Posted on 2016-03-16 09:00:44

When you’ve got a good thing going, you want to keep it under wraps. That’s the mindset of identity thieves. The longer their tactics are kept as trade secrets, the longer they can get away with the crime of identity theft. Statistics show they are doing a good job at it! Here are 7 tactics identity thieves don’t want you to know or think about, and tips for protecting your identity.Beautiful young brunette enjoying coffee. 1. Shoulder Surfing. Identity thieves often pose as distracted customers. Without you ever hearing a click, a thief can snap a picture of your credit, debit or personal identification card, gaining valuable information for creating a new identity. Be aware of your surroundings, especially when you are using a credit or debit card. 2. Beat the Clock. Identity thieves are always racing the clock, doing as much as they can before someone is on their trail. Don’t wait 30 days to check a bank or credit card statement. Keep tabs on your accounts and your credit report.

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3. Dumpster Diving. Identity thieves still go through trash looking for personal information that can make it easier to steal an identity. What are they looking for? Credit card statements, expired credit cards, pre-approved credit card applications—anything, really, with personal information. Shredding everything with personal information protects your identity. 4. Mail Theft. That red flag that gets put up to alert the mail carrier of outgoing mail also alerts identity thieves that there is mail sitting in a mailbox. Identity thieves also target mailboxes for new mail such as credit card and bank statements. Going paperless can keep statements out of reach. 5. Phishing. Identity thieves use phone calls, emails, social media networks and regular mail to trick unsuspecting individuals into giving up personal information. It is child’s play to duplicate a website, then send an official-looking email with a link to that website. Spend a few minutes doing your homework before giving your personal information to someone. 6. Skimming. Identity thieves learned long ago how to read information from the magnetic strip on a credit or debit card. Most cards with the new chip technology still have a magnetic strip for now. Keep tabs on your accounts and your credit report to put time on your side should you become a victim of skimming. 7. WiFi Interception. Most public WiFi connections are not secure. Savvy identity thieves know how to intercept information sent through an insecure connection. Don’t sacrifice security for convenience.
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5-Minute Guide to Your Credit Score

Posted on 2016-03-09 08:00:48

Charming blonde girl in sunglassesHow much do you know about credit scores? Do you know the main factors that can affect your credit score? Our 5-minute guide to your credit score will help you understand your credit score and put you on track for a better credit score. 1. Pay Bills On Time How you pay your bills has a huge impact on your credit score. Paying your bills on time every month is the quickest way to see your credit score go up. That doesn’t mean the bills have to be paid in full, but make sure the minimum payment due is paid on time. If your bills are coming at an inconvenient time of month, ask your creditor if the closing date can be changed. Many will do this for you.

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2. Pay Down Balances While you are only required to make a minimum payment each month, lowering your balances can help raise your credit score. Make it your goal not to exceed using 30% of your available credit. Consider using a budget so you can see where your money is going. 3. Don’t Apply for New Credit You Don’t Need Retailers are notorious for offering on-the-spot rewards if you will only sign up for their credit card. There are several reasons to say No. When you apply for credit, it is recorded as a hard inquiry on your credit report. The number of hard inquiries on your credit report can affect your credit score. Also, some people will tend to spend more when more credit is available. When you need to shop for a home, car or student loan, do your shopping within a short amount of time. Most credit score models will count multiple inquiries for these types of loans as a single inquiry if they are made within a 14-day period. 4. Spend Less Studies show that those with the highest credit scores tend to use very little credit. People tend to spend 12% to 18% more when paying with plastic instead of cash. For some consumers, that begins a downward spiral of getting in too deep to make on-time payments. 5. Keep Tabs on Your Credit Report The information on your credit report is used to calculate your credit score. The information provided to the credit bureaus by your creditors is outside of your control. Make sure your credit report is accurate. The sooner an error is discovered, the quicker it can be corrected.
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5-Minute Guide to Your Credit Report

Posted on 2016-03-02 08:00:09

Do you avoid looking at your credit report because you think it’s over your head? You could be making a serious mistake. Whether you like it or not, others are using the information in your credit report to make decisions that affect your life, and it’s not just creditors. Landlords, employers, utility companies and insurance companies are among the other businesses that use credit reports day in and day out. Get to know your credit report. The information is organized to make it easy to understand. Here is our 5-minute guide to the four main categories of information on your credit report.mfsn-laptop Personal Information This information is intended to identity you. It includes your full name, your Social Security number, current and previous addresses, your date of birth and sometimes your current and previous employers. Minor discrepancies in this section are not critical unless they could cause you to be mixed up with someone else.

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Credit History The heart of your credit report is your credit history. It includes a record of your past and current credit obligations. Your payment history will indicate if you have been late on a payment. Your current balance on each account is usually noted along with the age of each account. You don’t want mistakes in your credit history! Inquiries Inquiries are a record of who has looked at your credit report. Hard inquiries result when you initiate a credit application. Too many hard inquiries can have a negative impact on your credit score. Soft inquiries, on the other hand, have absolutely no impact on your credit score. Soft inquiries are only visible to you, and not to anyone else who may view your credit report. Viewing your own credit report is a soft inquiry. Credit checks by your existing creditors are soft inquiries. Public Records Public records include bankruptcies, court judgments and tax liens. Ideally this section of your credit report will be blank. But if it’s not, keep in mind that most negative information must be removed after seven years, though some bankruptcies may stay on your credit report for ten years. The impact of negative items on your credit report will usually lessen as they get older. Why Accuracy Matters The information on your credit report is used to calculate your credit score. Some creditors look no further than your credit score to make a yes/no decision about you. Mistakes on your credit report can affect those decisions or can cause you to pay a higher interest rate. Don’t be intimidated by your credit report. Dig in and check yourcredit report for accuracy. It could save you money.
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5 Identity Theft Tips For Seniors

Posted on 2016-02-25 08:00:06

Identity theft continues to be a growing problem for everyone, but seniors are often victims of two types of identity theft that are on the rise: tax return fraud and medical identity theft. happy older pair on a black background There are several reasons why senior make good identity theft targets. Seniors have spent a lifetime building their credit and retirement savings. They likely have more available credit and savings, making them a better risk for creditors. Seniors also tend to be more trusting. As seniors age, they may require help from strangers who are not always trustworthy. Older seniors are easier to scare into giving up personal information to someone on the phone. Here are some tips to help seniors avoid becoming identity theft victims. And when they do become a victim, seniors are less likely to report identity theft for fear that family members will think they are no longer capable of handling their own affairs. Identity thieves look for the easiest targets, and they often find that in seniors. Here are 5 tips to help seniors lessen their risk of becoming an identity theft victim. 1. Protect Your Medicare card. If your Medicare card has your complete Social Security number on it, block out all but the last four digits. Never, ever, give your Medicare information to someone by phone or in response to an email. 2. Guard your Social Security card. Social Security cards are valuable to identity thieves. Social Security numbers often open the door to more information about you—information you do not want to fall into the wrong hands. Doctors often ask for your Social Security number but don’t usually need it. If your doctor insists, ask what measures are in place to protect your personal information including your Social Security number.

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3. Shred, shred, and shred some more. Anything with personal information should be shredded before it is discarded. Identity thieves still sift through trash looking for personal information to help them create a new identity. 4. File your tax return early. By filing your tax return early, you make it harder for an identity thief to file a tax return in your name. Once a tax return has been file, the IRS will reject any future tax return filed using the same Social Security number. 5. Keep tabs on your credit report. It doesn’t matter that you aren’t in the market for new credit. The fact is identity theft is often first detected on someone’s credit report. A credit monitoring service is an affordable way to be alerted to potentially fraudulent information on your credit report.
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