Tuesday, July 16, 2019

A questionable copyright bill in the Senate could become a boon to the debt collection industry

I’ve seen more discussion and speculation about a proposed CASE Act, now in the Senate (S 1273  ); it would allow the Copyright Office to set up a “small claims court” and hand out “fines” (like $5000) for small violations of copyright law with less due process.

What would really happen is a bit speculative, but some observers fear that copyright trolls would get judgments against ordinary users with little due process, and users would suddenly get calls from collection agencies, with debts that might even get sold like many others.
When an vested interest gets in bed with the collection industry, it can become abusive. And Trump has made it easier to go after old or questionable debts.

Saturday, July 06, 2019

Under Trump administration, debt collection companies are going after very old bills

The weekend Wall Street Journal has a feature story by Yuka Hayashi, “Debt-Collecting Surges as Regulation Eases”, link
Under the Trump administration, the Consumer Financial Protection Board has eased regulation on debt-collection companies going after old debts, which are often consolidated and sold to companies who specialize in going after them aggressively.

In 2000, I pulled a credit report on myself (thinking I would buy a home) and found a credit card debt from the early 80s that had been lost in a cross country relocation. I wound up paying $650 to settle a dangling $128 bill from a Best Buy-like store. I found another renewal of a Discover card that had been missed.  I simply paid the principle off voluntarily to close the account.

I worked for RMA, a debt collection agency, in the summer of 2003.  Many people said they had been affected by 9/11.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

Do "hard" credit inquiries affect your credit score? Marginally

Experian has a useful article on how “hard credit inquiries”, often generated to get the best rate for an auto loan, can affect the credit score.  
Generally, Experian says, all inquiries are bundled together as one inquiry for credit scoring, so the effect is rather minimal, and it goes away with time.
No major credit reporting company has talked about “social credit systems” yet but it seems like the tech companies want them.

Friday, June 07, 2019

A scare when I try to create my IRS online account

I just signed on and created an IRS online account and got a scare.

But it looks like it was because of namesake relatives in the Midwest.  I created an account by adding a 0 to my last name.

But I’ve had a problem with not getting credit for two payments I made to the IRS.
If you call them you get a 15-30 minute hold.

Monday, May 13, 2019

Phishing scam grabs attention claiming your credit score has changed on all three major US companies suddenly

I wanted to warn others about still another phishing scam.  This one purports to tell you that your credit score has changed on Experian, Equifax and Trans Union.

The sender is your logon name for your email provider, and Amazon’s URL is spoofed as the sender.

This seems like a particularly deceptive and dangerous phish.
Imagine if this was done in China with a social credit score!  Or if a social credit score were hacked?

Tuesday, May 07, 2019

Could a recent phishing scam about package missed deliveries involved identity theft? Watch and see

Yesterday I got a bizarre email claiming a package sent by me had been returned to a UPS store, turning out to be in South Carolina, that I had never been to.

This appears to be a variation of the better known Fed-Ex phony delivery notice phishing attack.  I covered the details on my Internet Safety blog Monday.  Nevertheless, the possibility of an identity theft scenario could exist.  Someone could create a fake duplicate identity and send illegal materials to frame someone.  But it sounds improbable it could work.
I’ll check my credit reports soon again, but this much more likely a variation of a wellknown scam already.

Friday, April 19, 2019

Can automated bill payments improve your credit score?

Experian, in a corporate article by Stefan Lembo Stolba, posted an important article on its consumer site “Can automatic bill payments help my credit score?” 
Generally, yes.  One problem I have is that many credit card company sites (Target and Chase) are hard to log on to – passwords expire quickly.  The tendency is for them to be forgotten then if logon is difficult.
The Bank of America Bill Pay page has some issues, of not refreshing information between pages, and keeping expired cards. The end result is that sometimes payments go to wrong accounts and aren’t properly credited.