FTC takes action againstFlorida debt collectors
. A federalcourt has entered a ﬁnal order against a Floridadebt collection agency settling a Federalrade Commission action that alleged thedefendants violated the FC Act and theFair Debt Collection Practices Act (FDCPA) while collecting consumers’ debts. Te FC’scomplaint alleged that the enterprise usedmisleading letters and abusive telephone calls tofalsely threaten that consumers would be sued,their property seized, and their wages garnished if they did not pay the money that the defendantssaid they owed. Te complaint alleged that thecollectors often shouted and used profanity and other abusive language to carry out theircollections. Te ﬁnal order, among other things,permanently bars the defendants from falsely representing the character, amount, or legalstatus of a consumer’s debt, that their collectoris an attorney or represents an attorney, or thatif the consumer does not pay, the defendantscan or will ﬁle a lawsuit against the consumer. Italso prohibits them from violating the FDCPA in any way, including disclosing a consumer’sdebts to any third parties, using profanity orother abusive language in collection calls, or by continuing to attempt to collect a debt beforeproviding veriﬁcation of the debt to consumers who properly request such veriﬁcation. Tesettlement also requires the defendants to provideconsumers with a toll-free number and mailingaddress to ﬁle complaints, promptly investigateeach such complaint, and take steps to cease,resolve, and cure any violations of the court orderor the FDCPA.
Credit card mail volume declined.
Credit card mail volumedeclined in the 4thquarter of 2007. Issuers,straining from fall-outdue to the mortgage crisisand concerned about theeconomy, cut back on directmarketing activity accordingto Mail Monitor, the directmail tracking service.Uncertainty surrounding theeconomy has caused issuers to be more selectivein their targeting.
IRS warns consumers of“phishing scams”:
Te IRS wants to warn consumers about possible “phishing” e-mailscams. Identity thieves attempt to send out e-mails that appear to be from the IRS, but it is anattempt to gain ﬁnancial information. Te IRSnever asks for information such as Social Security and PIN numbers or passwords to access creditcard or bank accounts. Some other signs thatmay indicate a fraudulent email include askingconsumers to participate in an IRS survey orthreatening to withhold refund money if they donot respond. Te IRS encourages consumers toforward unsolicited “IRS” e-mails to email@example.com. For more details, visit www.irs.gov anddo a keyword search on “phishing.”
Identity theft is still thenumber one crime.
Te FCrecently released the list of top consumer fraudcomplaints received by the agency in 2007. Telist, contained in thepublication “ConsumerFraud and Identity Teft Complaint Data January-December2007,” showed that forthe seventh year in arow, identity theft is thenumber one consumercomplaint category.Of 813,899 totalcomplaints received in2007, 32% were relatedto identity theft.
eacting to life’s unexpected orunfortunate events is a natural humanreaction. Our mood and feelings canchange depending on what is occurring in ourlife at the moment. After having a bad day,you may have been tempted to buy somethingto make you feel better. Results from a recentscientiﬁc study entitled, “Misery is not Miserly”indicates that consumers that feel sad orself-focused are more likely to spend more formaterial goods. Below are some tips that may help you make wiser ﬁnancial choices on thosebad days.
Do not shop while hungry.
You may have heard this tip when referring to grocery shopping. Consumers may spend more for foodif they shop while they are hungry. Te sameidea can also relate to other types of shopping.Te recent study indicates that consumersshould refrain from making major purchasingdecisions when they are angry, sad, stressed,or depressed. Shopping while experiencingan extreme emotion may lead to impulsivepurchases.
Let’s say you are shoppingafter a stressful day at work and you see a greatdeal on the latest electronic gadget. Althoughyou did not plan on making this purchase, youmay suddenly think that you absolutely needit or deserve it after your diﬃcult day at work.In these types of situations, it is best to removeyourself from the situation. Consider walkingaway and think about the purchase for a few days. In most cases, you may have forgotten allabout it by the time you arrive home.
Appreciate what you have.
According toresearch site Science Daily (www.sciencedaily.com), university researchers of the “Misery isNot Miserly” study suggest that sadness causespeople to devalue their current possessions.Sadness can make people feel “empty” and somemay look to purchase items to ﬁll that void.Paying oﬀ debt can make some people feel as if they have very little to show for their spending.Before you spend more in an attempt to feelbetter, think about things or aspects of your lifein which you are thankful. For example, youmay be grateful for the health of your family,food, housing, employment, etc.
We all have times in which we need to relax and reward ourselves forour hard work. Discover inexpensive activitiesor small tokens of appreciation that will helpcheer you up or reduce stress. For example, renta movie, have a family pizza night, exercise, ordo something that your family may enjoy.
Feelings are much like waves, we can’t stop them fromcoming but we can choose which one to surf.~Jonatan Mårtensson
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