Tag Archives: Free Advice

Keep Your Money Where You Want It

Watch your bills.  Watch your bank accounts.  Watch your credit card statements.  Look at your loan documents.  Before you borrow money make sure all loan deals are in writing.  Look for fees you do not think should be there.  If your account overdraws and you do not think it should look closely at your statement.  A company is not going to look and see if you are overcharged.  You have to look out for yourself.  Ask for a better deal when you can.  Ask for a refund.  Ask for a lowered interest rates.  Call the company if your bill is wrong.  Write down who you spoke to.  If you don’t like the answer ask for a supervisor.  Write down the supervisors name.  Confirm in writing what you were told and what your requests are.  There are sample letters in the first blog I wrote that you can use to create a letter to your creditor disputing a bill.  If this does not work hire a consumer lawyer.

CHARITY SCAM

I got a call wanting money for a charity.  Is it a real charity?  Give your money to a local church or charity that you know does good work.  Give it to the Red Cross or a host of other organizations that are legal.  Check anyone out with the BBB website, the secretary of state corporation website.  Go there.  Call the FTC.  1-877-FTC-HELP.  Subscribe to ftc.gov/subscribe to learn about scams.  Search them on the FTC website.  They will pressure you to give now.  Tell them to send you something in writing and you will research them.  They want you to wire money.  They will refuse to send you something in writing.  Sometimes they thank you for the pledge you made and you don’t remember making the pledge.  Tell them to send you a recording of the conversation.  Tell them you don’t remember the conversation.  Ask them what percentage of the money goes to charity.  File a complaint.  Turn them in.  We all want to give to help.  Give to organizations with a proven record of helping not someone new that has just appeared on the scene.  Some church help others.  Some don’t.  Ask the church you want to go to for their records of donations to the needy.  If all the church does is pay their staff you might want to look elsewhere.

HEALTH CARE SCAMS

If its not BCBS or healthcare.gov or Humana.org or Medicare, etc.  Do not just give money to someone who says they have a better deal on health insurance.  Do not give your personal information over the phone.  Do not give your the social security number, Medicare number, Medicaid number, bank account information, over the phone to an unsolicited call.  Do not give your personal information to a website you are not sure is legitimate.   They might tell you they have a better plan for you.  They might tell you you need a new card.  Again this is a scam.  Why do you need a new card?  They might say this prescription card will get you better benefits.  Get the website and check it out.  Tell them to put it in writing.

Check anyone out with the BBB website, the secretary of state corporation website.  Go there.  Call the FTC.  1-877-FTC-HELP.  Subscribe to ftc.gov/subscribe to learn about scams.  Search them on the FTC website.  Call 1-800-MEDICARE.  Tell your friends.

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Really Legal stuff….. © 11.15.14. Lois Beasley-Carlisle

Okay my disclaimer of the day is the required disclosure for all attorneys.  Alabama.  “No  representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.” Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(e) (2002).
Florida  (b) Internet Presence. All World Wide Web sites and home pages accessed via the Internet that are controlled or sponsored by a lawyer or law firm and that contain information concerning the lawyer’s or law firm’s services:  (1) shall disclose all jurisdictions in which the lawyer or members of the law firm are licensed to practice law; Alabama and Florida.  (2) shall disclose 1 or more bona fide office locations of the lawyer or law firm, in accordance with subdivision (a)(2) of rule 4-7.2; and Lois Beasley-Carlisle, Offices of Carlisle & Carlisle, P.C.,  1621 Pinson St., Tarrant, AL 35217.  (3) are considered to be information provided upon request.  Florida Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4-7.6(b) (2008).

Identity Theft

It won’t happen to me…..I have been a victim of identity theft!! HELP!!! What do I do?

SCENERIOS

Oh No!! SOMEONE HAS USED MY SOCIAL SECURITY NUMBER TO DRAW UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS. Why does this matter? Well the benefits won’t be there when if you need to use them. Your taxes will be higher because someone drew unemployment on your social security number and of course you didn’t report the extra income. There will be tax penalties. You may have to hire an attorney and appeal the tax assessment with the IRS and may even have to go all the way through Tax Court. ( This is a common problem.)

Oh No!! You are getting sued for a car you never bought that was repossessed. But I never even lived in Florida. Boy I wish I had that Camaro they said I had that now they say they have repossessed. Even worse… They already took a judgment against you for your failure to appear in court after they said they served you. It’s a two-year-old debt. It’s on your credit report. You have a trade line problem on your credit report in that your credit scores are low because the thief never made a payment and it’s been reported late for two years. You have to hire an attorney to get it set aside. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to spend time defending something you didn’t do.  What about proving another man at your company used your name. You are put in the position of having to get the judgment set aside on a technicality. You would have a really hard time proving it was not you without documentation that was created by someone else.

Oh No!! There are unauthorized charges on your credit card. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your credit card to get the charges reversed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. This is more common than you think. That cute waitress wrote down your credit card information and bought herself some shoes. That person you ordered something from off of the internet used your card information to take a trip to Las Vegas. Oh yeah and what you ordered never came.  Now you have to prove that you never went to Las Vegas and dispute the charges on the credit card.  We represented a man who’s girlfriend had stolen his identity. The legal expenses of getting his credit cleared up cost him $2,200.00 and that did not include attorney fees.

Oh No!! You are getting calls from collection agencies for payday loans you didn’t authorize. You are being called day and night. They are threatening to put you in jail. They are threatening to sue you. The calls are unrelenting. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your credit card to get the charges reversed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. You have to hire a lawyer.

Oh No!! You receive a doctor bill and you didn’t go to that doctor. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your reports to make sure these fees are removed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. You have to prove it wasn’t you that got the medical care.

Oh No!! You didn’t buy that house and it foreclosed. You have to make a police report. You have to report it to the FTC. You have to monitor your credit report to get the fees, and get the foreclosure fees and charges reversed. You have to put an identity theft freeze on your credit reports. You might have late fees, or over limit fees you have to get reversed. You have to hire a lawyer to get that foreclosure off your credit report.

Oh No!!! You just got arrested for a ticket you didn’t get. Worse. You got put in jail for a failure to appear for a theft charge and you didn’t steal anything. You have been strip searched. You sat in jail two days until you got to call an attorney. You lost your job because you missed work. You can’t get another job because you are awaiting charges you didn’t commit. You have to pay an attorney to now represent you as a man accused of a theft he didn’t commit. Worse. You get picked up on a failure to appear because someone used your name. You have already been convicted. You are in jail trying to prove you were not the man who did what you have now been convicted of doing. This is not an issue of getting a bond set and awaiting trial. This is an issue of you are locked up and cannot get out of jail.

Oh NO!! You are called by someone and they sound official.  They say you won a prize.  They sound like someone you know.  It sounds like someone you applied for a lottery with.  They are trying to get information possibly to scam your identity from  or at the very least scam you out of money.  Do not give them any information.  Do not give them bank account information to deposit your winnings or prizes in.  Tell them they can send you a check and if its good and its been six months you will send them their taxes.  Tell them that’s if your accountant and lawyer okay it. You pay taxes once a year.  Tell them to send it to a western union office or  somewhere you can pick it up unless you really want them knowing where you live.  They might tell you someone you know is stuck in another country and lost all their money.  Ask that person’s family if this is true.  No government office is going to ask you to wire money.    Remember tell your friends.  Tell your family.  Pass this along for them to read.  Warn your children.  We live in a world where you have to protect yourself every day as someone out there wants to scam YOU!  Report this to the FTC 1-877-FTC-Help.  File a complaint.  ftc.gov/complaint.

What are you going to do?

In all cases of identity theft – Act Quickly!

  1. Report it to the FTC at 1-877-FTC-Help and go online at https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-2 and create an identity theft report and use it for making a police report and give a copy of it to anyone that the thief has used your identity with.
  2. Hire a lawyer.
  3. Order all three credit reports. You can get them free from www.annualcreditreport.com
  4. If something is reported on your credit that is not yours you will have to take several steps to remove it from your credit report. http://www.ftc.gov/faq/consumer-protection/get-my-free-credit-report https://www.annualcreditreport.com/index.action
  5. Call and write the major credit bureaus and place an extended fraud alert on your credit report.                                                                                                                                    a. Equifax: www.equifax.com 1-800-525-6285, PO Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374 https://www.freeze.equifax.com https://www.alerts.equifax.com/AutoFraud_Online/jsp/fraudAlert.jsp                                   b. Experian: www.experian.com  1-888-397-3742, PO Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013 https://www.experian.com/fraud/center.html                                                                        c.  Transunion: www.transunion.com 1-800-680-7289, PO Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634 https://dispute.transunion.com
  6. Challenge everything on your credit reports and follow-up, follow-up, follow-up and make sure it gets removed and does not reappear.
  7. Place a security freeze to limit third parties from accessing your account. You will have to lift each freeze temporarily each time a freeze lift is requested. There may be charges associated with placing and lifting these freezes.
  8. Contact the state or federal agency involved with the theft. If your driver’s license is stolen, take the police report to the Driver’s License Bureau, get another driver’s license, and ask them flag it. Okay this just took 3 hours out of your day and you had to pay to get another driver’s license. You have to now prove you are you and for some people without a driver’s license this might be difficult.
  9. If your credit cards are stolen report them and have your cards flagged as stolen or lost card report. Have your credit card companies issue you new cards.
  10. Notify your banks.
  11. Keep a log of all phone call conversations with whom you spoke at each business, dates and phone numbers and the substance of the conversation.
  12. Send every document you send certified mail return receipt requested and keep copies.
  13. Email copies to yourself of what you submit online.
  14. Make an identity theft police report. Get the report number when you make the report. Get a copy.
  15. If money came out of your account you didn’t authorize put in writing immediately to the bank a request to reverse the charges. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/features/feature-0014-identity-theft

SAMPLE LETTERS

  1. Here are sample letters to get the credit bureaus to remove the fraudulent information from your credit report.http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0284-ask-credit-reporting-companies-remove-fraudulent-errors-your-credit-report
  2. Sample letters to get copies of the documents the thief used. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0288-get-copies-documents-identity-thief-used
  3. Sample letters to stop collection calls from a debt collector. http://www.consumer.ftc.gov/articles/0289-stop-calls-and-letters-debt-collector

DO NOT CALL REGISTRY

  1. https://www.donotcall.gov/ You can go here and register your phone number so you will not receive unwanted solicitation calls. You can go here and submit a complaint for unwanted calls if they continue after you have them placed on the Do Not Call Registry. https://complaints.donotcall.gov/complaint/complaintcheck.aspx
  2. Video of what to do if your identity has been stolen. http://www.transunion.com/personal-credit/identity-theft-and-fraud/victim-of-id-theft-now-what.page
  3. Follow Up. Follow Up. Follow Up. Keep a check on your credit reports to look for new charges. Keep a close check on your bank accounts for charges that you did not create.
  4. When contesting charges on your credit report follow-up all phone calls with certified letters. Make sure you provide very specific information to dispute charges. Write a letter stating the account is in error.   In this letter state the name of the company, the account number, why you believe the company made the error, what you want done, that you want a follow-up letter from them with the action they took and with what codes they assigned.   Put your name, address, telephone number, social security number, and date of birth in the letter.   Attach additional documents to the dispute. Attach a copy of the document that is wrong and a copy of your driver’s license with a copy of a utility bill that shows the correct address.  You also want to send a demand to the collection agency to correct the information.
  5. Immediately notify your bank if your identity theft was the result of a stolen debit card. The bank can’t hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions or $50.00 whichever is less. If you wait more than 60 days after issuance of the bank statement you could have to pay the full amount of the transactions. Report your debit card stolen within 2 days so your loss is limited to $50.00. Your bank has 10-20 business days to investigate and report its findings to you. Make sure you put this request in writing so they have to respond within 10 days.
  6. UCC§ 4-401. “WHEN BANK MAY CHARGE CUSTOMER’s ACCOUNT. (a) A bank may charge against the account of a customer an item that is properly payable from that account even though the charge creates an overdraft. An item is properly payable if it is authorized by the customer and is in accordance with any agreement between the customer and bank. (b) A customer is not liable for the amount of an overdraft if the customer neither signed the item nor benefited from the proceeds of the item.”

Really Legal stuff….. © 11.15.14. Lois Beasley-Carlisle

Okay my disclaimer of the day is the required disclosure for all attorneys.  Alabama.  “No  representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.” Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(e) (2002).
Florida  (b) Internet Presence. All World Wide Web sites and home pages accessed via the Internet that are controlled or sponsored by a lawyer or law firm and that contain information concerning the lawyer’s or law firm’s services:  (1) shall disclose all jurisdictions in which the lawyer or members of the law firm are licensed to practice law; Alabama and Florida.  (2) shall disclose 1 or more bona fide office locations of the lawyer or law firm, in accordance with subdivision (a)(2) of rule 4-7.2; and Lois Beasley-Carlisle, Offices of Carlisle & Carlisle, P.C.,  1621 Pinson St., Tarrant, AL 35217.  (3) are considered to be information provided upon request.  Florida Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4-7.6(b) (2008).

The Hidden Cost of Free

Didn’t your mom teach you if it sounds too good to be true it probably is?  No?  If your mom did not teach you this, haven’t you heard this?  Okay – if you never heard this or if even if you have – DON’T STOP READING NOW!!!!      IF YOU STUMBLED ON THIS BLOG – it wasn’t by accident…(Well that’s a bold assertion isn’t it?)  Okay – “Maybe” it wasn’t by accident….

HELP PROTECT THE ONES YOU LOVE!!!!.

FREE MONEY – Get rich quick schemes – You won!!! (a lottery you don’t remember entering)

If you get a check in the mail from someone you do not know, do not cash it, RUN – do not walk to the shredder and shred it.  If they say, you deposit it for us and you can keep 10% and send us the rest, guess what?  It will cost you the price of the check plus 10%, plus bounced check fees, plus potential criminal charges. Hidden costs? cost of attorney fees, court costs, fines, and possibly jail time.

If they want you to western union the cash to them except 10% …guess what?  You will western union your money to them.

Maybe they say you won a trip to the Bahamas, a lottery, a prize of some kind and all you have to do is pay them a small fee.  If its free…. it should really be free…. Do not give these people your bank account information….  Do not ever give your personal information out over the telephone to anyone…. (This is the place to lie about your age!!)  Do not give these people your credit card information….  Do not wire these people any money…..  Do not give them your social security number….. Do not give them your bank account information….  HANG UP IF THEY CALL YOU!!!

IRS

If they say they are the IRS and you have to pay them ….do your self a favor …go to the local IRS office and give them this money.  Do not give the IRS money over the phone.  The IRS will not call you and ask for money over the phone.

JAIL

THEY TOLD ME I WOULD GO TO JAIL IF I DID NOT PAY THE IRS.  Ok.  You do not usually go to jail for not paying your taxes, only for not filing your tax returns or for fraudulently filing your tax returns.  Do not give the” IRS” money over the telephone.  The IRS will not call you and ask for money over the telephone.  An owner of a business called me that got scammed on this one.  Do not be afraid to call a lawyer or go to the police if you think you have been scammed. You are not alone.

Tell your friends this stuff because I know you, especially after reading this, would never get scammed – but you might know someone who would.  ( an elderly person?  )  ( a mentally challenged person? )  ( a laborer who simply does not know any better? ) ( A business man who does not know any better? ) Any person can be scammed.  These people are professionals at this.  We all know people that could be taken in.   We have had people come into the office that did just this.  They were facing criminal charges.  The one that commits the crime that can be prosecuted is the one that presents the bad check to the bank.  If you have been taken in by a scam change your bank accounts.  Close your credit cards.  Put an identity theft remark on your credit reports. (This will be the subject of another blog). Protect yourself please.

An easy way to see if a check is good is to call the bank it is written on.  Get your bank to call the bank it is written on before you cash it.  If it’s a postal money order go to the post office and see if it’s a forgery and take the envelope it came in with you and ask the post office if its legitimate.

NIGERIA

I talked to one man and he had given $30,000 to the Nigerians on one of those scams.  He said “Well I want my money back.”  I said, “If you go meet them in England, they will kill you for the money on you.”  He persisted.  I said, “Do a will before you go to save your family the expenses they will incur when they kill you.”  I don’t know if he kept on being scammed and I had to be tough on him.  A banker had asked me to call him to stop giving his money away.

What if they tell me there is a fee, some taxes, or custom duties I have to pay or I will go to jail.  Tell them to put it in writing and you will take it to your lawyer and your accountant to review and if your lawyer and accountant both agree you will pay it at that time.

What if they tell me they will sue me.  Tell them please file suit and you will take it to your lawyer to figure out how to handle it.

What if they tell me they will arrest me.  Tell them to send the police.  You are waiting.

They will tell you whatever they think you will believe.

What if they tell me they are a beautiful Russian woman who is in love with you and needs money to come here?  It’s in all likelihood a scam and you are probably pouring out your soul to a man.

What can I do?  Report scams to the FTC.

Who is the FTC?  Federal Trade Commission.

What is the FTC? You can read about them at  http://www.ftc.gov/

Where do I report scams?  https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/#crnt&panel1-1

Well, this legal advice Is free!!!

Really?  I thought you just said if it sounds too good to be true it probably is?  The operative word is “probably” people.  I am not asking you to give me anything in exchange.  Why?  My job in life is to make your life easier.

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Really Legal stuff….. © 11.15.14. Lois Beasley-Carlisle

Okay my disclaimer of the day is the required disclosure for all attorneys.  Alabama.  “No  representation is made that the quality of the legal services to be performed is greater than the quality of legal services performed by other lawyers.” Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 7.2(e) (2002).
Florida  (b) Internet Presence. All World Wide Web sites and home pages accessed via the Internet that are controlled or sponsored by a lawyer or law firm and that contain information concerning the lawyer’s or law firm’s services:  (1) shall disclose all jurisdictions in which the lawyer or members of the law firm are licensed to practice law; Alabama and Florida.  (2) shall disclose 1 or more bona fide office locations of the lawyer or law firm, in accordance with subdivision (a)(2) of rule 4-7.2; and Lois Beasley-Carlisle, Offices of Carlisle & Carlisle, P.C.,  1621 Pinson St., Tarrant, AL 35217.  (3) are considered to be information provided upon request.  Florida Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 4-7.6(b) (2008).