If you have recently lost your job, your first thoughts may be, "how will I make ends meet?"|
Money matters are a source of stress and frustration for many people. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) publishes free brochures spelling out your rights when it comes to fair debt collection and credit reporting practices.
Fair Debt Collection
If you find that you can not pay your bills on time, contact your creditors immediately. Try to work out a modified payment plan that reduces your payments to a more manageable level. If you have student loans, then contact the lender and ask them to place your student loan on a forbearance status or hardship status while you are unemployed.
Do not wait until your accounts have been turned over to a debt collector. At that point, your creditors have given up on you.
The federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act requires debt collectors to treat you fairly by prohibiting certain methods of debt collection. To learn more about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, visit the Federal Trade Commission site at www.ftc.gov
Fair Credit Reporting
Non-payment and late payments may affect your credit rating and your ability to get credit in the future. Although creditors usually consider a number of factors in deciding whether to grant credit, most creditors rely heavily on your credit history. That's one reason to make sure your credit report is accurate.
For example, if your credit file showed that you were once late in making payments, but did not show that you are no longer delinquent, then your file would be inaccurate. In this example, the credit reporting agency must show that your payments are now current, although you were once late in making payments.
The Fair Credit Reporting Act protects you by requiring credit bureaus to furnish correct and complete information to businesses to use in evaluating your applications for credit, insurance, or a job. To learn more about the Fair Credit Reporting Act, visit the Federal Trade Commission site at www.ftc.gov
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) works to prevent fraudulent, deceptive, and unfair business practices in the marketplace. The FTC also works to provide information to help consumers spot, stop, and avoid fraudulent and deceptive business practices.
To file a complaint or to get free information on consumer issues, visit www.ftc.gov or call toll-free 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357)
The FTC enters any Internet, telemarketing, identity theft, and fraud-related complaints into the Consumer Sentinel - a secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
You can file a complaint and/or read about consumer tips at the site Consumer Sentinel
On the other hand, you can get a free copy of your annual credit report from the site www.AnnualCreditReport.com
AnnualCreditReport.com is a centralized service for consumers to request annual credit reports. It was created by the three nationwide consumer credit reporting companies: Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion.
Congress passed a law mandating that the three major credit bureaus provide a centralized service where consumers can get a free annual credit report in a fast and convenient way, and as a result, Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion are now sponsoring the site AnnualCreditReport.com
Meanwhile, you can still access your credit information directly from the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, Experian, Trans Union