Monthly Archives: January 2015

Don’t Overlook These Signals For Potential Identity Theft

Consumer fraud and identity theft are on the rise, follow these tips to reduce your risk in 2015

Most people discover that they are a victim of identity theft when they review their account statements or check their accounts online. But the most serious types of identity theft may be harder to uncover. Here are some signs of identity theft you should keep an eye out for:

• Change of address forms or missing mail – Financial companies and the postal service will send a letter to both the new and the old address when someone submits a change. If a thief tries to redirect your mail, you may receive notices of the change.
• Strange phone calls – Banks and financial institutions may call you to confirm that actually did make an unusual purchase, open an account or take some other dramatic action. Be careful not to give out any personal information over the phone though, it could be a scam artist pretending to be a concerned creditor.
• Unusual bills – Don’t ignore bills sent to your home that appear to be mistakes. An identity thief could be using your name and address for their bills.
• Data theft notification – Under some state laws, businesses that experience a data theft or loss must notify the impacted consumers. Just because your data has been compromised, it doesn’t mean that your identity will necessarily be stolen. Only about 2% of stolen records are ever used fraudulently.
• Collection forms – If you receive a suspicious collection letter in the mail or if you are contacted by phone collector, it could be a sign of identity theft. A thief could have overdue debts in your name that the debtor is now trying to recover.
• Accounts stop working – A debit transaction denial may indicate that a thief has drained your checking account and a credit transaction denial may mean that a thief has maxed out your credit card.
• Parking tickets – A strange parking ticket or fine in your name could be a sign that your identity is being used by a thief. Especially when the ticket comes from a different area.
• Passwords and PINs stop working – An identity thief could change your account passwords and PIN numbers as part of their takeover. If your passwords suddenly stop working, call the creditor or financial institution immediately.
• Denial of credit – If you are unexpectedly turned down for a credit card, cell phone, loan or other new account it could be a sign that something has happened to your credit.
• Legal forms – Unusual letters from lawyers, attorney’s offices or courts can be a sign than an identity thief has used your information in a serious manner. A thief may have committed a crime or gotten into legal trouble using your identity.

If you spot of of these signs of identity theft it is important that you take action immediately. Investigate what has happened, check your credit reports and request a fraud alert. The sooner you spot and stop the identity theft, the less damage will be done to your credit.

The editorial team from is committed to bringing you the best tips, financial guides and advice for saving money and reducing debts in 2015.

Tips For Borrowers With Sub Prime Credit Histories To Improve Their Scores

If you are having a hard time building up credit or simply raising your credit score if your credit score is low there is an option that few people are aware of to boost their credit ratings. You can obtain a small loan from a non profit lender. Statistics from Experian have shown that borrowers who have gone through a non profit lender that is associated with the Credit Builders Alliance that their credit scores improved remarkably. The Credit Builders Alliance is a not for profit that helps nonprofits report loan data to the credit bureaus.

Over a period of two years those who borrowed from nonprofit lenders saw their Vantage and Fico scores increase. Borrowers in 20% of these cases improved their scores enough to move up to a new credit risk tier. For example subprime borrowers who borrowed from non profit lenders ended up being classified as “nonprime” borrowers. While the term “nonprime” borrowers might sound bad it is actually much better to a lender then being in the subprime category. People who went this route who had been nonprime borrowers moved up to the prime borrowers category and saw significant gains as far as APRs offered on loans and credit cards. According to Experian the total number of borrowers who jumped to the prime category was 5% of those who applied for loans through the nonprofits.

The key to utilizing these loans is to go for a loan that is custom tailored to your unique credit situation and your ability to repay the loan. You need to make the payments small enough that you will never be late let alone miss a payment. The process takes time and the best route to take is to do several small loans over the course of 2 to 3 years. When you make the payments it is reported to the credit reporting agencies and your score raises over time.

You might be asking yourself why bother going through a nonprofit. Good non profit lenders will offer you a much better interest rate and they are also more likely to approve smaller loans, loans that banks and larger financial institutions view as not worth their time. These non profits cater to those with either poor or non existent credit so you are also unlikely to be turned down for a loan. This route to building credit is also much better than turning to lenders that prey upon those with sub-prime credit such as payday lenders or auto title lenders.

Many of these non profits are also providing free credit counseling services to those they lend to, which helps those who have never had credit or have struggled with managing their credit
. Every year more of these non profit lending agencies form, which has been helping to combat the proliferation of predatory lenders who prey on those with no credit or poor credit.

Sadly at the moment there is no data bases of these lenders so finding one in your area might pose a challenge for you if you opt to make use of their services. There is also the matter of finding a good one. You can find these lenders by going to the website and entering in your zip code into the Find a member” search tool, although this website does not list them all.