Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Credit Repair Scams

Common Credit Repair Scams

Getting a New Social Security Number - Individuals are only permitted to have one Social Security number. It is against the law to use a different Social Security number to create a false identity.
Getting a Federal Employer Identification Number (abbreviated as EIN or FEIN) - Proponents of this "file segregation" scam claim that you can obtain a federal tax ID number, as if you are a business, then get a clean credit record under that tax ID number. It is against the law to use an EIN to set up a false identity. Further, a new credit report under an EIN will not show any credit history. It is unlikely that a creditor would regard a new business with no credit history as a good credit risk.
Challenging Every Negative Entry on a Credit History - As a general rule, it is lawful for credit agencies to keep accurate records of negative entries on your credit history for up to seven years, and to keep records of any bankruptcies for up to ten years. There are certain circumstances where truthful negative information may be reported beyond those time periods. As much as you do not like having negative information on your credit report, your ability to object to inaccurate information is not meant to be a license to harass honest creditors in an effort to remove accurate negative entries.

Common Misrepresentations by Credit Repair Companies

"If you have declared bankruptcy, you can't get credit for ten years" - The truth is you can start building a positive credit history as soon as your bankruptcy is resolved. While creditors will be cautious at first, you can gradually demonstrate your fiscal responsibility, and build a history that can lead lenders to view you as a good credit risk long before the bankruptcy drops from your credit history.

Warning Signs of a Bad Credit Repair Company

Do not use any credit repair company that doesn't follow industry standards or regulations.
Do not use a credit repair company that offers to "wipe out bankruptcies", to remove accurate negative information from your credit history, or to obtain credit for you regardless of your credit history.
Do not use a credit repair company that promises to exploit "secret" or "little known" loopholes in the system to remove information from your credit history.
Do not use a credit repair company unless it provides a written disclosure of your rights in relation to your credit history before asking you to sign a contract. The contract should include all the terms and conditions of payment, a detailed description of the services to be provided, including any guarantees of performance and an estimate of how long it will take to perform the contract. The agreement should also include a right to cancel lasting at least three days, in case you have second thoughts.
Do not use a credit repair company that attempts to charge money before it has performed the credit repair services.
Do not use a credit repair company that discourages you from directly contacting the major credit bureaus.

Removing Inaccurate Information From Your Credit History

Although the process can be slow, it is relatively simple to object to inaccurate information on your credit history.

After you obtain a copy of your credit report, review it for any inaccuracies. If you don't understand some of the entries on the report, ask the credit reporting agency what they mean.
Once you have identified any inaccurate entries, notify the credit bureau about the entries you believe to be in error, providing as much information as you can about the error. For example, if you paid a debt which is reflected on your credit report as delinquent, you may wish to provide a copy of a cancelled check reflecting payment. Once you make the report, the credit agency is responsible to investigate any errors at no expense to you, and to either verify the information in the credit report or to remove any information that is inaccurate or which cannot be verified.
You may also contact creditors directly, to let them know of any errors, and to ask that they correct their records and forward accurate information to the credit reporting agencies.
If you are unable to obtain the removal of information from your credit report, and still object to its inclusion, you may submit a written objection (up to 100 words in length) to the credit reporting agency, explaining your side of the story. The explanation will be included in your credit report, and will be distributed to anybody who obtains a copy of the report.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Wage Garnishment Must Stop After a Bankruptcy Case is Filed; You Might Even be Able to Get Money Back

Bankruptcy Stops Wage Garnishment

The minute a bankruptcy cases filed,an injunction called the automatic stay is issued, which prohibits creditors from trying to collect on debts that were included in the bankruptcy. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has called the automatic stay “one of the most important protections in bankruptcy law.” The automatic stay is self-executing, effective upon the filing of the bankruptcy case and requires that all collection calls, lawsuits and garnishments must stop immediately. Creditors who continue with collection efforts face stiff fines and penalties from the bankruptcy court. Section 362(k) of the Bankruptcy Code provides:
An individual injured by any willful violation of a stay provided by this section shall recover actual damages, including costs and attorneys’ fees, and, in appropriate circumstances, may recover punitive damages.

Reference National Bankruptcy Forum

Visit us at http://www.markcarterlaw.com today for debt relief

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Can I be Denied a Job Because of Bankruptcy?

The Answer May Hinge on Whether Your Employer is Public or Private

I Need to File Bankruptcy, But I’m Worried About My Job…Can I Get Fired?

If you have a job, need to file bankruptcy, and are worried about getting fired because of it, you probably shouldn’t be. The bankruptcy code prevents employers from firing you just because you have filed for bankruptcy. However, if you are a job seeker, need to file bankruptcy, and are worried about being denied a job, you might have cause for concern. Under the current state of the law, a private employer can deny you a job if you are currently in or have filed for bankruptcy, whereas a public employer cannot. Section 525(a) of the Bankruptcy Code provides:
a governmental unit may not . . . deny employment to, terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, a person that is or has been a debtor under this title [Title 11] or a bankrupt or a debtor under the Bankruptcy Act 
Notice that section 525(a) applies only to public employers. The behavior of private employers is governed by section 525(b) which prohibits discrimination based on bankruptcy, but does not contain the language of 525(a) which addresses denying employment to a debtor based on a bankruptcy filing. The bankruptcy code has this to say about discrimination by private employers:
No private employer may terminate the employment of, or discriminate with respect to employment against, an individual who is or has been a debtor under this title, a debtor or bankrupt under the Bankruptcy Act, or an individual associated with such debtor or bankrupt

Reference National Bankruptcy Forum

Visit us at http://www.markcarterlaw.com today!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

5 Ways to Deal With Financial Stress

1. Exercise
It may strike some as a bit strange that exercise would be first on the list. However, it’s really a simple equation: exercise relieves stress. Things always look brighter after a good workout. According to the Mayo Clinic, an exercise routine helps to increase the production of your brain’s feel-good neurotransmitters, called endorphins. Any exercise that gets your heart rate going will do: yoga, squash, tennis, running, basketball etc. Regular exercise can increase self-confidence and lower the symptoms associated with mild depression and anxiety. Exercise also can improve your sleep, which is often disrupted by stress; ever stay up at night wondering how you’ll pay the bills?

2. Prayer/Mediation/Mindful Living
Regardless of religious affiliation, a back to basics spiritual approach can help cope with stress. Take the time to focus on your breath. Ask yourself: of all my problems, what problem am I confronting NOW. Although it can be difficult, try not to immerse yourself in too many scenarios about the future. Deal only with what is on your plate, one day at a time. As Mark Twain famously said: ”I am an old man and have known a great many troubles, but most of them never happened.”

3. Full Disclosure
A routine bankruptcy case is stressful enough, believe me, you don’t want to see a “problem” case. For the debtor, bankruptcy is all about their debt. However, it is important to keep in mind that the Court and trustee are more concerned with assets. This post is intended to aid in relieving stress, so I won’t go through the parade of horribles that will ensue if your schedules are filed sans assets. Just follow one rule: tell your bankruptcy attorney about everything you own, you’ll be glad you did.

4. Don’t Go Through it Alone
One very common source of stress for bankruptcy debtors is shame. Many feel that bankruptcy represents failure. This simply isn’t true. Bankruptcy is a legal, ethical and entirely legitimate process which allows for a fresh start. Taking advantage of bankruptcy under the right circumstances is nothing to be ashamed of. To the contrary, it’s a sophisticated move, utilized often by multinational corporations and celebrities. Discussing your concerns with a close friend or family member will allow for an outlet to all the pressure that is building inside of you. Let it out! Worrying about what other people think should be last on your menu of concerns during a financial crisis.

5. Develop a Plan of Attack for Life After Bankruptcy
This is a big one. Putting together a plan of attack for your life after bankruptcy will be important, not only to relieve stress, but to thrive in your new debt free life.  Identify the circumstances that led to bankruptcy, and if possible, take steps to remedy them. Rebuilding credit will be a key, start by taking a look at the articles in the Related Posts section below. Knowing that you have mapped out the beginnings of a comeback will allow you to sleep better at night.

Lastly, try to remember that, while the bankruptcy process is not easy or fun, it has helped millions of people in this country get out from under impossible debt. Talk to a good bankruptcy attorney, disclose all of your assets, breathe, exercise, plan and you’ll get by……with a little help from your friends. Good luck!

Reference Bankruptcy Forum

Visit us at http://www.markcarterlaw.com for help today!

Friday, December 6, 2013

How Long Does it Take to File Chapter 7?

Typically, a Chapter 7 bankruptcy case is relatively quick to complete. Your bankruptcy case could be completed and discharged within 3-6 months of filing bankruptcy.

However, there are some important dates that can affect your right to file a case and obtain the relief available. The following filing timeline illustrates the relevant dates in the typical Chapter 7 bankruptcy case. We can help you see what details may affect your case.

Visit us today!  www.markcarterlaw.com

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Can You Keep Your Car If You File Bankruptcy?

Many people who file for bankruptcy and own a car are allowed to keep it during and after their case, especially if it is used for getting to and from work.

If you are behind on car payments, you may be able to use bankruptcy laws to keep your vehicle in your possession.

Both types of personal bankruptcy address cars, car loans and vehicles you own outright:
  • The automatic stay in bankruptcy is designed to stop repossession. In most cases, this goes into effect right after you officially file for bankruptcy.
  • Chapter 7 bankruptcy exemptions may protect your car from a forced sale.
  • Filing for bankruptcy under a Chapter 13 may allow you to repay your car loan at a more affordable rate so that you don't lose your car to collectors.

Monday, December 2, 2013

How to Recover from Bankruptcy

Some people fear bankruptcy, others embrace it, and many people think it is an easy way out. It is really none of those. Bankruptcy must be viewed as the last resort and for many people it is. It is scary, but it should not be feared any more than the impending lawsuits and wage garnishments that are certainly in your future. It is also not an easy way out. Bankruptcy is a scarlet letter, something that will haunt you for years to come, but you can recover from bankruptcy if you truly want to change your life for the better.


  1. Look at bankruptcy as a new beginning, not the end of the world. It is a relief from the prison of debt that you have been under. As long as you have learned how to be a good steward of your finances, bankruptcy can be a real life saver for you, your marriage and your family.
  2. Avoid immediately opening up lines of credit. During the process and soon after discharge, you will probably start receiving offers for more credit cards and lines of credit. Do not take the bait. It is well known that you are no longer able to declare bankruptcy again for so many years, so these companies know they have you for at least that long.
  3. Take a financial management seminar or classes. Bankruptcy might have been completely out of your control, perhaps from a major medical crisis and your insurance just did not cover it. Otherwise, perhaps you feel that you are a good manager of your finances, outside of that medical situation. Regardless of the situation that got you here, you will do much for your future by taking such a course.
  4. Accept an offer for a department store credit card if you must. Unfortunately, after bankruptcy knocks your credit down to next to nothing, the catch-22 becomes that you need credit to build credit. If credit cards were your weakness or perceived means of survival, get a department store credit card rather than a regular credit card. In this respect, your purchases will be limited to just what the store sells.
  5. Get a new car loan only if you need a new car and if you can afford the payment. If you must, get a cheaper used car loan. A car loan is a quick way to rebuild your credit.
Visit us today!  We can help! www.markcarterlaw.com