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The Millionaire Real Estate Investors Guide to Reducing Your Debt and Improving Your Credit Written by Charrissa Cawley  2009 All rights reserved. Duplicating, reprinting, or distributing this material without the express written consent is prohibited.

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Table of Contents Introduction ....................................................................................... 4 Understanding the Power of Credit………………………………………………………..6 Income vs. Credit vs. Debt .................................................................. 11 Understanding Your Credit Report ......................................................... 17 Reduce Your Debt and Create Cash Flow................................................ 25 You Lost it, Now Get It Back: Practical Solutions to Help Build Your Credit Again ....................................................................................................... 32 Establishing a Working Budget for Yourself ............................................ 40 Establishing a New Credit Direction: Goals for the Future ......................... 51 Appendix A: Forms and Letters ............................................................ 59 Appendix B: State by State Resources & Laws ........................................ 97 Appendix C: Budget Chart ................................................................. 131 Appendix D: Credit Resources & Links…………................................134 Appendix E:What Helps and Hurts Your Score ...................................... 135 About the Author…………………………………………………………………………………136

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Introduction The world of business involves money changing hands on a daily basis. To build wealth you have to spend money. However, there are times when the scale of money coming in and money going out do not balance. If you are not careful in your everyday life and in business you can quickly get in over your head and too deep into debt. When this happens your credit rating will suffer. I'm sure you've heard the phrase credit report, credit score or FICO score before. Maybe you have a good handle on what your credit score is and how you rank among others where your credit is concerned. Maybe you're like millions of Americans who have no clue what their credit report says, what their credit rating is, what it means, and how it affects their every day spending. Credit and debt affect each and every one of us on a daily basis. Every time you receive a bill in the mail and pay for that bill, it affects your credit. If you pay your bills on time, chances are you have a good credit score. Pay your bills late and you're risking your financial health. When the time comes for you to make even the simplest purchases, a poor credit rating can have an adverse affect on your spending. Think if it, we all drive cars to work. We live in homes that we either rent or own. We apply for credit cards. All of our past spending will affect the outcome of

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what kind of car we can afford to buy, whether or not we will be able to rent a home or apartment of our choice or qualify for mortgage to purchase the home of our dreams. How we spend our money will also affect the terms of any credit card you may apply for and even if you will be approved or denied a credit card. In this book you will learn how your every day spending affects your credit rating, how to view your credit report to reveal negative spending or bill paying habits, and strategies for fixing your credit so that you can increase your credit score and have greater buying power.

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Understanding the Power of Credit

Too often people take their credit for granted and when they do it is to their own detriment. Without good credit, you are really at the mercy of finance companies and banks in regards to your buying power. The truth is the better your credit, the higher your credit rating. The higher your credit rating, the better your buying power. That's sounds nice, but what does it really mean? Let's take a look at where having poor credit or too much debt can go against you. Say you are looking to

purchase a new vehicle. The car you want is luxurious and has a high price tag. But it's beautiful and you've always wanted to own this type of car. You decide to take the plunge and buy it. You've been watching the current interest rates for new cars and even with the high price tag you think that you will be able to afford the new vehicle. You go to the dealer and look around the dealer's lot to find the right car and you find one in that shiny new color that you love. You take it out for a test drive…or two. You can imagine yourself driving to work with it or taking your family for a spin. Just when you have your heart set on bringing this new vehicle home, you sit down to do the paperwork with the salesman and he runs a credit check. While he's

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gone, you're already dreaming about what your family is going to say when they see this car. You're excited. You can envision the looks on their faces when you roll this beautiful brand new car into the driveway. You can't wait for the salesman to come back so you can get all the paperwork done so you can leave. But instead of the salesman coming back with a big smile on his face and a set of keys in his hand, he delivers a bombshell. You might've thought that you were eligible for the current low interest rates that would make this shiny new vehicle affordable for you but the salesman tells you that your credit score is too low and you do not qualify for the low interest-rate. But wait! He goes on to tell you that there is a silver lining. You can still get the car because you qualify for a different interest-rate... an interest rate that is double the amount of the original interest rate. When you catch your breath, the salesman tells you what your new payment amount will be. Let's use at actual numbers so you can see why this is so important. $35,000 $35,000 Difference 6% 12% 60 month loan 60 month loan $676.75 per month $778.56 per month $101.81 per month

You may be thinking to yourself that the additional $101.81 per month is worth it to have this new vehicle. And that may be so. But you'll be paying on this

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loan for 60 months and your poor credit will then cost you an additional $$6,108.60. That is quite an expensive chunk of change having poor credit has cost you. What happens when you go to purchase a home? Lenders are wary of extending loans to people with poor credit. You may have just found the perfect family home, put a deposit down, and then put in an application at your local bank only to be declined because your credit is so poor. If you're lucky enough that the lender is willing to take a chance on you with one of their "poor credit" programs, you'll get the perfect family home you want, but it will cost you. Even if you have enough money to put down for a down payment, if your credit is poor the lender may require you to pay a monthly fee called Private mortgage insurance or PMI. This PMI insures the bank for additional monies in case you default on the loan. Private mortgage insurance is usually a percentage of the amount borrowed, not a flat fee, although there might be fees the lender applies at closing that are associated with this type of loan. Again, these fees are costly. The PMI you pay each month will not count towards the principal or interest on your loan. This is insurance just like the insurance you pay for your car. Not only will you have to pay PMI, but you also have to pay a higher interest rate. While this higher interest rate will not be double the going rate, as it was in the

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example I used for purchasing a car. You may pay a point or so higher than the rate other borrowers who have good credit are paying. Let's take a look at the numbers again. $200,000 30 year fixed mortgage 6.5% $1264.14 per month $200,000 30 year fixed mortgage 7.5% $1398.43 per month Difference $ 134.00 per month

Your PMI will add an additional amount on to your mortgage every month as well. While you will be able to refinance your home during the course of your mortgage, until you have enough equity in the home, you'll be stuck paying the higher amount. You might be thinking that is okay if it means you can get into the house of your choice. But can you? Lenders use your income and current debt to establish how much of a mortgage you can afford to pay each month. Let's continue to use the example above. Say the lender determines that the most you can afford as a mortgage payment per month is $1264.14. Using a 6.5% model, you will be able to afford a mortgage that is $200,000. Using the 7.5% model, you'd be able to afford a mortgage of $180,800. This gives you a difference of $19,200 that you will have to either come up with as additional down payment or you will have to choose a home that costs less.

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But the difference doesn't stop there. Over the course of a 30 year fixed mortgage, the amount of interest you will pay on a 7.5% loan versus a 6.5% loan is significantly different. 6.5% fixed for 30 years 7.5% fixed for 30 years Difference Total Interest = Total Interest = $255,088.98 $303,434.45 $ 48,345.47

Just one point different in your interest rate will end up costing you nearly $50,000 more than the lower rate. This does not include the PMI you will pay as well. As you can see, having good credit is powerful. With good credit, not only can you afford more, but you'll be paying less for the same purchases.

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Income vs. Credit vs. Debt

The best way to calculate where you stand in the financial buying power ladder is by understanding your income versus your credit versus your debt. Income Income is something that most people understand quite well. You work a job, you earn a certain income. However, not all our income comes from a job that we work. We also can establish income through our investments. For instance, if you've been investing in the stock market and have purchased stocks that pay dividends on a regular basis, those dividends are considered income. The same goes for interest that you may earn from your savings account. However, with interest rates for savings accounts being so low, you would need a considerable amount of money in the bank to be able to earn enough income from interest to make a difference in your buying power. Most people will get the most amount of their income from the job they work. However, as you invest in real estate and other investments, that could change significantly. 9 to 5 Job vs. Self Employment

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It's the American dream to have your own business and make your own money, spend your work day the way you want without having a boss breathing down your back. But it does make a difference with your income. Making $100,000 in a traditional job does not equal making $100,000 when you are self employed. When you work in a 9 to 5 job, your employer takes care of certain expenses that are your responsibility when you are the boss. For instance, when you are self employed, you pay 15.3% self employment tax. Working a traditional job, you would not pay self employment tax, you'd pay FICA tax. The total amount for FICA tax is the same as self employment tax, however, you're responsible for only 7.65 percent of the tax and your employer is responsible for paying the other half of the tax. That means you would be ahead of the person who is self employed by $7,500 if you worked in a traditional job if you both had an income of $100,000 per year. Also, many employers pay for things like a portion of your health insurance, which, when you are self employed, can be a considerable chunk of money out of your pocket. These things and more affect the bottom line of your income that you will use to pay debt and be qualified to receive credit. Credit

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Having good credit is a powerful thing. With it, you have the ability to purchase goods and services you need without actually having the money on hand. You can then pay it back in full when the bill comes in, or over time depending on the agreement you have with the creditor. When you pay back your credit over time, you'll be paying an interest fee to make up for the creditor not having their money right away. Some people don't like taking credit for their purchases. However, to make money and build wealth, you need to use "other people's money". There is great value in using your good credit responsibly. How do you get good credit? That's the tricky part. If you never apply for a loan or take out a credit card with a bank or with a department store, you won't have a credit history. When you do apply for a major loan, the lender has no way of knowing if you are a good credit risk or not because you don't have a credit history. To establish yourself as a good credit risk with a lender, you need to take out credit and then pay it off in a timely manner. If you over extend yourself and begin to make late payments, this will affect your credit rating negatively. If this has already happened to you, never fear. Just because you have a low credit rating today, doesn't mean you can't build it back up. It takes work, but it is worth it.

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Debt Debt is how much you owe to a lender. It could be to a bank for an auto loan, mortgage on a house or a credit card. Debt can also be public liens you ignored or didn't take care of that resulted in legal action. For instance, if you buy a car for $15,000 and put down $2,000 as a deposit, it leaves you with a balance of $13,000. You could apply for a car loan for the $13,000, taking the loan out anywhere from 12 months to 72 months. The longer the loan payment, the more interest you'll pay, but the payments may be more affordable because when they are spread out over 72 months, your payments will be lower. Regardless of how long you take your loan out for, you will be in debt for $13,000. If you make your payments on time, regardless of which term you choose to pay, you will gradually get out of debt for that loan. As the loan progresses, your credit report will show that you took out a loan for $13,000 and how much you now owe on the loan. This is your debt to owe ratio for that loan. For instance, if you have been paying on time for two years and now

owe $9,000, your debt to owe would be 13:9 or 69%. Your debt to owe ratio is not as important on a fixed loan like a car loan or a mortgage as long as you have the income that can handle the payments and you pay

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your bills on time. However, with revolving debt like credit cards or equity loans, it can get a little tricky. Lenders shy away from extending credit to people who are overextended. The lender will look at all the revolving credit to see what the debt to owe ratio is before making a decision to extend more credit. To explain this a little more, lets look at 2 different scenarios. If you have a credit card with a $5,000 credit limit and you owe $4,000 on it, your debt to owe ratio is 80%. But if you have a second credit card with a $3,000 credit limit and a zero balance, your debt to owe ratio is now 50%. A debt to owe ratio of 50% or less is more favorable when applying for a loan or credit. Beware of falling into the credit trap. Sometimes you really can have too much of a good thing. While you'll want to keep your options open, and having more than one credit card with a high balance gives you more flexibility and buying power, you don't want to go crazy with credit card applications. A lender might wonder why you need all those credit cards and be leery of giving out another credit card if you have too many revolving lines of credit. If you need more credit for a project or big expense that is coming up, call the bank that issued your current credit card first and ask for a credit line increase. much easier to handle your debt if you have to pay one or two banks than if you have to pay ten. It is

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Understanding Your Credit Report

To some people, a credit report might as well be written in Greek for all they are concerned. Very often, when a person calls for a copy of their credit report, they don’t expect it to be as long as it is or as detailed. Shouldn't it simply state that you pay your bills on time and list whatever your current debt is? It's not as simple as that. A credit report is not a quick day-in-the-life of your current financial situation. It's more of a saga, a history of what your credit has been since the time you established credit or going back 10 years. One of the things that trips people up the most is that they don't understand what is actually on their credit report. There may be data on the credit report that is incorrect. If so, you'll need to know how to identify inaccuracies and how to correct them. You also need to be able to identify any black marks you have and ways you can clear them from your report. The first thing you need to understand is that the credit report you receive is not absolute. There are three major credit reporting agencies in United States and not all the information on each of those reports will be identical. To fully understand your credit history, you need to get a copy of your credit report from each of these credit reporting agencies.

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  

Experian TransUnion Equifax By law, you can request a copy of your credit report from these three agencies

once per year for free. Any more than that and you will need to pay a fee for the credit report. Why is it so important to get a copy of your credit report from all three agencies? Each of these agencies is independent of each other and the creditors that report to them do it on a voluntary basis. Not all creditors will send information to credit bureaus, and some will only send to one or two, not all three. Because of this, you may get the reports from one credit bureau that your creditor does not report to and think that everything is fine, only to find out that your credit score is low because a delinquency appeared on a different credit bureau report. Also, just because you have a department store credit card and you are 31 days late with your payment, it doesn't mean that the department store will automatically send a report to one or all of the credit bureaus. Many department stores do have an automated system for reporting, but some have grace periods. It is best not to risk sending payments late because you think the creditor is slow in

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sending reports of delinquencies. Paying your bills on time is the best way to prevent inaccuracies or black marks on any credit report. As you can see, when cleaning up your credit, you need to have information from all three of the major credit bureaus. That is the only way to ensure you are finding any inconsistencies or inaccuracies that may adversely affect your ability to get a loan. To get a rented copy of your credit report from any of these three agencies visits www.annualcreditreport.com. So what is actually in a credit report? There are four sections to a credit report. The first part of a credit report will give identifying information about you. The next part will have your credit history going back at least 10 years or to the point where you started getting credit. The third part will list public records. And the last part will give a list of any inquiries that were made to your credit report. Let's break them down one by one. A lot of people take a quick look at their identifying information and don't bother to look at the rest. This is a mistake. You may have applied for a credit card using your middle initial one time and not another time. You may have gotten married and changed her name, or gotten divorced and changed your name. You may be named after your father or mother, in which case there are two people who lived at the same address at one point, with the same name.

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Not only that, how many Mary Smiths do you think lived in New York City? While social security numbers will help distinguish you from someone else with the same name, there are times when wires get crossed and information gets jumbled and you might get someone else's information on your report. Check their identifying information very carefully. If it lists that you live or have lived at a particular address and you have never lived there, you will need to have that information corrected. Make sure that the spelling of your name or any other name that you have gone by is correct. The wrong spelling could present a problem. You don't necessarily need to change the spelling because sometimes the information has just been keyed in incorrectly and by making a change it couldn't further complicate the problem. However, you do need to check out each entry to make sure that the name that they are referring to and the account actually belongs to you and not someone else. Check all the addresses that are listed. If you have never lived on 55 Blueberry Lane, something on your report may not be yours. In addition to addresses, check to make sure that your telephone number, driver's license number, your birth date, and the name of your spouse, if you have one, are all correct. The next part of the report will be a listing of all the loans that you have taken out, whether they be for actual loans or credit cards. These are called trade lines.

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It can be a bit confusing looking at this section because the information goes back for at least 10 years. For instance if you purchased a home and took out a mortgage with one bank and three years later that banks sells your mortgage to another bank, both banks will be listed on the credit report, even if you have been paying the new bank for five or six years. Any credit cards that you might've taken out and paid off will also be listed on your credit report. If you purchased furniture eight years ago and had store credit, that might be on there as well. It may seem a little overwhelming at first to go through each line, but it is vitally important that you do to make sure the reporting information is really about you and your credit history, not someone else. The Type of Trade Line Information on the Report
       

The date you opened to the account Type of credit. Is it revolving or an installment loan? Cosigner/joint account Total amount of the loan Credit limit Highest balance Current balance Monthly payment

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Status of the account. Is the account open, closed, paid in full, inactive?

Your payment history. If you have been 30 days late, 60 days late, etc.., it will show by month.

Some credit bureaus list your payment history as a statement. For instance, "Never Pays Late". There may be other comments as well that indicate if the creditor has tried to collect a pass due debt and has written it off. Other credit bureaus may have a ranking system to reflect a good or bad payment history. The third part is the section that will list any public liens or judgments that have been reported. If you have anything listed in the public section of the report, this is not good news. Public reportings on a credit report are weighted very heavily with creditors. If you have a financial judgment against you such as a bankruptcy or tax lien, it will be listed there. This is not to say that if you have a reporting in the public section that you will not be able to get a loan. It just means that you need to work harder to build your credit back. The last part is the area where any inquiries into your credit report will be listed. These inquiries are broken into two sections. The first part will list any hard inquiries. Hard inquiries are reportings where you have filled out a loan, credit card

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or other application for credit and the creditor has contacted the credit bureau to get your credit history. Soft inquiries will be in the next section and will list any company that has contacted the credit bureau for information to prequalify you for credit. Each inquiry can lower your credit score, which is called the FICO score. For the purpose of establishing a FICO score, any inquiries that are made within 30 days of getting a mortgage or car loan are ignored. Likewise, any hard inquiries that are made within a 14 day span are treated as one inquiry. That means that if you are searching for the best car loan and apply to several different banks within a 14 day period, your credit score won't go down because of all those inquiries. Keep in mind that when you apply for credit, you need to be aware of how often you do it. While getting the best deal won't adversely affect your credit score, haphazardly applying for credit cards will if you are applying for credit every month. It can sometimes be hard to look at your credit report and see your financial missteps glaring back at you in black and white. But it is necessary if you want to get out of debt and increase your credit rating. Once you know what it is that is keeping you from improving your credit, you'll have the roadmap that will lead you to fixing it.

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Reduce Your Debt and Create Cash Flow

You got yourself into debt and now you're finally admitting that you have to do something about it. Congratulations. Admitting that there is a problem with your debt and cash flow is the first step towards repairing any damage debt has done to your finances. Just because you got yourself into debt to the point where you're paying minimum payments on your credit cards and you're living week to week with your paycheck doesn't mean you have to continue to live that way. By using the following strategies, you will be able to get out of debt and have money left over at the end of the month to either put into a savings account or invest. Stop Spending Recklessly One of the main reasons why people find themselves in debt is because they are spending money and they have no idea where their money is going. Stopping by the donut shop to get a bagel and a cup of coffee on your way to work may only costs you six dollars. But if you multiply it by five days a week and 4.3 weeks per month you can see how that six dollar cup of coffee and bagel can turn into nearly

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$130 out of your budget every month. That had better be really great cup of coffee for the price tag you pay. Now, I'm not saying that you can never stop for a cup of coffee and a bagel. But when you're trying to get out of debt you need to scrutinize every expense you have to see if it's really necessary. You may find that making an extra cup of coffee in the morning at home and putting it in a travel mug is all you need. It will save you a lot of money at the end of the month too. Wait 24 Hours before Making a Purchase You are going to hear me repeat this phrase many times throughout this book. Most people spend recklessly because they are impulse shoppers. That means they see an item that appeals to them and they buy it only because it has been put in front of them. Impulse purchases are the purchases that you did not go to the store to buy in the first place. We all know them when we see them. They are the magazines at the checkout aisle, the really expensive cookies right in front of the checkout aisle, or any other item that is positioned in the store near necessities that you will just happen to see when you are there to pick up something else. Resist the urge to impulse shopping by making a list before you go to the store. Only by what is on your list and nothing more. If you do happen to see

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something at the store and think you might want to buy it, wait 24 hours before making the purchase. If you really want the item, you'll make the extra trip to go back for it on another day. Create a Budget In a later chapter in this book I will show you how to create a workable budget for yourself. When you have a workable budget in place and you stick to it you are less likely to overspend. For instance, if you don't have money in your budget to purchase a new dress, don't do it. If you really want to buy a new dress because you have an occasion coming up, set aside a certain amount of money every week until you have enough money to make the purchase. This will keep you within your budget while allowing you to indulge in that special something that you want to buy. Create a Plan You wouldn't take a road trip across country unless you charted out a course. If you did, you'd end up in Montana instead of Texas or vice versa. The same is true for your finances. If you write it down and the numbers work, you're more likely to reach your goal of getting out of debt than if you are simply aimlessly wandering through trying to fix your financial problems.

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Call Your Creditors Most people make that mistake of running from their creditors when they make a collection call because they're embarrassed or because they don't have the money to pay. This is one of the biggest mistakes you could make if you are trying to get out of debt. How can you fix the problem if you don't talk to the source? The first thing you should do when you are in debt is talk to your creditors and ask them to reduce your interest rate. Tell them about the problem you're having in making your payments and ask them if they have a lower interest rate program you can switch your card to or if they have a consolidation program where you can transfers several cards to a lower rate. If so, you can take one or two of your other credit cards or loans and consolidate them into one loan with a lower interest rate and pay less interest per month. You'll be paying off your debt quicker that if you merely pay the minimum payment on all your cards. And speaking of making minimum payments, you need to change that habit as well. As hard as it may be to increase the amount you're paying each month, if you don't do it, you will continue to be in debt when you reach retirement and pay an enormous amount of interest on items you bought years earlier. Retirement is not a time in your life you want to have the burden of debt.

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If you can't afford to pay more than the minimum payment on all of your cards and loans, then choose the loan or credit card with the highest interest rate. Pay the minimum balance on the lower interest rate cards and put all your reserve cash into the higher card. When that card is paid off, choose the next card with the highest interest rate and so on so forth until all of your credit cards are paid off. Don't make a mistake of paying off one credit card and then thinking your monthly payment you used to use for that card can now be used for spending. Any reserve cash you have used to put towards credit cards should be added to the next card until all your credit cards are paid off. Keep Your Credit Cards Home The urge to spend is sometimes so powerful only because your credit cards are so easily available in your wallet. Remove the temptation, and you no longer have the option of spending money recklessly. Keep your credit cards home in a safe place. Only take one of them out when you have to make a purchase. For instance, if you need new brakes on your car and you have to charge the work because you don't have the money to pay cash, pull out the credit card with the lowest interest rate and use that for the purchase. As soon as you have made your purchase, put the credit card back so you won’t be tempted to use it on other things.

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Make Your Payments on Time When you're in debts, the worst thing you can do is have late payments. Not only will a creditor add late fees, they will be less likely to work with you towards lowering your interest rate if you have black marks against you. Not only that, you will then be paying finance charges on late fees, further putting you in debt. Who wants to pay $35 for a late fee and get nothing out of it and then have to pay interest on that same $35? If you are unsure of the due dates on your credit cards, make a chart and keep it handy on the refrigerator. Check it each week when you get your paycheck. If you have a payment coming due, make sure you send it out 7-10 days before the due date. This ensures it will be posted to your account in time and you will not have to pay a delinquency fee. Online Banking In a later chapter I will talk about the benefits of online banking. If your bank has this feature available to use, sign up and get acquainted with how it works. People who use online banking are less likely to be late with their bills simply because the ease of getting through their bills each month. Think of it, if you are one of those people who dreads sitting down for two hours each month to make out a bill, you'll be surprised and relieved to know that you can get through an entire month's

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worth of bills in a matter of minutes when you use online banking because all the information is already in the file. All you have to do is choose a date to have the payment sent. If you continue to use these strategies to get yourself out of debt you will be amazed at how much money you have left over at the end of the month. But don't run right out and spend that money. In a later chapter we will talk about ways to use your reserve money to stay out of debt and to use for investments.

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You Lost it, Now Get it Back: Practical Solutions to Help Build Your Credit Again Now that you know how to read your credit report, what are you going to do about it? The most logical step is to plot out a course to fix what you can and improve the rest so that your credit rating goes up. First Step Experts say that up to 80% of all credit reports contain entries that don't belong. The first thing you need to do is identify which items, if any, on the report do not belong to you. If there are any accounts that are listed under your name that really belong to someone else, whether it be a family member, or someone you don't know you need to dispute the entry. To do this, fill out a form that comes with the report and follow the instructions the credit bureau gives you on the explanation sheet. It can take up to 30 days to hear back on a dispute. You may be in a hurry to fix any discrepancies that are on your report so that you can increase your credit. But remember, you didn't build your current credit rating overnight, you're not the fix it overnight either. Don't expect that the disputed charge will be erased immediately. The credit bureau will contact the creditor and ask for more information regarding their

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reporting. After 30 days you will get a response from the credit bureau as to whether or not the disputed charge will be removed. If it is found that the reporting is not yours, it will be removed from your report. However, some people are surprised to find that an entry they thought was not valid is actually an account that they forgot about. If that is the case, it will remain on the report. Building your Credit How bad your debt and credit history is will determine how aggressive you need to be to build back your credit. For instance, if you have reviewed your credit report and find only a few blemishes because you've made several late payments, paying all of your bills on time will help you build your credit back immediately. If you have declared bankruptcy because your past spending habits were out of control, you have a little more work ahead you to build back your credit. To show that you are credit worthy, start out by asking a local bank or credit union how you can open a secure credit card. Even if your credit is really bad, you should be able to open up a secure credit card because you are paying for your credit in advance by making a deposit up to the amount of your credit limit.

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There is no risk to the bank, as you can only charge up to the amount you actually have prepaid on the card. It will help you change your spending habits while you slowly rebuild your credit. See if you can get a cosigner for a small loan or credit account. If your credit isn't the best but the cosigner has good credit, a lender will be more likely to extend the loan knowing that there is a backup in place in case you default. But remember, if you do not make the payments on time, the bank will then go to your cosigner to get the money owed. Consider this before asking someone to cosign a loan for you. When your credit is really bad, start small. Instead of trying to get that high credit limit on a Visa or MasterCard account, try applying for a department store credit card. The credit limit will probably start out low as the lender will be unsure about how you will be able to pay back the credit card if your credit history is shot. But as you make purchases with your credit card, and pay them off in full and on time at the end of the month, the credit department will increase the amount you can purchase. This will show up on your credit report and show that you are being responsible with this credit. After six months or so you can try to apply for more credit with any reputable bank. Again, the bank that issues you a Visa may not give you that $5,000 credit limit you want. You may have to start off with a credit limit of $500.

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If that's the case, show that you are responsible by making a purchase and paying it off in full and on time each month. After six months, you can request a small credit increase. But this is not a license to start spending recklessly again. You need to remember what got to into your credit troubles in the first place and make sure that you do not repeat the same mistake. Tips to Get Out of Debt  Take your credit cards out of your wallet. If you don't have your credit cards with you, you can't use them.  Wait 24 hours before making purchases you don't need. Obviously if you need gas for your car to get home, you need to make a purchase. But do you really need to stop at the department store because they're having a 25% off sale? If you don't need it, don't buy it. By waiting 24 hours before making a purchase, you have time to think about whether or not you actually need the item without giving in to your impulse to want to spend money.  Create a budget and stick to it. It does no good to chart a course and then take a different one. If you keep to a working budget, you won't overspend. More importantly, you'll be able to reduce your debt.  Pay off the credit card with the highest interest rate first. You are losing more money per month in finance charges with a high interest credit card. By

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paying the minimum balance on your lower interest credit cards and putting extra money on the high interest credit cards, you'll reduce your debt quicker.  Have your paycheck deposited directly into your bank account. If you don't have to make a special trip to the bank to deposit your check, you're more likely to pay your bills on time. Also, you can't use the fact that there aren't funds in your account as a reason why you didn't pay a bill on time. Another thing to consider is if you can't physically cash your check, there is less risk that you will take out more money than you need to have on hand and end up spending it instead of paying bills.  Cut down on your discretionary expenses. This one tends to hurt people the most but can have a huge impact on how much money you have available to you to pay off outstanding debts. Do you really need to go out to eat every Friday night? No. Instead of going out to eat and paying a high price tag at a fancy restaurant, consider doing take out if you really don't want to cook or purchase quick prepare meals. They are a lot cheaper and you will save a lot of money over the course of the month just by cutting out that one thing. If you shave off the amount of money you use for discretionary spending, you'll be amazed at how much money you have left at the end of the month.

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 Consider your living expenses. You may love the apartment that you're living in because it is close to all the fun spots in town, but can you really afford it? Make sure you aren't spending any more than 33% of your income on housing costs. If you can't afford to live in that fancy apartment, consider moving to an area that is just as nice but a little more affordable.  Avoid taking out a loan to get out of debt. If your credit is bad, then chances are the only loan you could afford is a consolidation loan. Consolidation loans are just a way to combine all of your debt into one loan. While a consolidation loan may seem attractive in some ways, unless you're actually changing your spending habits, you'll fall back into the same trap. Plus, not all consolidation loans are given at a low interest-rate. You may end up paying a higher interest-rate that what you were paying for some of your credit cards.  Call your creditor to lower your interest-rate. This is one strategy that most people don't even consider. However, it should be the first. Before you look anywhere else, call your bank and see if you can have the interest rate reduced. If you've been late on payments, chances are you've racked up some fees and a higher interest rate as a penalty. Some lenders will consider how you have paid over the last few months. If you have kept up-to-date with your payment over the last few months, they may agree to lower your rate or

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they will give you a date that they will consider lowering it if you continue to pay on time. This can make a huge difference over the course of paying off your debt.  Be a bargain shopper. Have you ever seen someone who was walking around with an expensive pair of shoes or designer clothes and wondered how they can afford those things on their salary? They may not make a fortune, but they may be a savvy shopper. To get the bargains you need to hunt out the deals. Instead of paying full price for an item, shop around on the Internet to see if you can find the same item at a lower price. Consider asking yourself if you'd be just as happy with last year's handbag at a discount as you would if you paid full price for this year's handbag? When you're trying to get out of debt, and want to still enjoy some of the things you used to, being a bargain hunter is worth it.  Make more money. Most people get into debt because they're spending beyond their means. If you don't want to make drastic lifestyle changes, consider getting a second job or working overtime at your current job to increase your cash flow. More money coming in doesn't give you a license to spend more. It will give you more cash on hand to pay off your debt.

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Remember, you didn't get into debt overnight. You won't get out of debt overnight. But if you follow these strategies consistently, you will get out of debt quicker so that you can begin to build your credit back.

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Establishing a Working Budget for Yourself Most people have found themselves overextended because they don't have a clear picture of how their money is being spent. Every time you go to a store, money flies out of your wallet without you having any kind of checks and balances as to how your spending will affect the bottom line. Maybe you do very well keeping your spending at stores in check. But perhaps you are surfing the web and using your credit cards to pay for purchases without keeping track of how much you are spending. When that bill or bills come in the mail, you suddenly get sticker shock and scratch your head wondering how you spent that much money without realizing it. It's a common tale and one that gets a lot of people in trouble. Applying for many credit cards, and then using all of them when one gets maxed out, purchasing every service available on cable, buying the fancy sports car with the convertible top, etc., is only okay if you have the ability to pay for it all at the end of the month. If you don't know how much are spending, then you don't know if what you are spending is within your budget. That brings us to the dreaded "B" word. Budget. Let's face it, part of the fun of spending is doing it with wild abandon. Very few people can enjoy those high moments of spending without crashing down at the end of the month when they

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realize that the bills they have to pay are far higher than the amount of money they have in the bank to pay those bills. This is where the charging cycle becomes dangerous. To counter the need to spend, many people turn to their credit cards with the idea that they can always be paid off later. After all, that is the principle of using credit cards. However, even with your credit cards, paying a minimum balance, which many people who have credit problems do, only puts you further into debt. Let's take a look at a simple purchase of a television set costing $300. Most people would look at that $300 TV and not bat an eye at putting it on their charge card. If you have the ability to pay off that TV in one or two pay cycles, then there is no problem. However if you don't, that $300 TV will end up costing you a whole lot more. Let's look at the actual numbers. If you purchase that TV with cash you have in the bank, the total cost of the TV is $300 plus tax. For the sake of this example I will use a 5% sales tax. So the total cost of the television is $315. Now, if you put that television on your credit card, which has an interest rate of 19.9%, and pay it off in full in two pay periods, the total cost of the television set is $322.86. If you put that television on your credit card and pay just the minimum payment each month, it will take you nearly 3 years to pay it off at a price tag of

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$460. Even if you pay more than the minimum, say $30 per month, it will still take you 12 months to pay off the television and it will cost you $360.00. Remember, your payment on your credit card will not be fixed as you will probably be charging other items throughout the year as well, putting yourself in further debt. Establishing a workable budget can help you keep your finances on track and prevent you from having to overpay for items that you want to purchase. In the last chapter I talked about ways to decrease your debt. In this chapter I'll talk about ways that you can establish a working budget that will give you some wiggle room to make purchases with cash instead of automatically pulling out your credit card and charging. And if you do charge, I'll show you how you can pay off your charge cards quickly so that you don't end up paying more interested on item than you need to. If you don't know where your money is going, you can't plan ahead for purchases. You can't rely on what your mother or brother or best friend does to stay on track. Every budget is different because each person's circumstances are

different. You may have expenses that someone else does not have. Where your neighbor budgets $20 per week to spend on gas to get to and from work, your budget may need to be $50 because you have an SUV and drive 30 miles each way and she has a compact car and works right up the street from home.

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Your budget will consist of fixed items as well as non-fixed items that need to be paid each month. A fixed item is something that is paid each month and the payment remains the same. An example of a fixed item would be rent, or a car payment. A non-fixed item would be something like a utility bill or paying a co-pay for a doctor's appointment. Let's start with the fixed items. If it helps, you can use the budget chart located in Appendix C at the back of this e-book. Make a list of every bill that you pay each month that never changes and enter the amount you pay. (Do not include your credit cards in this list. Credit cards or revolving debt will have its own list.) Then make a list of all the things that you pay every month that are not fixed. You want to include your grocery bill, utilities, and any bill that you periodically pay that is not due on a monthly basis. There are ways to make some non-fixed items, like utility bills, a fixed item. Depending on where you are living in the country, you may have fluctuations throughout the year that will determine how much you pay each month for your utilities. If you live in an area with harsh winters, you may have a high utility bill during the winter months but not in the summer months. If so, figure out how much it will cost for the full year and then divide that amount by 12.

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Or, if you go visit a doctor every two or three month and are responsible for paying a co-pay for your doctor's visit, include the total amount that you pay per year divided by 12. Put that number in the monthly column. If you pay your car insurance in six installments, take the amount you pay per year and divided by 12. Keep doing this for all your periodic non-fixed bills. Once you have all of your monthly obligations listed in either the fixed or nonfixed columns, take any credit cards you have and choose the one with the best interest and a moderate credit limit and list that in a column all by itself. Remember, these credit cards should be all paid off after using the strategies we talked about in the last chapter. While you can certainly use this budget model to get yourself out of debt, the goal once you are out of debt is to use this budget to stay out of debt. Take the rest of the credit cards with zero balances and put them away where you can't get at them when you are shopping. Do not use them or cancel them. To keep your credit in good standing you need to show lenders that your debt to owe ratio is good. This means that the amount of credit available to you is at least 50% higher than what you owe. The lower the amount that you owe, the more appealing you look to a lender when you apply for a major loan. To achieve this, you must be disciplined with your spending. Make sure that if you have to make a

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purchase with a credit card, that you are only using one and that you pay it off quickly. After you have all your monthly expenses laid out for you in a list, and you have tabulated your monthly income from all sources, enter all the data into the budget chart located in Appendix C. This chart will help you get a snapshot view of your monthly income and expenses at a glance. In the first column, you want to list what your actual income is using your base pay. There may be times when you might work overtime or receive money from another source. That extra money is not going to be part of your budget unless it is money that you receive on a consistent basis. If you normally work five hours overtime every week, you can include that in the budget. However, if you only work overtime every other week or a different number of hours each week, do not include that in your budget. Continue entering in all the fixed item expenses and the average per month for the non-fixed expenses until you have completed the column. You'll notice that there is a section toward the bottom of the budget chart for investments and savings. You may not have been able to save in the past, but we are going to include that in your new budget plan.

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Because you so diligently worked at reducing your debt by using the strategies in the last chapter you should notice that your income for the month is now higher than your debt for the month. Using a calculator, figure out how much money you have left at the end of the month after you have taken into consideration your fixed and non-fixed bills. Remember, we haven't added in "extras" at this point. We will do that next. To bring in cash flow or extra money at the end of the month, you need to be aware of all the extras you spend throughout the month. These extras will be things like entertainment, such as going out to the movies or to dinner. It'll also be things like the cost for haircuts and new clothes. Obviously there are times when you need to buy new clothes for work or to get a haircut. But when you're budgeting, you need to make a decision as to whether or not you can really afford a $90 pair of jeans or if you can live with a $25 pair of jeans. You also need to decide if going out to dinner every Friday night or making a nice meal at home is a better choice for your budget. Oh, and those highlights you wanted to have put in your hair. Are they really worth it? You may be just as happy with the professional cut and color as you would if you were to have the more expensive beauty treatment.

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Keep in mind that there is no right or wrong answer when you're taking a hard look at your expenses for all these extras. But they will impact your goals. If you choose to purchase the $25 pair of jeans and put the extra $65 you save in the bank, you will be in a better position to make a larger purchase down the road without having to use your credit card. That is our goal. Before now, you may have been living week to week on

your paycheck, borrowing from Paul to pay Peter, or so the saying goes. But you won't be doing that anymore. To improve your credit and to stay out of debt you need to establish a nest egg for yourself for those times when you do need to make a major purchase. I'm not just talking about buying a television set, as I illustrated in the prior example. I'm talking about major expenses like when the brakes go on your car or the furnace in your house suddenly needs to be fixed. Expenses like these that are not part of your daily living expenses can end up crippling you financially if you have not planned for them ahead of time. To plan for these types of the expenses, you need to put aside a certain amount of money in a miscellaneous fund. You won't use the miscellaneous fund every month. But if you plan for it correctly by putting aside a small amount, when you do suddenly have a major car or house repair, you will have some cash on hand

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to help with the expenses. You will also have planned for additional money every month to put on a credit card if you do need to make a credit card purchase to cover the repair. Once you have established your entire budget, you need to stick to it. I can't stress that enough. If you don't have enough money in your budget to stop at the donut shop for coffee every morning before work, don't do it. Instead, try purchasing a travel mug and making a little extra coffee in the morning to take with you to work. It will cost a whole lot less and it won't eat into your budget. Small deviations from your budget, if done often enough, can make a big difference when you are trying to stay on track. As you receive your income and pay for your expenses each month, log them into your budget planner. The first column will remain the same each month so you can fill that out and make copies of it for the future. The second column is where you will enter the actual figures for each month. Make sure you also enter the difference between what you budgeted and what was actually spent. If you have a financial software program, you can use that instead of the chart in the back. The choice is yours. Some people like using a paper and pencil, and some people are computer savvy. It doesn't matter either way as long as you take the steps to do it.

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At the end of the month take a look at the last column which is marked "difference". You'll want to have more plusses than minuses in that column. In fact, if you've figured your budget correctly, it should be all plusses. You have reason to cheer if it is. Setting Goals You should be thrilled to see extra money at the end of the month after you've paid all your bills. But your work doesn't stop there. To give yourself a good nest egg for the future, you need to consider investing in a retirement account, CD program, savings account or in other investments that will make your money work for you. Instead of letting all that extra money sit in your account, establish a goal to invest a certain amount of money in a 401(k) program, a savings account, and an investment account. It is much easier to work these things into your monthly budget than it is to suddenly come up with $2000 for a major repair when something goes wrong or when you want to buy a high ticket item. Once you have established how much you can put into these accounts, make sure you do it. To avoid the temptation to take that money out and use it, pay yourself first before you pay any of your other creditors. Remember, you have

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worked towards getting yourself out of debt. Now you want to work towards building your net worth and establishing some security for the future. The best time to establish these funds are when you are in your early 20s. Financial models show that when a person right out of college starts investing in savings and other investments, they have the ability to create incredible wealth. Don't despair if you're in your late 40s and you haven't spent the last 20 years saving. There are many people who don't even begin saving until later in life, and while you do need to be more aggressive, it doesn't mean you can't achieve your financial goals. One thing is for certain. If you don't start, you won't reap the benefits. You'll find that whatever money you are putting away is money that you don't miss. In the long run, you'll be glad that you took the steps to save for the future.

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Establishing a New Credit Direction: Goals for the Future Congratulations. Not only have you reduced your debt and repaired your credit, you have established yourself as credit worthy in the financial community. If you're not quite there, that's okay. Using these strategies you can stay on the right path to keeping your newfound credit rating great and further repair a poor credit history. Too often, someone who has struggled with their debt so that it has affected their credit rating in a negative way ends up falling back into old habits that lead to bringing them right back to where they started. With bad debts and poor credit. You don't want that to happen to you! Budget, Budget, Budget It may be the dreaded "B" word that everyone hates, but establishing a workable budget and sticking to it is the best way to keep you from slipping back into old habits. After all, if those old habits were so great you would not have gotten into the financial trouble you did. You may be thinking to yourself that you have all this extra money now that you've paid down all your debts. That may be so, but that doesn't mean that you can now start spending recklessly.

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Instead of going out on a shopping spree every week, work flexible spending into your budget. This flexible spending can be used in any way you choose. If you want to allot $50 a week so that you have the freedom to buy that new dress or new pair of shoes, that is fine. As long as you don't go over the amount that you have allotted for the week, you won't run into trouble. You can even skip a week and save that money for the next week so you have more to spend when you do go shopping. Resist the urge to make these purchases on a credit card. If you have the money in the bank to purchase with cash, do it. Unless you know for sure that you can put a purchase on the credit card and pay it in full at the end of the month, further showing your creditworthiness, do not make the purchase. Wait a Day Most of us make what is known as impulse purchases. These are purchases that we make because we just happened to "see" them when we are out shopping for something else. You know what they are. They are usually stacked up along the aisles near the cash register. When lines are long, you have nothing better to do than look at the magazine's or books or little electronics that are nice, but that you don't necessarily need.

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While it might be hard to resist dropping a small $.99 candy bar into your shopping cart because you know it won't make that big a difference, buying a new $100 coffee maker because you just happened to see it may blow your budget. The best thing to do is to wait a day so that you can decide whether you really need this new coffee maker or not. Chances are, you probably won't make a special trip just to buy this coffeemaker and you'll realize that you probably don't need it. But if you do, you can always go back to the store and purchase it after you've had a little bit of time to think about whether that $100 purchase will impact your budget. . Take Charge of Your Credit Cards Always remember that you are in charge of your finances. You decide whether or not you need to purchase something just like you can decide whether or not you are going to keep your credit cards on hand at all times. For instance, if you see a widescreen television that you know would look awesome in your living room, but you don't have the money in your budget to buy it, you are less likely to take it home anyway when you do not have a credit card that you can simply pull out of your wallet and hand the cashier. By leaving your credit cards at home and only taking them out when you know that you need to make a large purchase for a specific reason, you're less likely to use

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your credit cards impulsively for things that you don't really need. This will ensure that you're thinking about your purchases and not regretting them after you make them. Let's face it, even if you don't regret buying that awesome widescreen TV that you and your friends love to enjoy when you're watching Monday Night Football, you may be living with the decision of charging it for a long time to come if you don't have the money to pay for and it eats into your budget. So keep the credit cards at home and in a safe place. Only take them out when you have thought about your purchases and know how it is going to affect your finances. Sign up for Online Banking One of the reasons people run into trouble with their bills is because they find it daunting to sit down with their checkbook and write them out. There are 101 excuses why they put off their bills until tomorrow night. Maybe you lost the envelope with the address. Maybe you ran out of stamps. Maybe your favorite blue pen is out of ink. Maybe the dog ate your checkbook. The reasons can be as serious as you were suddenly called away on an emergency or as ridiculous as you can find your calculator. Don't allow this to happen to you. One night turns into two nights and before you know it, your bills are late.

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While you can't help being called away on an emergency every now and then, you can fight off the crazy excuses we sometimes use to get out of doing our bills. One of the ways that you can take away the stress involved in doing your monthly bills is by signing up for an online banking account with your bank. Online banking accounts allow you to not only view a history of your transactions with the bank to date, but it also allows you to set up online bill payment. If your bank does not have this feature, you may want to consider finding a bank in your local area that does have this feature. Here are some of the benefits to online banking. ◊ All of your monthly obligations will be located in one place making it easier for you to keep track of what is due and when. ◊ Instead of handwriting out every check, you will simply be able to click on a bill, and insert the dollar amount and date that it will be paid. You can preset bills to be sent out on a recurring basis for things like your mortgage or rent payment. Or you can set up a one-time payment for bills that have different amounts due or for bills that are not paid on a regular basis, such as a doctor bill. ◊ You can write out your bills for the entire month in a matter of minutes rather than hours. For instance, if you have $2000 worth of payments

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to consistently make every month, you can set them up to be paid out on the date you want and then forget about them. As long as you leave enough time for the payment to be processed with the bank, your bills will be sent on time. ◊ You can make electronic payments without additional fees. How many times have you forgotten about a bill only to have to call up the 800number, pay the bill over the phone and be assessed a fee, just so your payment will not be late? With online banking you'll know which bills your bank can pay electronically, which will give you a direct transfer from your bank account to your creditor. Your bank can still make payments by mail to people who do not have electronic access, for instance your doctor's office. You will need to make sure you post the bill to be paid within the allotted time the bank gives you to make sure that it gets sent out in time. Many monthly bills, such as your utility bills or your mortgage, can be made electronically. ◊ You can automatically connect a savings account to a checking account so that you can transfer money as you need it. If for some reason your checking account runs low and you think you might bounce a check, you can go online on any computer and transfer funds so that you don't

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bounce a check. The bank does not need to be open for you to do this. This is especially convenient for people who can't get to the bank during normal banking hours. As you can see, the benefits of having online banking are many. Direct Deposit If your employer gives you the option of having your paycheck automatically deposited into your checking account, make sure you sign up for this benefit. A lot of people put off making payments because they can't get to the bank to make a deposit. They then want their check to clear before they send out a payment for a bill to avoid having that payment bounce. When you have your paycheck automatically deposited into your checking account you'll know that on that day you can set your payments to automatically go out. If for some reason you don't have enough money to make a payment, you can adjust the amount of bills that are going out on that day based on the amount of money being deposited into your account. This gives you a safeguard against bouncing a check while keeping you on track with your bills. It also keeps you from spending portions of your paycheck that are slated to be used to pay for bills. If the transactions are all done on the same

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day, you know that what is left over is the money that you can spend on other things. Use Financial Software When you can see exactly how you are spending your money, you are less likely to increase your debt and spend in a way that will affect your credit negatively. There are many financial software programs available that can help you keep track of your spending and even help you see exactly how you're spending your money. You don't need to spend a lot of money on this software. Buy only what you need. Some software programs are included when you buy a computer. Check to see if your computer already has a financial software program like Microsoft Money or Quicken. If not, don't feel like you need to buy the most expensive one with all the bells and whistles for a home business. You can purchase a basic budgeting program that will handle a simple home budget.

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Appendix A: Forms and Letters Remove Inquiry– Creditor– Example#1 Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Example #1 Dispute Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Example#2 Validate Debt Item– Collector – Temporarily Stops Collection by Law - Example#1 Validate Debt Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Followup 30 days - Example#1 Validate Debt Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Followup after 60 days Example#1 Dispute Item “Not Mine” – Example #1 Request to Describe Investigation Procedures– Credit Bureau – Example#1 Validate Debt Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Example#1 Validate Debt Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Follow up after 60 days--Example#1 Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#1 Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#2 Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#3 Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#4 Intention to File Complaint with FTC– Credit Bureau – Example#1 Intention to File a Complaint with the FTC– Follow up after 30 days - Example#1 Notice of Intent to File Complaint to FTC - Credit Bureau – Followup after 60 days– Example#1

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Remove Inquiry– Creditor– Example#1 <Creditor Name Here> Credit Bureau Dispute Department Fax #: <Fax Number Here> 3/12/2003 RE: Unauthorized Credit Inquiry According to my most recent credit report, your company is currently reporting to the three credit bureaus that I applied for credit with your organization. I did not granting you authorization to review my credit report. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires that a creditor be able to verify the written authorization of the consumer giving the creditor permission to review their credit. If you can provide a copy of a credit application authorizing the disclosure of my credit files with my signature, I will accept the inquiry. If a signed authorization cannot be found please remove the inquiry from the three main credit bureaus. The presence of this inquiry is adversely affecting my credit report and is impeding my ability to obtain necessary credit. Time is of the essence so I would greatly appreciate a response from you within thirty (30) days. Please mail me the copy of the signed application or a letter indicating your intention to delete the inquiry. Thank you, <Your Name Here> <Your SSN Here>

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Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Example #1

<Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date Dear Sir/Madam: I am writing to dispute the validity of the above referenced item pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act. The Fair Credit Reporting Act requires you to verify the validity of the item within 30 days. If the validity can not be verified, you are obligated by law to remove the item. In the event that you can not verify the item pursuant to the Fair Credit Reporting Act, and you continue to list the disputed item on my credit report I will find it necessary to sue you for actual damages and declaratory relief under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. Because the Fair Credit Reporting Act provides concurrent jurisdiction in federal and state courts, I shall elect to use the <insert jurisdiction in which you reside, e.g. San Diego County (OR) Superior Court> to bring appropriate action against you. While I prefer not to litigate, I will use the courts as needed to enforce my rights under the Fair Credit Reporting Act. I look forward to an uneventful resolution of this matter. Sincerely, Signature

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<Your Name Here> <Your SSN Here>

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Dispute Item- Creditor or Credit Bureau - Example#2 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Account # _______ /Original Creditor's Name Dear Sir/Madam: This letter is a formal complaint that you are reporting inaccurate and incomplete credit information. I am distressed that you have included the information below in my credit profıle and that you have failed to maintain reasonable procedures in your operations to assure maximum possible accuracy in the credit reports you publish. Credit reporting laws ensure that bureaus report only 100% accurate credit information. Every step must be taken to assure the information reported is completely accurate and correct. The following information therefore needs to be re-investigated. I respectfully request to be provided proof of this alleged item, specifıcally the contract, note or other instrument bearing my signature. Failing that, the item must be deleted from the report as soon as possible: Name of Creditor/Agency, Account # The listed item is entirely inaccurate and incomplete, and as such represents a very serıous error in your reporting. Please delete this misleading information and supply a corrected credit profıle to all creditors who have received a copy within the last six months, or the last two years for employment purposes. Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. Under federal law, you have thirty (30) days to complete your re-investigation. Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information is hereby requested as well, to be provided within fıfteen (15) days of the completion of your re-investigation. Sincerely,

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Signature <Your Name Here> <Your SSN Here>

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Validate Debt Item- Collector - Temporarily Stops Collection by Law - Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Account # ________/Original Creditor's Name Dear Sir/Madam: Thank you for your recent ınquiry. This is not a refusal to pay, but a notice that your claim is being disputed. This is a request for validation made pursuant to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. Please complete and return the attached disclosure request form. Be advised that I am not requesting "verifıcation" that you have my mailing address, I am requesting a "validation;" that is, competent evidence that I have some contractual obligation to pay you. You should also be aware that sending unsubstantiated demands for payment through the United States Mail System might constitute mail fraud under federal and state law. You may wish to consult with a competent legal advisor before your next communication with me. Your failure to satisfy this request within the requirements of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act will be construed as your absolute waiver of any and all claims against me, and your tacit agreement to compensate me for costs and attorney fees. Sincerely, Signature

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<Your Name Here> <Your SSN Here>

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Validate Debt Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Followup 30 days Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Dispute Letter of <insert date> Dear Sir/Madam: This letter is formal notice that you have failed to respond in a timely manner to my dispute letter of <insert date>, deposited by registered mail with the U.S. Postal Service on that date. Federal law requires you to respond within thirty (30) days, yet you have failed to respond. Failure to comply with these federal regulations by credit reporting agencies are investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (see 15 USC 41, et seq.). I am maintaining a careful record of my communications with you for the purpose of filing a complaint with the FTC should you continue in your non-compliance. I further remind you that, as in Wenger v. Trans Union Corp., No. 95-6445 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 14, 1995), you may be liable for your willful non-compliance. Be aware that I am making a final goodwill attempt to have you clear up this matter. You have 15 days to cure. For your benefit, and as a gesture of my goodwill, I will restate my dispute. The following information needs to be verified and, following failure to verify, deleted from the report as soon as possible: Name of Creditor/Agency, Account # The listed item is entirely inaccurate and incomplete, and represents a very serious error in your reporting. Please delete this misleading information and supply a corrected credit profile to all creditors who have received a copy within the last six months, or the last two years for employment purposes. Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. Under federal law you had thirty (30) days to complete your re-investigation, yet you have failed to respond. Do not delay any further.

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Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information is hereby requested as well, to be provided within fifteen (15) days of the completion of your re-investigation.

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Sincerely, Signature Your Name and Address Here

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Validate Debt Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Followup after 60 days Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date

RE: Dispute Letter of <insert date> Dear Sir/Madam: As I have not heard back from you in over 60 days regarding my notice of dispute dated <insert date>, and you have not supplied the demanded proof of the alleged debt, under the doctrine of estoppel by silence, Engelhardt v Gravens (Mo) 281 SW 715, 719, I may presume that no proof of the alleged debt, nor therefore any such debt, in fact exists. In a good faith effort to resolve this matter amicably, I restate my demand for proof of the debt, specifically the alleged contract or other instrument bearing my signature, as well as proof of your authority in this matter. Absent such proof, you must terminate this collection action and correct any erroneous reports of this debt as mine. For the record, I state again that as I have no account with you, nor am I your customer, nor have I entered into a contract with you, I must ask for the following information: 1. Please evidence your authorization under 15 USC 1692 (e) and 15 USC 1692 (f) in this alleged matter. 2. What is your authorization of law for your collection of information? 3. What is your authorization of law for your collection of this alleged debt? 4. Please evidence your authorization to do business or operate in the state of Florida. 5. Please evidence proof of the alleged debt, including specifically the alleged contract or other instrument bearing my signature. You have fifteen (15) days from receipt of this notice to respond. Your failure to respond, on point, in writing, hand signed, and in a timely manner, will work as a waiver to any and all of your claims in this matter, and will entitle me to presume that you sent your letter(s) in error, and that this matter is permanently closed.

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Your continued silence is unacceptable. Either provide the proof or correct the record to remove the invalid debt from my credit files with the three primary credit-reporting agencies. You are

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currently in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Act. Failure to respond within 15 days of receipt of this registered letter will result in a small claims action against your company. I will be seeking $5,000 in damages for the following: 1. Defamation 2. Negligent Enablement of Identity Fraud 3. Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act After obtaining the judgment against your company, I will obtain a Writ of Execution from the Sheriff’s office in your county and I will begin the process of attaching property or funds to satisfy the judgment. For the purposes of 15 USC 1692 et seq., this Notice has the same effect as a dispute to the validity of the alleged debt and a dispute to the validity of your claims. This Notice is an attempt to correct your records, and any information received from you will be collected as evidence should any further action be necessary. This is a request for information only, and is not a statement, election, or waiver of status. I affirm under penalty of perjury under the Laws of the Land for the United States of America, that the foregoing is true and correct, to the best of my knowledge and belief. Sincerely, Signature <Your Name Here>

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D i s p u t e I t e m " N o t M i n e " - Example #1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Account # _____ Dear Credit Card Company I have recently received a copy of my credit report. The Equifax report had an account listed from your company as a credit card. I disputed the account with the credit bureau as "not mine" but it recently came back as verifıed. I am writing this letter to you in an effort to get this removed. Please delete your information from my credit reports. I have never had an account with your company. If someone has opened an account in my name, please close it immediately before further harm is done. I am requesting that you notify all of credit bureaus that this account is "disputed" or that you delete this account until this matter is resolved. This is required by the Fair Credit Reporting Act. If there is any paperwork that I need to sign to confirm that this account is not mine, please send me the required documents. This is a written dispute of the this account per the Fair Credit Reporting Act, the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and the Fair Credit Billing Act. Please be aware that I am exercising all of my rights per these laws and all other applicable laws protecting me. Sincerely, Signature

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<Your Name Here> <Your SSN Here>

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Re q ue s t to De s c ri be I n v e s ti ga ti o n Pro c e d ure s- Cr e di t B ure a u - E x am p l e # 1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date Dear Sir/Madam: This letter is a formal request for the description of the procedures used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the disputed information, including the business name, address, and telephone number of any furnisher of information contacted in connection with this reinvestigation. I am disappointed that you have failed to maintain reasonable procedures to assure complete accuracy in the information you publish, and insist you comply with the law by providing the requested information within the 15 days allowed. For your benefıt, and as a gesture of my goodwill, I will restate the relevant dispute: Name of Creditor/Agency, Account # As already stated, the listed item is inaccurate and incomplete, and is a very serious error in reporting. Please supply a corrected credit profıle to all creditors who have received a copy within the last 6 months, or the last 2 years for employment purposes. Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. Sincerely, Signature <Your Name and Address Here> Your SSN

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Validate Debt Item- Creditor or Credit Bureau - Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Account # ________/Original Creditor's Name Dear Sir/Madam: This letter is a formal complaint that you are reporting inaccurate and incomplete credit information. I am distressed that you have included the information below in my credit profıle and that you have failed to maintain reasonable procedures in your operations to assure maximum possible accuracy in the credit reports you publish. Credit reporting laws ensure that bureaus report only 100% accurate credit information. Every step must be taken to assure the information reported is completely accurate and correct. The following information therefore needs to be re-investigated. I respectfully request to be provided proof of this alleged item, specifıcally the contract, note or other instrument bearing my signature. Failing that, the item must be deleted from the report as soon as possible: Name of Creditor/Agency, Account # The listed item is entirely inaccurate and incomplete, and as such represents a very serious error in your reporting. Please delete this misleading information and supply a corrected credit profıle to all creditors who have received a copy within the last six months, or the last two years for employment purposes. Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. Under federal law, you have thirty (30) days to complete your re-investigation. Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information is hereby requested as well, to be provided within fıfteen (15) days of the completion of your re-investigation. Sincerely,

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Signature <Your Name Here> <Your SSN>

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Validate Debt Item– Creditor or Credit Bureau – Follow up after 60 days-Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Dispute Letter of <insert date> Dear Sir/Madam: As I have not heard back from you in over 60 days regarding my notice of dispute dated <insert date>, and you have not supplied the demanded proof of the alleged debt, under the doctrine of estoppel by silence, Engelhardt v Gravens (Mo) 281 SW 715, 719, I may presume that no proof of the alleged debt, nor therefore any such debt, in fact exists. In a good faith effort to resolve this matter amicably, I restate my demand for proof of the debt, specifically the alleged contract or other instrument bearing my signature, as well as proof of your authority in this matter. Absent such proof, you must terminate this collection action and correct any erroneous reports of this debt as mine. For the record, I state again that as I have no account with you, nor am I your customer, nor have I entered into a contract with you, I must ask for the following information: 1. Please evidence your authorization under 15 USC 1692 (e) and 15 USC 1692 (f) in this alleged matter. 2. What is your authorization of law for your collection of information? 3. What is your authorization of law for your collection of this alleged debt? 4. Please evidence your authorization to do business or operate in the state of Florida. 5. Please evidence proof of the alleged debt, including specifically the alleged contract or other instrument bearing my signature. You have fifteen (15) days from receipt of this notice to respond. Your failure to respond, on point, in writing, hand signed, and in a timely manner, will work as a waiver to any and all of your claims in this matter, and will entitle me to presume that you sent your letter(s) in error, and that this matter is permanently closed. Your continued silence is unacceptable. Either provide the proof or correct the record to remove the invalid debt from my credit files with the three primary credit-reporting

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agencies. You are currently in violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act and the Fair Debt Collection Act.

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Failure to respond within 15 days of receipt of this registered letter will result in a small claims action against your company. I will be seeking $5,000 in damages for the following: 1. Defamation 2. Negligent Enablement of Identity Fraud 3. Violation of the Fair Credit Reporting Act After obtaining the judgment against your company, I will obtain a Writ of Execution from the Sheriff’s office in your county and I will begin the process of attaching property or funds to satisfy the judgment. For the purposes of 15 USC 1692 et seq., this Notice has the same effect as a dispute to the validity of the alleged debt and a dispute to the validity of your claims. This Notice is an attempt to correct your records, and any information received from you will be collected as evidence should any further action be necessary. This is a request for information only, and is not a statement, election, or waiver of status. I affirm under penalty of perjury under the Laws of the Land for the United States of America, that the foregoing is true and correct, to the best of my knowledge and belief. Sincerely, Signature <Your Name and Address Here>

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Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here>

Dear Credit Reporting Agency Name I recently purchased a credit report from you that appears to have some serious errors. I know that I haven’t always been perfectly on-time with my bills, but I also know that you have some serious mistakes that make me look much worse than I actually am. For one thing, you seem to have listed several things that just shouldn’t go on my report. These are highlighted on my report (attached) in yellow highlighter. Also, I noticed that you show some late payments that are wrong, based on my recollection. Please correct the following: Ames Home Loan #264513456 Gardener Finance #23456165 First USA M/C #54621114564343453 I appreciate your attention to this. Heaven knows, my own, real credit mistakes are bad enough. I don’t need any mistakes making it even harder. Please get back with me very soon to confirm that you have deleted the listings noted (or corrected the erroneous lates.) Regards, JohnDoe

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555-3454444

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Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#2 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Dear Sir/Madam, I am very upset over the credit report I recently received! This is totally out of control. I am amazed that the government allows you to make such obvious errors that damage people so badly. I am willing to do whatever it takes to make you responsible for poor reporting practices if you do not respond quickly and accurately to this letter. I don’t know where you got the following accounts. They shouldn’t even be appearing on my file, from what I know (and I keep good track of my bills!) GMC #256465121, USWest #23151421, Acme Collections #25412345345122, and Utopia Funding #2675176542. Please remove these with all haste. Also, I noticed on some of the accounts that DO belong to me that you have some very questionable information. I’ve looked back on my own records and I can’t substantiate a number of your entries. In particular, the late notations on the following appear to be downright wrong: Cobble Bank #52346, First Federal #2368 and MBNA Visa #4447826782094765. Please check it out and remove those late notes, as well. Thank you for your attention. I apologize for being so angry. These oversights on your part are causing me a lot of trouble financially. Thank you, John Doe 000-00-0000 123 Main St. Anytown, MT 55555

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Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#3 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Dear Sir/Madam,

This letter is a formal complaint that you are reporting inaccurate and incomplete credit information on my Credit Report. I understand that mistakes happen but your inaccurate information could cost me in higher interest rates and I have enough expenses as it is. Can you please investigate the following information and either remove it or at the least send me the information that you used to add it to my report. Include each item you are disputing here. John Doe 000-00-0000 123 Main St. Anytown,MT 55555

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Dispute Items – Credit Bureau – Reader Submitted Example#4 <Creditor Name Here> Credit Bureau Dispute Department Fax #: <Fax Number Here> 3/12/2003 RE: Account # <Account Number Here> Dear Credit Department, Your company is currently reporting a negative listing to the three major credit bureaus (Experian, Trans Union, and Equifax) regarding the above referenced account. Based on my recollection and my records, I can find no reason for you reporting such a history. If you'll review your records I think that you will find your reported notations are inaccurate. The erroneous status of your credit reporting agency records is unacceptable and is preventing me from obtaining necessary financing. Pursuant to Title 15, Section 1666 of the United States Code, I formally request the following documentary evidence pertaining to my account: 1. A copy of the original credit application showing the terms of the agreement. 2. A summary of all account activities, including all payments made, late charges, interest, date of payments received, date of payments posted, charges made, and date of charges posted. 2. Copies of all documents and financial instruments used to pay the disputed late payments. 4. Copies of all charge slips, invoices, promissory notes, and all other documents proving indebtedness. 5. Copies of all documents sent to me regarding my account. This information and documentation is critical and time is of the essence. Within less than thirty (30) days, I will be damaged partially because of the discrepancy with your reported records. The above noted code requires your response within thirty (30) days. Your prompt attention will be greatly appreciated. I hereby request that your response be mailed to the address listed below.

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If you find that your information and documentation does not support the negative history reported to the three credit bureaus, I invite you to submit a completed Universal Data Form to said bureaus in order to remove the negative notations. Upon removal of the negative

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notations, I agree to hold your company harmless from any and all inconvenience and/or damage related thereto. I appreciate your prompt response and cooperation. Sincerely, Joe Doe 123 Main St. Anytown, USA 55555 SSN: 000-00-0000

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Intention to File Complaint with FTC– Credit Bureau – Example#1

<Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Dispute Letter of <insert date>, Follow-up Letter of <insert date> NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE COMPLAINT Dear Sir/Madam: This letter shall serve as formal notice of my intent to file a complaint with the FTC, due to your blatant and objectionable disregard of the law. As indicated by the attached copies of letters and mailing receipts, you have received and accepted through registered mail my dispute letter dated <insert date>, as well as my followup letter dated <insert date>. To date you have not done your duty as mandated by law. Your non-compliance with federal law is unacceptable, your disregard for it contemptible. Rest assured I shall hold you accountable. Federal law requires you to respond within 30 days, yet you have failed to respond. Failure to comply with these federal regulations by credit reporting agencies are investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (see 15 USC 41, et seq.). I am maintaining a careful record of my communications with you on this matter, for the purpose of filing a complaint with the FTC should you continue in your non-compliance. I further remind you that, as in Wenger v. Trans Union Corp., No. 95-6445 (C.D.Cal. Nov. 14, 1995), you may be liable for your willful noncompliance. For the record, the following information is being erroneously included on my credit report, as I have advised you on two separate occasions, more than 75 days and again 40 days ago: Name of Creditor/Agency, Account # If you do not immediately remove this inaccurate and incomplete information, I will file a formal complaint with the FTC. Should you continue to operate with complete disregard for the law, I intend to seek redress in civil action for recovery of damages, costs, and attorneys fees. For this purpose I am carefully documenting these events, including the lack of response REQUIRED under law from you.

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You are further directed to supply a corrected credit profile to all creditors who have received a

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copy within the last 6 months, or the last 2 years for employment purposes. Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. Under federal law, you had 30 days to complete your re-investigation, yet you have failed to respond. Further delays are inexcusable. Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information is hereby requested as well, to be provided within 15 days of the completion of your re-investigation. Sincerely, Signature <Your Name and Address Here> <Your SSN>

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Intention to File a Complaint with the FTC- Follow up after 30 days - Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Dispute Letter of <insert date> Dear Sir/Madam: This letter is formal notice that you have failed to respond in a timely manner to my dispute letter of <insert date>, deposited by registered mail with the U.S. Postal Service on that date. Federal law requires you to respond within thirty (30) days, yet you have failed to respond. Failure to comply with these federal regulations by credit reporting agencies are investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (see 15 USC 41, et seq.). I am maintaining a careful record of my communications with you for the purpose of fıling a complaint with the FTC should you continue in your non-compliance. I further remind you that, as in Wenger v. Trans Union Corp., No. 95-6445 (C.D.CaI. Nov. 14, 1995), you may be liable for your willful non-compliance. Be aware that I am making a fınal goodwill attempt to have you clear up this matter. You have 15 days to cure. For your benefıt, and as a gesture of my goodwill, I will restate my dispute. The following information needs to be verifıed and, following failure to verify, deleted from the report as soon as possible: Name of Creditor/Agency, Account # The listed item is entirely inaccurate and incomplete, and represents a very serıous error ın your reporting. Please delete this misleading information and supply a corrected credit profıle to all creditors who have received a copy within the last six months, or the last two years for employment purposes. Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. Under federal law you had thirty (30) days to complete your re-investigation, yet you have failed to respond. Do not delay any further. Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and

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completeness of the information is hereby requested as well, to be provided within fıfteen (15)

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days of the completion of your reinvestigation. Sincerely, Signature <Your Name Here> <Your SSN>

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Notice of Intent to File Complaint to FTC - Credit Bureau Followup after 60 days- Example#1 <Your Name and Address Here> <Addressee Name Here> Date RE: Dispute Letter of <insert date>, Follow-up Letter of <insert date> NOTICE OF INTENT TO FILE COMPLAINT Dear Sir/Madam: This letter shall serve as formal Notice of my Intent to fıle a Complaint with the FTC, due to your blatant disregard of the law. As indicated by the attached copies of letters and mailing receipts, you have been delivered by registered mail both a dispute letter, dated 2/10/1999, as well as a follow-up letter, dated 3/20/1999. As of this moment, you have not done your duty mandated under the law. Your inaction in this matter is inexcusable, and your disregard for the law is contemptible. Rest assured, I will hold you to account. As you are well aware, federal law requires you to respond within 30 days, yet you have failed to respond. Failure to comply with these federal regulations by credit reporting agencies are investigated by the Federal Trade Commission (see 15 USC 41, et seq.). I am maintaining a careful record of my communications with you on this matter, for the purpose of fıling a complaint with the FTC should you continue in your non-compliance. I further remind you that, as in Wenger v. Trans Union Corp., No. 95-6445 (C.D.CaI. Nov. 14, 1995), you may be liable for your willful non-compliance. For the record, the following information is being erroneously included on my credit report, as I have advised you on two separate occasions, more than 75 days and again 40 days ago: Name of Creditor/Agency, Account # If you do not immediately remove this inaccurate and incomplete information, I will fıle a formal complaint with the FTC. Furthermore, I intend to seek redress in civil action, for recover of both damages, costs, and attorneys fees, should you continue

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in your deliberate obstruction of the law. For this purpose, I am carefully documenting these events, including the lack of response REQUIRED under law from you. You are further directed to supply a corrected credit profıle to all creditors who have received a

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copy within the last 6 months, or the last 2 years for employment purposes. Additionally, please provide the name, address, and telephone number of each credit grantor or other subscriber. Under federal law, you had 30 days to complete your re-investigation, yet you have failed to respond. Your continued delays are inexcusable. Be advised that the description of the procedure used to determine the accuracy and completeness of the information is hereby requested as well, to be provided within 15 days of the completion of your re-investigation. Sincerely, Signature Your Name and Address Here Your SSN

Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Appendix B: State by State Resources & Laws This appendix contains a state-by-state listing of banking authorities and consumer protection agencies and attorney general offices who can answer your questions and provide assistance for problems involving discrimination, credit concerns and housing problems. Alabama Attorney General 11 South Union Street 3rd Floor Montgomery, AL 36103 Banking Authority Superintendent of Banks Center for Commerce 401 Adams Avenue, #680 Montgomery, AL 36130-1201 334-242-3452 www.legislature.state.al.us Consumer Protection Agency Office of the Attorney General Consumer Affairs Section 11 South Union Street 3rd Floor Montgomery, AL 36130 334-242-7335 www.ago.state.al.us Alaska Attorney General State Capitol P.O. Box 110300 Juneau, AK 99811-0300 Banking Authority Director of Banking Securities and Corporations Department of Commerce 150 Third Street Room 217 Juneau, AK 99801 907-465-2521 www.dced.state.ak.us

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Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection Unit Office of the Attorney General 1031 West 4'" Avenue Suite 200 Anchorage, AK 99501-5903 907-269-5100 www.law.state.ak.us Arizona Attorney General 1275 West Washington Street Phoenix, AZ 85007 Banking Authority Superintendent of Banks Arizona State Banking Department 2910 North 44th Street Suite 310 Phoenix, AZ 85018 602-255-4421 www.azbanking.com Consumer Protection Agency Chief Counsel Consumer Protection and Advocacy Section Office of the Attorney General 1275 West Washington Street Phoenix, AZ 85007 602-542-5763 www.ag.state.az.us Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection 400 West Congress South Building Suite 315 Tucson, AZ 85701-1367 520-628-6504 www.ag.state.az.us Arkansas Attorney General Tower Building 323 Center Street Suite 200 Little Rock, AR 72201-2610

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Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

Banking Authority Bank Commissioner Arkansas State Bank Department Sedgwick Center 400 Hardin Road Little Rock, AR 72211 501-324-9019 www.state.ar.us/bank Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 323 Center Street Suite 200 Little Rock, AR 72201 501-682-2007 www.ag.state.ar.us California Attorney General 1515 K Street Suite 511 Sacramento, CA 95814 Banking Authority Commissioner Department of Financial Institutions State of California 111 Pine Street Suite 1100 San Francisco, CA 94111-5613 415-263-8500 www.dfi.ca.gov Consumer Protection Agency Acting Chief Bureau of Automotive Repair California Department of Consumer Affairs 10240 Systems Parkway Sacramento, CA 95827 916-255-4300 www.autorepair.ca.gov Director California Department of Consumer Affairs 400 R Street Suite 3000 Sacramento, CA 95814

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Reduce Your Debt and Improve Your Credit

916-445-1254 www.dca.ca.gov Office of the Attorney General Public Inquiry Unit P.O. Box 944255 Sacramento, CA 94244-2550 916-322-3360 www.caag.state.ca.us Colorado Attorney General Department of Law 1525 Sherman Street 5th Floor Denver, CO 80203 Banking Authority State Bank Commissioner Department of Regulatory Agencies Division of Banking 1560 Broadway Suite 1175 Denver, CO 80202 303-894-7575 www.dora.state.co.us/banking Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection Division Colorado Attorney General's Office 1525 Sherman Street 5th Floor Denver, CO 80203-1760 303-866-5079 Connecticut Attorney General P.O. Box 120 Hartford, CT 06141-0120 Banking Authority Banking Commissioner Connecticut Department of Banking 260 Constitution Plaza Hartford, CT 06103 860-240-8299 www.state.ct.us/dob Consumer Protection Agency Commissioner

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Department of Consumer Protection 165 Capitol Avenue Hartford, CT 06106-1630 860-713-6050 www.state.ct.us/dcp Delaware Attorney General Carvel State Office Building 820 North French Street Wilmington, DE 19801 Banking Authority State Bank Commissioner 555 East Loockerman Street Suite 210 Dover, DE 19901 302-739-4235 www.state.de.us/bank Consumer Protection Agency Director Consumer Protection Unit Office of Attorney General 820 North French Street 5th Floor Wilmington, DE 19801 302-577-8600 Director Fraud and Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 820 North French Street 5th Floor Wilmington, DE 19801 302-577-8600 District of Columbia Office of the Corporation Counsel 441 4th Street, NW Suite 450-N Washington, D.C. 20001 Banking Authority Commissioner of Banking and Financial Institutions Office of Banking & Finance 1400 L Street, NW

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Washington, D.C. 20005 202-727-1563 www.obfl.dcgov.org Consumer Protection Agency Senior Counsel Office of the Corporation Counsel 441 4th Street, NW Suite 450-N Washington, D.C. 20001 202-442-9828 Florida Attorney General The Capitol, PL 01 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050 Banking Authority State Comptroller Department of Banking and Finance 200 East Gaines Street Tallahassee, FL 32399-3000 850-413-3100 www.dbf.state.fl.us Consumer Protection Agency Economic Crimes Division Office of the Attorney General HOSE 6th Street Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301-5000 954-712-4600 Fax: 954-712-4706 wivw.myfloridalegal.com Chief of Multi-State Litigation Consumer Litigation Section 110 SE 6th Street Fort Lauderdale, FL 33301 954-712-4600 Economic Crimes Division Office of the Attorney General 135 West Central Boulevard Century Plaza Suite 1000 Orlando, FL 32801 407-999-5588 Economic Crimes Division Office of the Attorney General

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The Capitol, PL-01 Tallahassee, FL 32399-1050 850-414-3600 Director of Division Consumer Services Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services Terry L. Rhoads Building 2005 Apalachee Tallahassee, FL 32399-6500 850-922-2966 www.800helpfla.com Georgia Attorney General 40 Capitol Square SW Atlanta, GA 30334-1300 Banking Authority Legal 8c Consumer Affairs Specialist State of Georgia (Department of Banking and Finance) 2990 Brandywine Road Suite 200 Atlanta, GA 30341-5565 770-986-1633 Consumer Protection Agency Administrator Governor's Office of Consumer Affairs 2 Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive Suite 356 Atlanta, GA 30334-4600 404-656-3790 www2.state.ga.us/gaoca Hawaii Attorney General 425 Queen Street Honolulu, HI 96813 Banking Authority Commissioner Financial Institutions State of Hawaii 1010 Richards Street Room 602A Honolulu, HI 96813

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808-586-2820 Consumer Protection Agency Investigator Office of Consumer Protection Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs 345 Kekuanaoa Street Suite 12 Hilo, HI 96720 808-933-0910 Acting Executive Director Office of Consumer Protection Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs 235 South Beretania Street Suite 801 Honolulu, HI 96813 808-586-2630 Investigator Office of Consumer Protection Dept of Commerce and Consumer Affairs 1063 L Main Street Suite C-216 Wailuku, HI 96793 808-984-8244 www.state.hi.us/dcca/ Idaho Attorney General P.O. Box 83720 Boise, ID 83720-0010 Banking Authority Director State of Idaho Department of Finance 700 West State Street 2nd Floor Boise, ID 83702 208-332-8000 http://finance.idaho.gov Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection Unit Idaho Attorney General's Office 700 West Jefferson Street Boise, ID 83720-0010

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208-334-2424 www.state.id.us/ag Illinois Attorney General J.R. Thompson Center 100 West Randolph St. Chicago, IL 60601 Banking Authority Commissioner of Banks and Real Estate Illinois Office of Banks and Real Estate 310 South Michigan Avenue Suite 2130 Chicago, IL 60604-4278 312-793-3000 www.idfpr.com Illinois Office of Banks and Real Estate Springfield Office 500 East Monroe Street Springfield, IL 62701-1509 217-782-3000 www.idfpr.com Consumer Protection Agency Office of the Attorney General 1001 East Main Street Carbondale, IL 62901 618-529-6400 Bureau Chief Consumer Fraud Bureau 100 West Randolph Chicago, IL 60601 312-814-3580 www.ag.state.il.us Chief Consumer Protection Division of the Attorney General Office 100 West Randolph Chicago, IL 60601 312-814-3000S Governor's Office of Citizens Assistance 222 West College Floor 1 Springfield, IL 62706 217-782-0244

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Indiana Attorney General 302 West Washington Street Indianapolis, IN 46204 Banking Authority Director Department of Financial Institutions 30 South Meridian Street Suite 300 Indianapolis, IN 46204-2759 317-232-3955 www.in.gov/dfi Consumer Protection Agency Chief Counsel and Director Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General Indiana Government Center South 302 West Washington Street 5th Floor Indianapolis, IN 46204 317-232-6201 www.in.gov/attorneygeneral Iowa Attorney General 1305 East Walnut Street Des Moines, IA 50319 Banking Authority Superintendent of Banking Iowa Division of Banking 200 East Grand Avenue Suite 300 Des Moines, IA 50309-1827 515-281-4014 www.idob.state.ia.us Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General Director of Consumer Protection Division 1305 East Walnut Street Des Moines, IA 50319 515-281-5926 www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org Kansas Attorney General 120 SW 10th Avenue

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2nd Floor Topeka, KS 66612-1597 Banking Authority State Bank Commissioner Office of the State Bank Commissioner 700 Jackson Street Suite 300 Topeka, KS 66603-3714 785-296-2266 www.osbckansas.org Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 120 SW 10THAvenue 2ND Floor Topeka, KS 66612-1597 785-296-3751 www.accesskansas.org/ksag Kentucky Attorney General State Capitol Suite 118 Frankfort, KY 40601-3449 Banking Authority Commissioner Department of Financial Institutions 1025 Capitol Center Drive Suite 200 Frankfort, KY 40601 502-573-3390 www.dfi.state.ky.us Consumer Protection Agency Director Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 1024 Capita] Center Drive Suite 200 Frankfort, KY 40601 502-696-5389 www.ag.ky.gov/cp

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Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 9001 Shelbyville Road Suite 3 Louisville, KY 40222-8003 502-595-3262 Louisiana Attorney General Department of Justice P.O. Box 94005 Baton Rouge, LA 70804 Banking Authority Acting Commissioner LA Office of Financial Institutions P.O. Box 94095 Baton Rouge, LA 70804-9095 225-925-4660 www.ofi.state.la.us Consumer Protection Agency Chief Consumer Protection Section Office of the Attorney General 1885 North 3rdStreet Baton Rouge, LA 70802 800-351-4889 www.ag.state.la.us Maine Attorney General State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 Banking Authority Superintendent of Banking 36 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0036 207-624-8570 www.mainebankingreg.org Consumer Protection Agency Director Office of Consumer Credit Regulation 35 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333-0035 207-624-8527 www.mainecreditreg.org

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Maine Attorney General's Consumer Mediation Service 6 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 207-626-8849 www.state.me.us/ag Division Chief Public Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 6 State House Station Augusta, ME 04333 207-626-8800 Maryland Attorney General 200 Saint Paul Place Baltimore, MD 21202 Banking Authority Commissioner of Financial Regulation Division 500 North Calvert Street Suite 402 Baltimore, MD 21202 410-230-6100 www.dllr.state.md.us/finance Consumer Protection Agency Chief Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 200 Saint Paul Place Baltimore, MD 21202-2021 410-528-8662 www.oag.state.md.us/consumer Manager Business Licensing & Consumer Service Motor Vehicle Administration 6601 Ritchie Highway, NE Glen Burnie, MD 21062 410-768-7248

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Massachusetts Attorney General 1 Ashburton Place Boston, MA 02108-1698 Banking Authority Commissioner of Banks MA Division of Banks One South Station Boston, MA 02110 617-956-1500 www.state.ma.us/dob Consumer Protection Agency Director Executive Office of Consumer Affairs and Business Regulation 10 Park Plaza Suite 5170 Boston, MA 02116 617-973-8787 www.state.ma.us/consumer Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division Office of the Attorney General 200 Portland Street Boston, MA 02114 617-727-2200 www.ago.state.ma.us Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division Office of the Attorney General—Springfield 1350 Main Street 4th Floor Springfield, MA 01103-1629 413-784-1240 Michigan Attorney General 525 West Ottawa Street Lansing, MI 48909-0212

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Banking Authority Commissioner Office of Financial and Insurance Services Office of the Commissioner P.O. Box 30220 Lansing, MI 48909 517-373-0220 www.michigan.gov/cis Consumer Protection Agency Director Bureau of Automotive Regulation Michigan Department of State Lansing, MI 48918-1200 517-322-1460 Assistant in Charge Consumer Protection Division Office of Attorney General P.O. Box 30213 Lansing, MI 48909 517-373-1140 Minnesota Attorney General 1400 NCL Tower 445 Minnesota Street St. Paul, MN 55101 Banking Authority Assistant Commissioner Minnesota Department of Commerce Financial Exams 133 East Seventh Street St. Paul, MN 55101 651-296-2751 www.commerce.state.mn.us Consumer Protection Agency Manager Consumer Services Division Minnesota Attorney General's Office 1400 NCL Tower 445 Minnesota Street St. Paul, MN 55101 651-296-3353 www.ag.state.mn.us/consumer

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Mississippi Attorney General Department of Justice P.O. Box 220 Jackson, MS 39205-0220 Banking Authority Director Consumer Finance Division Department of Banking and Consumer Finance Consumer Finance Walter Sillers Building 55G High Street Suite 304 Jackson, MS 39205-3729 601-359-1031 www.dbcf.state.ms.us Consumer Protection Agency Director Consumer Protection Division of the Mississippi Attorney General's Office P.O. Box 22947 Jackson, MS 39225-2947 601-359-4230 www.ago.state.ms.us Director Bureau of Regulatory Services Department of Agriculture and Commerce 121 North Jefferson Street Jackson, MS 39201 601-359-1111 www.mdac.state.ms.us Missouri Attorney General Supreme Court Building 207 West High Street Jefferson City, MO 65102 Banking Authority Acting Commissioner of Finance Department of Finance 301 East High Street Jefferson City, MO 65102 573-751-3242 www.ecodev.state.mo.us

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Consumer Protection Agency Deputy Chief Counsel Consumer Protection and Trade Offense Division 1530 Rax Court Jefferson City, MO 65102 573-751-6887 www.ago.state.mo.us Montana Attorney General Justice Building 215 North Sanders 3rd Floor Helena, MT 59620-1401 Banking Authority Commissioner Division of Banking & Financial Institutions 301 South Park Avenue Helena, MT 59620-0501 406-841-2700 www.commerce.state.mt.us/finance/index.htral Consumer Protection Agency Chief Legal Counsel Consumer Affairs Unit Department of Administration 1424 Ninth Avenue Box 200501 Helena, MT 59620-0501 406-444-4312 Nebraska Attorney General 2115 State Capitol Lincoln, NE 68509 Banking Authority Director Department of Banking & Finance Commerce Court 1230 "O" Street Suite 400 Lincoln, NE 68509-5006 402-471-2171 www.ndbf.org Consumer Protection Agency

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Department of Justice 2115 State Capitol Lincoln, NE 68509 402-471-2682 www.nol.org/home/ago Nevada Attorney General 100 North Carson Street Carson City, NV 89701-4717 Banking Authority Commissioner Department of Business & Industry Financial Institutions Division 406 East Second Street Suite 3 Carson City, NV 89701-4758 775-684-1830 http://fid.state.nv.us Consumer Protection Agency Commissioner Nevada Consumer Affairs Division 1850 East Sahara Suite 101 Las Vegas, NV 89104 702-486-7355 www.fyiconsumer.org Bureau of Consumer Protection 555 East Washington Avenue Suite 3900 Las Vegas, NV 89101 702-486-3420 Deputy Chief Investigator Consumer Affairs Division Department of Business and Industry 4600 Kietzke Lane, Building B Suite 113 Reno, NV 89502 775-688-1800

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New Hampshire Attorney General State House Annex 33 Capitol Street Concord, NH 03301-6397 Banking Authority State of New Hampshire Banking Department Consumer Credit 64B Old Suncook Road Concord, NH 03301 603-271-3561 www.state.nh.us/banking Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection and Antitrust Bureau New Hampshire Attorney General's Office 33 Capitol Street Concord, NH 03301 603-271-3641 www.state.iih.us/nhdoj/consumer New Jersey Attorney General Richard J. Hughes Justice Complex 25 Market Street CN 080 Trenton, NJ 08625 Banking Authority Acting Commissioner Department of Banking and Insurance 20 West State Street Trenton, NJ 08625 609-292-3420 http://states.naic.org Consumer Protection Agency Department of Law and Public Safety Division of Consumer Affairs 124 Halsey Street Newark, NJ 07102 973-504-6200 www.state.nj.us/lps/ca/home.htm

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New Mexico Attorney General P.O. Drawer 1508 Santa Fe, NM 87504-1508 Banking Authority Financial Institutions Division Regulation and Licensing Department 725 St. Michaels Drive Santa Fe, NM 87501 505-827-7100 www.state.nm.us Consumer Protection Agency Director Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 407 Galisteo Room 260 Santa Fe, NM 87504-1508 505-827-6000 www.ago.state.nm.us New York Attorney General 120 Broadway New York, NY 10271 Banking Authority Acting Superintendent of Banking New York State Banking Department One State Street New York, NY 10004-1417 212-618-6553 www.banking.state.ny.us Consumer Protection Agency Bureau Chief Bureau of Consumer Frauds and Protection Office of the Attorney General State Capitol Albany, NY 12224-0341 518-474-7330 www.oag.state.ny.us Chairwoman and Executive Director New York State Consumer Protection Board

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5 Empire State Plaza Suite 2101 Albany, NY 12223-1556 518-474-3514 www.consumer.state.ny.us Deputy Bureau Chief Consumer Frauds and Protection Bureau Office of the Attorney General 120 Broadway 3rd Floor New York, NY 10271 212-416-8300 Assistant Attorney General in Charge Consumer Fraud and Protection Bureau, New York State Office of the Attorney General Harlem Regional Office 163 West 125th Street New York, NY 10027-8201 212-961-4475 Assistant Attorney General in Charge Plattsburgh Regional Office Office of Attorney General 70 Clinton Street Plattsburgh, NY 12901-2818 518-562-3282 Assistant Attorney General in Charge Consumer Fraud and Protection Bureau, New York State Office of the Attorney General Westchester Regional Office 101 East Post Road White Plains, NY 10601-5008 914-422-8755 North Carolina Attorney General Department of Justice 9001 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699-9001 Banking Authority North Carolina Commissioner of Banks 316 West Edenton Street Raleigh, NC 27603 919-733-3016

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www.banking.state.nc.us Consumer Protection Agency Senior Deputy Attorney General Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 9001 Mail Service Center Raleigh, NC 27699 919-716-6000 www.ncdoj.com/consumerprotection North Dakota Attorney General State Capitol 600 East Boulevard Avenue Department 125 Bismarck, ND 58505-0040 Banking Authority Commissioner ND Department of Financial Institutions 2000 Schafer Street Suite G Bismarck, ND 58501-1204 701-328-9933 www.discovernd.com Consumer Protection Agency Director Consumer Protection and Antitrust Division Office of the Attorney General 600 East Boulevard Avenue Department 125 Bismarck, ND 58505-0040 701-328-3404 www.ag.state.nd.us Office of the Attorney General 600 East Boulevard Avenue Department 125 Bismarck, ND 58505-0040 701-328-2210 www.ag.state.nd.us

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Ohio Attorney General State Office Tower 30 East Broad Street 17 th Floor Columbus, OH 43215-3428 Banking Authority Training and Communications Manager Department of Commerce - State of Ohio Financial Institutions Division 77 South High Street 21st Floor Columbus, OH 43215-6120 614-728-8400 www.com.state.oh.us/dfi Consumer Protection Agency Ohio Consumers' Counsel 10 West Broad Street Suite 1800 Columbus, OH 43215-3485 614-466-8574 www.pickocc.org Ohio Attorney General's Office 30 East Broad Street 17 th Floor Columbus, OH 43215-3428 614-466-8831 www.ag.state.oh.us Oklahoma Attorney General State Capitol 2300 North Lincoln Boulevard Room 112 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 Banking Authority Bank Commissioner OK State Banking Department 4545 North Lincoln Boulevard Suite 164 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 405-521-2782 www.state.ok.us/~osbd

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Consumer Protection Agency Administrator Department of Consumer Credit 4545 North Lincoln Boulevard #104 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 405-521-3653 Oklahoma Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit 4545 North Lincoln Avenue Suite 260 Oklahoma City, OK 73105 405-521-2029 www.oag.state.ok.us Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 2300 North Lincoln Boulevard #112 Tulsa, OK 74127-8913 918-581-2885 www.oag.state.ok.us Oregon Attorney General Justice Building 1162 Court Street NE Salem, OR 97301-4096 Banking Authority Administrator Department of Consumer & Business Services Division of Finance & Corporate Securities 350 Winter Street NE Room 410 Salem, OR 97310-3881 503-378-4140 www.cbs.state.or.us/external/dfcs Consumer Protection Agency Attorney in Charge Financial Fraud/Consumer Protection Section Department of Justice 1162 Court Street NE Salem, OR 97310 503-378-4320 www.doj.state.or.us

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Pennsylvania Attorney General Strawberry Square Harrisburg, PA 17120 Banking Authority Secretary of Banking Department 333 Market Street 16th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17101-2290 717-214-8343 www.banking.state.pa.us Consumer Protection Agency Director Bureau of Consumer Protection Office of Attorney General 14lh Floor Strawberry Square Harrisburg, PA 17120 717-787-9707 www.attorneygeneral.gov Senior Deputy Attorney General Health Care Unit Bureau of Consumer Protection Office of the Attorney General 14th Floor Strawberry Square Harrisburg, PA 17120 717-705-6938 Consumer Advocate Office of the Consumer Advocate Office of the Attorney General 555 Walnut Street Forum Place 5th Floor Harrisburg, PA 17101-1921 717-783-5048 www.oca.state.pa.us Rhode Island Attorney General 150 South Main Street Providence, RI 02903 Banking Authority Associate Director and Superintendent of Banking 233 Richmond Street

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Suite 231 Providence, RI 02903-4231 401-222-2405 Consumer Protection Agency Director Consumer Unit Consumer Protection Unit Department of Attorney General 150 South Main Street Providence, RI 02903 401-274-4400 Consumer Credit Counseling Services 535 Centerville Road Suite 103 Warwick, RI 02886 www.creditcounseling.org South Carolina Attorney General Rembert C. Dennis Office Building P.O. Box 11549 Columbia, SC 29211-1549 Banking Authority Commissioner of Banking State Board of Financial Institutions 1015 Sumter Street Room 309 Columbia, SC 29201 803-734-2001 Consumer Protection Agency Senior Assistant Attorney General Office of the Attorney General P.O. Box 11549 Columbia, SC 29211 803-734-3970 www.scattorneygeneral.org Administrator/Consumer Advocate SC Department of Consumer Affairs 3600 Forest Drive 3rd Floor Columbia, SC 29250 803-734-4200 www.state.sc.us/consumer State Ombudsman

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Office of Executive Policy and Program 1205 Pendleton Street Room 308 Columbia, SC 29201 803-734-0x457 www.myscgov.com South Dakota Attorney General 500 East Capitol Avenue Pierre, SD 57501-5070 Banking Authority Director SD Division of Banking 217 ½ West Missouri Pierre, SD 57501-4590 605-773-3421 www.state.sd.us/drr2/reg/bank/BANK-HOM.htm Consumer Protection Agency Director of Consumer Affairs Office of the Attorney General 500 East Capitol Avenue Pierre, SD 57501-5070 605-773-4400 Tennessee Attorney General P.O. Box 20207 Nashville, TN 37202-0207 Banking Authority Commissioner 511 Union Street, Suite 400 Nashville, TN 37219 615-741-2236 www.state.tn.us/fmancialinst Consumer Protection Agency Director Division of Consumer Affairs 500 James Robertson Parkway Nashville, IN 37243-0600 615-741-4737 www.state.tn.us/consumer Deputy Attorney General

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Division of Consumer Protection Consumer Advocate and Protection Tennessee Attorney General's Office P.O. Box 20207 Nashville, TN 37243-0491 615-741-1671 Fax: 615-532-2910 Texas Attorney General Capitol Station P.O. Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711-2548 Banking Authority Banking Commissioner Texas Department of Banking 2601 North Lamar Austin, TX 78705 512-475-1300 www.banking.state.tx.us Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection/Austin Regional Office P.O. Box 12548 Austin, TX 78711-2548 512-463-2185 Fax: 512-463-8301 www.oag.state.tx.us Public Counsel Office of Public Insurance Counsel 333 Guadalupe Suite 3-120 Austin, TX 78701 512-322-4143 www.opic.state.tx..us Consumer Protection/Houston Regional Office Office of the Attorney General 808 Travis Suite 300 Houston, TX 77002-1702 713-223-5886, ext. 118

Utah

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Attorney General Utah State Capitol Complex East Office Building Suite 320 Salt Lake City, UT 84114 Banking Authority Commissioner Department of Financial Institutions P.O. Box 89 Salt Lake City, UT 84110-0089 801-538-8854 www.dfi.state.ut.us Consumer Protection Agency Director Division of Consumer Protection Department of Commerce 160 East 300 South Box 146704 Salt Lake City, UT 84114-6704 801-530-6601 www.commerce.state.ut.us Vermont Attorney General 109 State Street Montpelier, VT 05609-1001 Banking Authority Information Policy & Program Chief State of Vermont Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration 89 Main Street Drawer 20 Montpelier, VT 05620-3101 802-828-4872 www.state.vt.us/bis Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Assistance Program for Consumer Complaints & Questions 104 Morrill Hall UVM Burlington, VT 05405 800-549-2424 www.state.vt.us/atg Chief Public Protection Division

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Office of the Attorney General 109 State Street Montpelier, VT 05609-1001 802-828-5507 www.state.vt.us/atg Supervisor Consumer Assurance Section Food and Market Department of Agriculture 116 State Street Montpelier, VT 05602 802-828-3456 Virginia Attorney General Supreme Court Building 900 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219 Banking Authority Commissioner Bureau of Financial Institutions 1300 East Main Street Suite 800 P.O. Box 640 Richmond, VA 23218-0640 804-371-9657 www.state.va.us/scc Consumer Protection Agency Senior Assistant Attorney General and Chief Office of the Attorney General Antitrust and Consumer Litigation Section 900 East Main Street Richmond, VA 23219 804-786-2116 www.oag.state.va.us Program Manager Office of Consumer Affairs Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services Washington Building, Suite 100 P.O. Box 1163 Richmond, VA 23219 804-786-2042 www.vdacs.state.va.us

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Washington Attorney General 1125 Washington Street, S.E. P.O. Box 40100 O1ympia,WA 98504-0100 Banking Authority Director Department of Financial Institutions P.O. Box 41200 Olympia, WA 98504-1200 360-902-8707 www.wa.gov/dfi Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Resource Center Office of the Attorney General 103 East Holly Street Suite 308 Bellingham, WA 98225-4728 360-738-6185 Consumer Resource Center Office of the Attorney General 500 North Morain Street Suite 1250 Kennewick, WA 99336-2607 509-734-7140 Consumer Resource Center Office of the Attorney General 905 Plum Street Building 3 Olympia, WA 98504-0118 360-753-6210 Consumer Resource Center Office of the Attorney General 900 Fourth Avenue Suite 2000 Seattle, WA 98164-1012 206-464-6684 www.wa.gov/ago Consumer Resource Center Office of the Attorney General 1116 West Riverside Avenue Spokane, WA 99201-1194 509-456-3123

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Program Manager Consumer Resource Center Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Division P.O. Box 2317 Tacoma, WA 98401-2317 253-593-2904 www.wa.gov/ago Consumer Resource Center Office of the Attorney General 1220 Main Street Suite 549 Vancouver, WA 98660-2964 360-759-2150 West Virginia Attorney General State Capitol Charleston, WV 25305-0070 Banking Authority Commissioner State Capitol Complex Division of Banking 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East Building 3 Room 311 Charleston, WV 25305-0240 304-558-2294 www.wvdob.org Consumer Protection Agency Consumer Protection Division Office of the Attorney General 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East Room 26E Charleston, WV 25305-9924 304-558-8986 www.wvs.state.wv.us/wvag Director Division of Weights and Measures Section 570 MacCorkle Avenue St. Albans, WV 25177 304-722-0602

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Wisconsin Attorney General State Capitol P.O. Box 7857 Madison, WI 53707-7857 Banking Authority Secretary Department of Financial Institutions 345 West Washington Avenue 5th Floor P.O. Box 7876 Madison, WI 53708-8861 608-261-1622 www.wdfi.org Consumer Protection Agency Regional Supervisor Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Department of Agriculture Trade and Consumer Protection 3610 Oakwood Hills Parkway Eau Claire, WI 54701-7754 715-839-3848 Regional Supervisor Department of Agriculture Trade & Consumer Protection Division of Trade and Consumer Protection 200 North Jefferson Street Suite 146A Green Bay, WI 54301 920-448-5110 www.datcp.state.wi.us Administrator Division of Trade and Consumer Protection Department of Agriculture 2811 Agriculture Drive P.O. Box 8911 Madison, WI 53718 608-224-4953 www.datcp.state.wi.us

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Wyoming Attorney General State Capitol Building Cheyenne, WY 82002 Banking Authority Commissioner Division of Banking Herschler Building 3rd Floor, East 122 West 25th Street Cheyenne, WY 82002 307-777-7797 audit.state.wy.us/banking/default.htm Consumer Protection Agency Office of the Attorney General Consumer Protection Unit 123 State Capitol Building Cheyenne, WY 82002 307-777-7874 attorneygeneral.state.wy.us

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Appendix C MONTHLY BUDGET AMOUNT MONTHLY ACTUAL DIFFERENCE AMOUNT

CATEGORY INCOME: Wages and Bonuses Interest Income Investment Income Miscellaneous Income Income Subtotal INCOME TAXES WITHHELD: Federal Income Tax State and Local Income Tax Social Security/Medicare Tax Income Taxes Subtotal Spendable Income EXPENSES: HOME: Mortgage or Rent Homeowners/Renters Insurance Property Taxes Home Repairs/Maintenance/HOA Dues Home Improvements UTILITIES: Electricity Water and Sewer Natural Gas or Oil Telephone (Land Line, Cell) FOOD: Groceries Eating Out, Lunches, Snacks FAMILY OBLIGATIONS: Child Support Alimony

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Day Care, Babysitting HEALTH AND MEDICAL: Insurance (medical,dental,vision) Unreimbursed Medical Expenses, Copays Fitness (Yoga,Massage,Gym) TRANSPORTATION: Car Payments Gasoline/Oil Auto Repairs/Maintenance/Fees Auto Insurance Other Transportation (tolls, bus, subway, taxis) DEBT PAYMENTS: Credit Cards Student Loans Other Loans ENTERTAINMENT/RECREATION: Cable TV/Videos/Movies Computer Expense Hobbies Subscriptions and Dues Vacations PETS: Food Grooming, Boarding, Vet CLOTHING: INVESTMENTS AND SAVINGS: 401(K)or IRA Stocks/Bonds/Mutual Funds College Fund Savings Emergency Fund MISCELLANEOUS: Toiletries, Household Products

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Gifts/Donations Grooming (Hair, Make-up, Other) Miscellaneous Expense Total Investments and Expenses Surplus or Shortage (Spendable income minus total expenses and investments)

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Appendix D: Credit Resources & Links CREDIT BUREAUS www.experian.com – Experian Credit Bureau www.transunion.com –Transunion Credit Bureau www.equifax.com – Equifax Credit Bureau

FREE ANNUAL CREDIT REPORT www.annualcreditreport.com

CREDIT REPAIR

CREDIT CARDS COMPARISON www.creditcards.com www.cardweb.com

MISCELLANEOUS CREDIT INFORMATION www.creditresources.com- Financial Literacy Resource Center www.nationalscoreindex.com –Improving and Maintaining your Credit www.smartaboutmoney.org –Credit and Financial Resources

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Appendix E: What Helps and Hurts Your Score Overview WHAT IMMEDIATELY HELPS A CREDIT SCORE 1. Pay down all credit card balances below 30% of their high credit. For example, if someone has a credit card with a $1,000 limit, they need to keep that card balance at or below $300. Paying that balance down from $900 to $300 will immediately add points to their credit score. 2. Getting negative items deleted 3. Adding themselves as a joint-applicant on someone’s card (The credit laws are changing soon and this my not be the case in the near future). 4. Consolidating their student loans into one payment. This shows all of the small accounts as being paid. 5. Bankruptcy. Yes, bankruptcy! Thirty Percent (30%) of a credit score is based on the amount of debt you have and a bankruptcy takes that number to $0 in many cases. But, it will be 2 years before they can buy a home with a solid rate, but it does help the actual credit score greatly. Another reason while someone might file bankruptcy is if the debts are large enough to warrant potential judgments. If the amount is $4,000+, it is possible that company might want to get a judgment against them. Bankruptcy prevents that from happening. However, if that debt is more than 1 year old, it is probably that they are not in danger of getting a judgment, as sufficient time has passed to allow for such action. WHAT IMMEDIATELY HURTS A CREDIT SCORE 1. Buying a new vehicle, house, getting a credit card. After time, these will help them, but not for at least 6 months or so. 2. Inquiries hurt a credit score 3-4 points each time their credit is pulled. The negative affect decreases over time. Inquiries remain on your credit for 2 years. 3. Recent late payments, especially 60 or 90 day lates.

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About The Author Charrissa Cawley began her career in the pharmaceutical arena of corporate America in 1995 and switched to real estate when she discovered she could make more money, in less time, than she ever could working 10 hour days for someone else. “On my way to earning thousands of dollars on every transaction I did, I discovered the key to making money the smarter waythrough Real Estate Investing”. Cawley offers accurate and proven real estate strategies to investors of all different levels. With seminars, mentoring programs, real estate sales, nationwide buying tours, her own products and software, and a book coming to stores soon, she specializes in educating her clients on creating wealth through "Unconventional Real Estate Investing". Within a year of beginning her career, Cawley went from living paycheck to paycheck to being worth over two million dollars in one year and hasn’t turned back since!

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