Debt Collection: Know Your Rights

Debt Collection: Know Your Rights

Know someone who’s behind on their bills? Are debt collectors calling for payment? There are laws to protect you. Understanding your legal rights when dealing with debt collectors can help you avoid the bad ones who will say anything to get you to pay.

Transcript:

Falling behind on your bills? Even if you owe more than you can handle, you still have rights. Most legit debt collectors follow the rules, but bad debt collectors don’t. They break the law. So if you get a call like this,

“If you don’t pay, we will have you arrested and deported!”

or this,

“This is your final warning! Pay up now or we’ll contact your employer and make them pay!”

Hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission. You have the right to be treated fairly no matter what. That means debt collectors can’t use abusive language, threaten violence, or harass you or call you before 8:00 in the morning or after 9:00 at night. They can’t lie or pretend to be someone they’re not.

“I’m an attorney and will take legal action if you don’t pay this debt right away.”

Or get you to pay a debt that doesn’t even exist. They can’t have you arrested or deported or tell anyone about your debt.

Bad debt collectors like to knock you off your guard to get an advantage, create a sense of urgency, and rush you. They’ll say anything to get you to pay right now. Instead hang up and report it to the Federal Trade Commission at ftc.gov/complaint. We’ve stopped a lot of bad debt collectors, help us stop more.

For more information about debt collection visit consumer.gov/debt.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Financing a Car

Financing a Car

Before you shop for a car, you need to shop for financing. Here’s what you need to know.

Transcript:

You know what kind of car you want, and you know what you can spend. But don’t head to the dealer just yet. Before you shop for a car, shop for financing.

Financing a car means you pay it off over time, but you don’t have to get that financing through a dealer. Check with banks credit unions and finance companies first. Then take your best financing offer with you to the dealers.You can still negotiate, see if the dealer makes a better offer, but if not, you can stick with the financing you already have.

If a dealer isn’t honest when it comes to financing a car, let the FTC know. Wanna know more? Visit ftc.gov/cars

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Report and Recover from Identity Theft

Report and Recover from Identity Theft

Is someone using your personal information to open new accounts, make purchases or get benefits? Report it at IdentityTheft.gov and get a free personal recovery plan.

Transcript:

In today’s connected world, personal information sometimes falls into the wrong hands. And that can lead to identity theft. It might start with an unfamiliar charge on your credit card. A business might not accept your check. Or a debt collector might call you about a bill that isn’t yours. You’re not alone. Identity theft can happen to anyone. Stay calm. Visit identitytheft.gov to report it and get a personal recovery plan.

Identitytheft.gov helps you create an identity theft report. This report proves to businesses that someone stole your identity and it makes it easier to fix problems caused by identity theft. To create an identity theft report, you can file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission. Identitytheft.gov guides you through each step of the recovery process.

You can generate the letters and forms you need. Track your progress. And keep detailed records of people you’ve talked to. No matter what your identity theft situation is, identitytheft.gov can help because recovering from identity theft is easier with a plan.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Hacked Email: What to Do

Hacked Email: What to Do

Are your friends and family getting emails from you that you didn’t send? Or maybe you want to check your email, but you can’t log in? Chances are your email’s been hacked. Here’s what to do.

Transcript:

Your friends and family are getting e-mails from you that you didn’t send. Or maybe you want to check your e-mail, but wait, you can’t login. Sound familiar? Chances are your e-mail’s been hacked.

Don’t panic. The situation can be fixed. Start by updating or installing security software from a company you can trust. And set it to update automatically.

Hackers often hijack accounts by infecting your computer with malware. So it’s important to scan your computer first. Delete anything that identifies as suspicious and restart your computer. Now you’re working with a clean slate.

Next, if you can get into your account, change your password. If you use similar passwords for other accounts, change them, too. Passwords are the keys that open your accounts. They have to be memorable for you, but hard for someone else to guess. Some people use software that manages passwords to help create strong passwords and keep track of them.

If you can’t get into your account, check with your e-mail provider to find out how to restore it. Once you’ve got your account back, and check your account settings to make sure no one added any links to your e-mail signature, and that your e-mails aren’t being forwarded to someone else.

Finally, let your family and friends know your e-mail was hacked. Think of it as spreading good computer karma. And they may have some work to do, too. Want to know more about protecting your e-mail from hack attacks? Visit onguardonline.gov.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Money Wiring Scams

Money Wiring Scams

This video shows some common money wiring scams, and what happens to some people who meet the scams.

Transcript:

Lisa finally won the lottery. The caller told her, “You’ve won millions! Now just wire $400 for taxes.”

Eddie sold his camera online. But the buyer sent Eddie a check for more than the selling price. He asked Eddie to wire him the extra cash.

Henry found a listing for the perfect rental house. The owner told him to wire the deposit, and she would send the house keys.

Anita’s grandson called to say his wallet was stolen in London. He begged her to send money – but not to tell his mom.

What happens next?

Well, Lisa sent the $400 to collect her lottery prize, but she never got her winnings. She lost $400.

Eddie called his bank. They said the cashier’s check was probably fake – and they were right. Eddie didn’t deposit the check. He didn’t send the money back, and he sold his camera to someone else.

Henry wired the deposit for his perfect house. He never got the keys. And when he went to the house, the owner told him it wasn’t even for rent. Henry lost his deposit.

Anita called her daughter. Her grandson was in college 50 miles from home, not in London. And he wasn’t the one who called her.

Both Eddie and Anita knew to investigate before sending money. Lisa and Henry learned to do that for the future.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Minimum Payments on Credit Cards

Minimum Payments on Credit Cards

This video shows what happens when someone makes just the minimum payment on a credit card balance.

Transcript:

On the hottest day of the year, Marta’s air conditioner broke. Marta decided it was an emergency, so she went to the store to buy a new air conditioner.

Marta didn’t have enough cash, so she used her credit card. The air conditioner cost $300. That evening, her family was cool and happy.

The next month, Marta got her credit card bill for the $300 air conditioner. Marta had it in her budget to pay $15 each month until she finished paying for the air conditioner. $15 was her minimum payment.

Then, every month, Marta sent the minimum payment. But Marta’s balance didn’t go down $15 each month. The credit card company added interest to her balance every month. The annual interest rate on Marta’s credit card was 23%, so the credit card company added interest to Marta’s balance every month.

It took Marta more than two years to pay for the air conditioner, because she paid only the minimum payment. At the end of two years, Marta had paid $382– $300 for the air conditioner and $82 in interest.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Free Trials Can Cost You

Free Trials Can Cost You

Free trial programs often come with catches — expensive catches. If you get an offer to try a product or service for “free” be sure to read the fine print and know how to stop a company from billing you if you’re not interested in buying after the trial period is over.

Transcript:

Many of us want to have more energy, be more organized, or simply save money.

Maybe it’s a new vitamin, a color-coded calendar, or an all-purpose kitchen gadget.

It could be almost anything.

So when you hear about a Free Trial that could let you try a product before committing to buy it — well, what’ve you got to lose?

Sometimes, there’s a downside to those offers… Some companies use free trials to turn you into a long-term customer rather than a trial subscriber.

Other companies may use free trials as a way to sign you up for other products than the ones you wanted to try.

They might hide the terms — deep within the fine print — that allows them to bill you every month until you cancel.

And that means they’ve enrolled you to receive other products — sometimes LOTS of products — which, in turn, can cost you LOTS of money you hadn’t budgeted for.

There are other things that might cause a headache, if you’re not careful.

How can you avoid the costs that might be hiding in some Free Trial programs?

First, research the company online. See what other people are saying about their Free Trials — and about their service. Complaints from other customers are a red flag.

Second, if a box is pre-checked for you– UNCHECK IT.

That little checkmark can be the symbol that gives the company the green light to continue the offer past the free trial or to sign you up for additional items… which would make that free trial offer anything but.

Third – Mark your calendar. Your free trial probably has a time limit. And once it passes without you telling them to cancel your “order,” you may be on the hook for more than you bargained for.

Fourth – Read your credit card statements carefully to make sure you’re not being charged for something you didn’t order.

Okay, so what happens if a Free Trial enrolls you without your permission?

Here’s what to do: Contact the merchant directly for help to sort out the situation. If that doesn’t work – call your credit card company to dispute the charge. Your goal is to have the credit card company reverse the charge because you didn’t actively order the additional merchandise.

They say the best things in life are free – and free trials can be great. But won’t you feel good knowing that you’ve done everything you can to get exactly what you want?

To learn more about Free Trial Offers visit FTC.Gov/freetrials. If you’ve been charged for a free trial offer, report it to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. We’re the Federal Trade Commission – helping consumers spot, stop and avoid scams.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Paying Your Car Loan

Paying Your Car Loan

Here’s why you don’t want to pay fees to a business that promises to lower your monthly car payment or help stop a repossession.

Transcript:

You probably rely on your car to get you everywhere you need to go, where it’s work, school, or running errands. While having a car can be convenient, it can also be a big financial responsibility. You may have taken out a loan to buy it. Until you’ve paid the lender back, you don’t legally own the car. And if you stop making payments, the car could be repossessed.

What happens if you’re hit with unexpected expenses or you lose your job? Suddenly, you may find yourself struggling to make that next car payment. What should you do?

Keep making your monthly payments. If you stop, your lender has the right to repossess your car. Contact your lender directly, and explain your financial situation. Discuss your options. It’s in everybody’s interest to work something out. Your lender wants the loan to be repaid, and you want to keep your car.

Question companies that say they can lower your monthly payments or stop the repossession process if you pay them a fee up front. By paying them instead of your lender, you could lose your car.

Bottom line – work directly with your lender, and avoid any company that claims to stop repossession or promises to lower your car payments, especially if they want you to pay a fee in advance.

Stay on the right track. Learn how to protect yourself from auto loan modifications scams at ftc.gov/cars. That’s ftc.gov/cars.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Online Shopping Tips

Online Shopping Tips

Shopping online? A little research can help you get the best deal and avoid unnecessary hassles.

Transcript:

Day by day, more and more people are shopping online. It’s convenient, and you can bring a world of choices to your computer, phone or tablet.

Are you one of the millions of people looking to buy something online? If you are, there are steps you can take to avoid hassles, get the right product at the right price, and protect your financial information.

First, plan ahead by setting a budget. Ask yourself, “How much do I want to spend?” Be sure to include delivery costs in your budget.

Second, determine what’s most important to you about the item you’re thinking about buying. What are the “must-have” product features? Are there features that would be nice to have, but you can live without? This will help you choose the product that meets your needs.

Take a few minutes to compare products. Type the name into a search engine along with words like “review,” “complaint” or “scam.”

Read online reviews from other people who bought the item or from product experts. Look for feedback about how well the product works and its overall quality.

If you’ve never heard of the company selling the product, look for reviews about their reputation and customer service. Read a few reviews so you’re not relying on just one source.

Of course, you’ll also want to know the total cost of the product.

Check shopping comparison sites to compare the price of the product at different websites. Remember, shipping costs and other “add-ons” may not be included in these prices. Look for online coupon codes. Search the store’s name with terms like “coupons,” “discounts,” or “free shipping.”

Before you decide where to buy, check out the terms of the deal. When will you get your order? The law requires sellers to ship items within 30 days of the sale. If you have to return the item, can you get a refund? Who pays for return shipping? Is there a restocking fee?

Next, decide how to pay.

Paying by credit card gives you some protections that other methods of payment may not. If there’s a problem, the law gives you the right to dispute charges and temporarily withhold payment while your dispute is investigated. If someone uses your credit card without your permission, some companies will cap your liability at $50. Others will waive the charges entirely.

Before you enter your credit card or other financial information online, check if the website address starts with “https”. The “s” stands for “secure” and means that your information is encrypted before it’s transmitted.

Now, you should be ready to enjoy whatever you’ve bought online. If you have a problem with an online purchase or charge, try to work it out with the seller first.

If you can’t resolve the problem, file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission, the nation’s consumer protection agency, at ftc.gov/complaint.

By planning, comparing products and costs, and making sure you check out securely, you can make your online shopping experience safer—and more enjoyable.

Remember: it’s easy to find trusted information about online security. Just visit OnGuardOnline.gov, the federal government’s site to help you be safe, secure and responsible online.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.

Hang Up on Fraudulent Telemarketing

Hang Up on Fraudulent Telemarketing

Chances are, you did not win a million dollars in a lottery you don’t recall entering. Nor do you have a bevy of “free” prizes waiting for you as a reward for being a valued customer. So, if a telemarketer calls with this kind of news and asks for your account number, other personal information or cash upfront to collect your “prize,” hang up. It’s a scam.

Transcript:

Telemarketing fraud is a crime that affects millions of Americans every year. It usually starts with a phone call.

Hello.

Good evening, Mr. Jones! We want to thank you for being such a good customer! To reward you for your loyalty, we’d like to send you several valuable free gifts.

That sounds good.

Now, in order to do this, we just want to verify some of the information…

They were just so friendly. I didn’t know they were trying to rip me off. then I got my credit card statement. Those free gifts? They weren’t free at all. Now I know better!

Sir, all you have to do is confirm the first few numbers on your bank account. It ends in 1234.

I don’t think so. My bank account number is my business – not yours.

Telemarketing scammers are good at what they do. They’ll say anything and target anyone to commit fraud.

Hello.

Congratulations, Mrs. Smith! Your name was recently drawn as a winner in the Pan Pacific lottery. You could collect $2 million dollars!

I didn’t think I entered a lottery. I filled out a couple of forms at the mall. But I didn’t realize that the calls I’d been getting were connected to those forms. I’m not going to fall for that twice.

Mrs. Smith, because this is a foreign lottery, there are a few processing fees that need to be take care of. If you send me $3,000 you can collect your winnings.

Oh, I don’t think so. Goodbye.

The Federal Trade Commission and your state Attorney General are working hard to stop telemarketing fraud. You can help.

Recognize, Report, Register

First, learn to recognize the signs of telemarketing fraud, like callers who ask for money first or who want to know your bank account, credit card or social security number. Scammers may even have your billing information before they call you. Often, they’re trying to get you to say okay so they can claim you approved a charge.

Second, if you have been scammed – or you think someone is trying to scam you – report it to the Federal Trade Commission. It’s as easy as going to ftc.gov and clicking on the link on the right. It’s more helpful to the FTC if you can give the name or the phone number of the company that called you and the date they called.

Third, join the millions of Americans who have registered their phone numbers on the National Do Not Call Registry. It’s easy! You can register online at donotcall.gov. Be sure to complete the process by clicking the link in the confirmation email you receive. You can also call toll-free 1-8-8-8-3-8-2-1-2-2-2 from the number you wish to register.

And remember, although telemarketing scammers may seem friendly, they’re anything but. They’re trying to worm their way into your wallet. You can stop them by keeping your information to yourself no matter how tempting the offer.

Let’s say goodbye to fraudulent telemarketers! Visit FTC.gov/phonefraud to learn more about how to recognize and report telemarketing fraud.

The information provided is from third parties not affiliated in any way with American Financial Network, Inc. This third party content is for general informational purposes only, and American Financial Network, Inc. makes no express or implied warranties, promises, or representations as to the nature, standard, accuracy or otherwise of the information provided, nor to the suitability of the information to your particular circumstances. AFN is not a tax or financial advisor, and individual tax circumstances may vary. Please consult a licensed tax professional and appropriate government agencies to determine tax consequences of home ownership.