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Alerts


Identity Theft

identity theftPrevention

Protect your personal information:
Keep documents in a secure place, shred documents prior to disposal, use unique passwords and limit the disclosure of your Social Security Number.
Don’t disclose personal information when contacted: 
It is safest to release personal information when you have initiated the contact using information from your records.
Be aware of scams:
A recent telephone scam has a person who has your credit card account information asking for the security code on your credit card.  A recent Internet scam claims there is an issue concerning your taxes and asks for information.

Inspection

Credit Reports:
Check all information listed for accuracy and balance.
Review the list of who has received a copy of your credit history.
Verify all inquiries for loans or leases match your applications.
Correct any errors in writing with the credit bureaus and associated organization.
Financial Statements:
Verify that all charges were made by you.

Immediate Responses Required to suspected theft

Report and Place a Fraud Alert on your credit reports with each credit bureau:
Equifax:  PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374    www.equifax.com            800-525-6285
Experian: PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013          www.experian.com          888-397-3742
Transunion: PO Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022   www.transunion.com       800-680-7289

Close Accounts: Close any accounts that have been tampered with and notify the appropriate fraud department.  Follow up in writing.

Contact Government Authorities: File a police report
Federal Trade Commission:             www.ftc.gov/idtheft                      877-438-4338
Social Security Administration:        www.ssa.gov                                 800-269-0271
US Postal Inspection Service:          www.usps.gov/postalinspectors    800-372-8347
IRS Identity Protection Unit:            www.irs.gov                                 800-908-4490
Internet Crime Complaint Center:   www.ic3.gov

Other Resources

Theft Resource Center
www.idtheft.org
858-693-7935

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
www.privacyrights.org
619-298-3396

Scam/Fraud Alerts
www.mass.gov/consumer
www.fbi.gov/scams-safety

 


Foreclosure Assistance


gI_144416_ID-10066274

Homeowners who are unemployed and struggling to stay in their homes can apply for emergency funding to avoid foreclosure, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) program.

EHLP will provide a forgivable bridge loan of up to $50,000 to pay mortgage, tax, and insurance bills for up to two years.

Pre-applications for the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) will be available starting today June 20.

Homeowners should visit www.findehlp.org or call (855) 346-3345 to apply.

Who is eligible to apply:

Unemployed and underemployed homeowners (due to job loss or serious medical condition) who are at risk of losing their home, and are 90 days delinquent on their mortgage payment.

Where to apply:

Contact a HUD-approved EHLP housing counselor at https://www.findaforeclosurecounselor.org/network/nfmc_lookup/  to learn where to submit applications in your area.

When to apply:

Homeowners will only have until July 22, 2011 to submit pre-applications for these limited funds.

Homeowners should gather key documents now for the next stage of the application process.

Checklist:

* Most recent mortgage statement
* Written notice from employer indicating termination, or income reduction
* Notice from lender/servicer stating homeowner is a risk of foreclosure
* 2009 and 2010 tax returns for every person listed on the mortgage
* Documentation of current income (unemployment check stub, pay stub, SSI, etc)
* Citizenship documents for every person listed on the mortgage (passport, birth certificate)
* IRS T4506-T form for every person listed on the mortgage

 


Debt Collection

debtUnderstanding Your Rights

Federal law and Massachusetts regulations govern the actions of debt collectors and protect consumers against unfair and deceptive collection practices.  Know your rights…

  • You can ask for proof of the debt.  Follow up your request by sending a certified letter within 30 days of being contacted by the debt collector.  The debt collector must obtain verification of the debt or the court judgment and mail it to you.  The debt collector must also cease all collection activity until the information is mailed to you.

 

  • You can notify the debt collector in writing to cease contacting you in any way.  The debt collector can only contact you to notify you that they are terminating further collection efforts, invoking specified remedies or intend to invoke a specified remedy.  The debt, however, will remain outstanding.

 

  • You can request in writing that debt collectors stop contacting you at work.  An oral request is valid for 10 days unless it is followed up in writing.

 

  • You should attend any scheduled court proceeding including Small Claims Court to avoid losing by default.
  • You should plan to repay any undisputed obligation and determine a payment plan in writing.

 

  • You should send all communications certified mail return receipt requested to eliminate any question that the debt collector has received your correspondence.

 

The following actions are prohibited by law.  A debt collector…

  • Cannot call you more than twice in a 7 day period at home or twice in a 30-day period at someplace other than home.
  • Must identify the name of the creditor and the name of the company and person calling.
  • Can only call during your normal waking hours.  If those hours are unknown, then the debt collector can call between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.  They can call any day of the week, including Sundays.
  • Can only visit you in your home one time in a 30-day period unless you authorize additional visits.
  • Cannot cause you to be charged for long distance calls.  In almost all cases, toll free numbers are given to consumers to contact these companies.
  • Cannot contact you directly if you have told them to contact your attorney.
  • Cannot falsely threaten to have you arrested or threaten to garnish your wages without telling you a court order is needed for them to do so.
  • Cannot threaten to take legal action when they do not intend to do so.
  • Cannot use profane or obscene language.
  • Cannot tell your friends, neighbors, employers, and relatives about your debt.  They can call your neighbors only for the sole purpose of determining your current place of residence.


Check your credit report for accuracy.  Your rights include…

  • One free credit report per calendar year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.  To protect against Identity Theft and ensure a good credit score, review your report yearly to check that it is error free.
  • Having errors corrected.   Request the credit reporting agency investigate any mistakes. They have 30 business days to complete an investigation.
  • Having the right to prepare a brief statement if you disagree with the results of the investigation. The credit reporting agency must include your statement whenever it sends out your credit report.

To contact the three major Credit Reporting Agencies…

  • TransUnion, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022.  Telephone (800) 916-8800.
  • Experian, P.O. Box 9530, Allen, TX 75013-0949.  Telephone (888) 397-3742.
  • Equifax Information Service Center, P.O. Box 74021 – Attn: ICSD Disclosure, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.  Telephone (800) 685-1111.

A free combined annual credit report can be obtained online at…

www.annualcreditreport.com

Information on your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Massachusetts Debt Collection Law and Regulations is available on the Massachusetts Division of Banks’ website under the topic “Debt Collections.”  The address for the website is:  www.mass.gov/dob


Identity Theft

identity theftPrevention

Protect your personal information:
Keep documents in a secure place, shred documents prior to disposal, use unique passwords and limit the disclosure of your Social Security Number.
Don’t disclose personal information when contacted: 
It is safest to release personal information when you have initiated the contact using information from your records.
Be aware of scams:
A recent telephone scam has a person who has your credit card account information asking for the security code on your credit card.  A recent Internet scam claims there is an issue concerning your taxes and asks for information.

Inspection

Credit Reports:
Check all information listed for accuracy and balance.
Review the list of who has received a copy of your credit history.
Verify all inquiries for loans or leases match your applications.
Correct any errors in writing with the credit bureaus and associated organization.
Financial Statements:
Verify that all charges were made by you.

Immediate Responses Required to suspected theft

Report and Place a Fraud Alert on your credit reports with each credit bureau:
Equifax:  PO Box 740241, Atlanta, GA 30374    www.equifax.com            800-525-6285
Experian: PO Box 2002, Allen, TX 75013          www.experian.com          888-397-3742
Transunion: PO Box 1000, Chester, PA 19022   www.transunion.com       800-680-7289

Close Accounts: Close any accounts that have been tampered with and notify the appropriate fraud department.  Follow up in writing.

Contact Government Authorities: File a police report
Federal Trade Commission:             www.ftc.gov/idtheft                      877-438-4338
Social Security Administration:        www.ssa.gov                                 800-269-0271
US Postal Inspection Service:          www.usps.gov/postalinspectors    800-372-8347
IRS Identity Protection Unit:            www.irs.gov                                 800-908-4490
Internet Crime Complaint Center:   www.ic3.gov

Other Resources

Theft Resource Center
www.idtheft.org
858-693-7935

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse
www.privacyrights.org
619-298-3396

Scam/Fraud Alerts
www.mass.gov/consumer
www.fbi.gov/scams-safety

 

Foreclosure Assistance


gI_144416_ID-10066274

Homeowners who are unemployed and struggling to stay in their homes can apply for emergency funding to avoid foreclosure, through the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) program.

EHLP will provide a forgivable bridge loan of up to $50,000 to pay mortgage, tax, and insurance bills for up to two years.

Pre-applications for the Emergency Homeowner Loan Program (EHLP) will be available starting today June 20.

Homeowners should visit www.findehlp.org or call (855) 346-3345 to apply.

Who is eligible to apply:

Unemployed and underemployed homeowners (due to job loss or serious medical condition) who are at risk of losing their home, and are 90 days delinquent on their mortgage payment.

Where to apply:

Contact a HUD-approved EHLP housing counselor at https://www.findaforeclosurecounselor.org/network/nfmc_lookup/  to learn where to submit applications in your area.

When to apply:

Homeowners will only have until July 22, 2011 to submit pre-applications for these limited funds.

Homeowners should gather key documents now for the next stage of the application process.

Checklist:

* Most recent mortgage statement
* Written notice from employer indicating termination, or income reduction
* Notice from lender/servicer stating homeowner is a risk of foreclosure
* 2009 and 2010 tax returns for every person listed on the mortgage
* Documentation of current income (unemployment check stub, pay stub, SSI, etc)
* Citizenship documents for every person listed on the mortgage (passport, birth certificate)
* IRS T4506-T form for every person listed on the mortgage

 

Debt Collection

debtUnderstanding Your Rights

Federal law and Massachusetts regulations govern the actions of debt collectors and protect consumers against unfair and deceptive collection practices.  Know your rights…

  • You can ask for proof of the debt.  Follow up your request by sending a certified letter within 30 days of being contacted by the debt collector.  The debt collector must obtain verification of the debt or the court judgment and mail it to you.  The debt collector must also cease all collection activity until the information is mailed to you.

 

  • You can notify the debt collector in writing to cease contacting you in any way.  The debt collector can only contact you to notify you that they are terminating further collection efforts, invoking specified remedies or intend to invoke a specified remedy.  The debt, however, will remain outstanding.

 

  • You can request in writing that debt collectors stop contacting you at work.  An oral request is valid for 10 days unless it is followed up in writing.

 

  • You should attend any scheduled court proceeding including Small Claims Court to avoid losing by default.
  • You should plan to repay any undisputed obligation and determine a payment plan in writing.

 

  • You should send all communications certified mail return receipt requested to eliminate any question that the debt collector has received your correspondence.

 

The following actions are prohibited by law.  A debt collector…

  • Cannot call you more than twice in a 7 day period at home or twice in a 30-day period at someplace other than home.
  • Must identify the name of the creditor and the name of the company and person calling.
  • Can only call during your normal waking hours.  If those hours are unknown, then the debt collector can call between 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.  They can call any day of the week, including Sundays.
  • Can only visit you in your home one time in a 30-day period unless you authorize additional visits.
  • Cannot cause you to be charged for long distance calls.  In almost all cases, toll free numbers are given to consumers to contact these companies.
  • Cannot contact you directly if you have told them to contact your attorney.
  • Cannot falsely threaten to have you arrested or threaten to garnish your wages without telling you a court order is needed for them to do so.
  • Cannot threaten to take legal action when they do not intend to do so.
  • Cannot use profane or obscene language.
  • Cannot tell your friends, neighbors, employers, and relatives about your debt.  They can call your neighbors only for the sole purpose of determining your current place of residence.


Check your credit report for accuracy.  Your rights include…

  • One free credit report per calendar year from each of the three major credit reporting agencies.  To protect against Identity Theft and ensure a good credit score, review your report yearly to check that it is error free.
  • Having errors corrected.   Request the credit reporting agency investigate any mistakes. They have 30 business days to complete an investigation.
  • Having the right to prepare a brief statement if you disagree with the results of the investigation. The credit reporting agency must include your statement whenever it sends out your credit report.

To contact the three major Credit Reporting Agencies…

  • TransUnion, P.O. Box 2000, Chester, PA 19022.  Telephone (800) 916-8800.
  • Experian, P.O. Box 9530, Allen, TX 75013-0949.  Telephone (888) 397-3742.
  • Equifax Information Service Center, P.O. Box 74021 – Attn: ICSD Disclosure, Atlanta, GA 30374-0241.  Telephone (800) 685-1111.

A free combined annual credit report can be obtained online at…

www.annualcreditreport.com

Information on your rights under the federal Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, the Massachusetts Debt Collection Law and Regulations is available on the Massachusetts Division of Banks’ website under the topic “Debt Collections.”  The address for the website is:  www.mass.gov/dob

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