Category Archives: Consumer Finance

Beware of Scams on Facebook Marketplace: Tips to Protect Yourself and Others

Example and Video from a Scammed Mother Shopping for a Television on Facebook Marketplace

Watch the video: Avoiding Facebook Marketplace Scams

“It Wasn’t Worth it,” said the woman who lost $250 to a scammer on Facebook Marketplace. The seller had a 65 inch smart TV for sale for $250. The buyer got the tip from a friend who said they recognized the seller on Marketplace as a high school friend. The seller acted with urgency, asking the buyer to send her the money using Venmo, a mobile payment service owned by PayPal. “There was a need to act fast.”

After the buyer sent the money, the excuses started rolling in. The buyer was not able to get the television. After many days passed, thy buyer asked for a refund. The seller said the money was already spent on bills.

Law enforcement says that if it sounds like it is too good to be true, it probably is. And if you are suspicious of anyone selling an online item, move along to the next seller.

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Joseph Wrobel Can Help You Today at (312) 781-0996

Joseph Wrobel Attorney At Law

Security Concerns when Buying from Any Online Marketplace

There are several ways a con may try to get your personal information. From giving information about yourself in conversation to giving out your email or phone number, you may be giving more clues to someone than you expect. People may prefer to communicate through Facebook Messenger or a similar program instead of giving email or phone numbers that can be Googled for more information about you.

By sticking with a messenger program you know and trust, you can block anyone who seems up to no good or with whom you no longer want to communicate.

CNN Tips: 10 ways to stay safe when buying and selling online

Never Meet at Your Home or Workplace, Always Meet in Public

When buying or selling with someone you don’t know, use a designated public meeting place that is well lit, where there will be other people and security cameras. Call your local police or fire station and ask them if they know of any recommended spots to meet up with Facebook Marketplace buyers and sellers.

After you leave, make sure you are not followed home. Sophisticated crooks may use more than one vehicle and as one is leaving, the other is following you. It’s always good to vary your route home or make another stop somewhere safe and keep an eye open to make sure you were not followed.

Exchange Cash for Goods at the Same Time

Do not give someone your item and allow them to make payments later because the likelihood is they will never pay you. This is a common scam. Also, don’t fall for the “check in the mail” bit because it is usually a con.

Is the cash counterfeit? Is their check any good? How about cash? What about a bank check? Consider your comfort level in receiving secure payment in your transaction. If you are comfortable using a mobile payment method, do it on-site and give the person the item once you have received confirmation you received the money free and clear.

Does Something Seem Not Right About Your Buyer or Seller?

Especially when people say they are in the middle of moving to our out of state, be on alert for scammers. While there are many honest people who do buy and sell things like couches and televisions while moving, this is a perfect story to spin to a scam victim.

When using Facebook Marketplace you can view the person’s profile. You may have to add them as a Facebook friend to see more detail. Try asking if you don’t mind adding them as a friend before setting up the sale. Look for the same red flags you would if you received a friend request with someone who has no friends, has a brand new profile, or something else just does not seem right.

Know What You are Buying or Selling and What it is Worth

You may see someone selling a vehicle on Facebook Messenger telling you they just moved into the city and no longer need it, or need to raise money to pay for a court fine or child support. Beware, even though people may need to buy or sell quickly, they usually do not buy or sell things way over or under fair market value.

Do some research and look up what similar items are worth on various sites, including Craigslist, where you should also beware of shady buyers and sellers.

Great website – the nest – Read: How to Determine Fair Market Value of Household Items

Do Not Assume Other People’s Payments on Financed Items, Vehicles, or Property

What if you just got a new job and need a different vehicle to get to work. Maybe your credit is on the rebound and the car dealerships can’t help you. While it may be tempting to agree to take over another person’s payments on something, you should be very careful. Without understanding contract laws and remedies, you could end up getting in trouble. You might accidentally enter into a contract to receive stolen goods.

Here’s the link to search for “scam” and find related blog articles on our website, ChicagoBankruptcy.com

With too many scary examples to list, we recommend you stop and call Joseph Wrobel and talk to him about a concern that something may be a scam. Please also share this information with your friends and family who might be too trusting and need some street-smart tips on safety when buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace or anywhere else online.

Chicago Bankruptcy Attorney, Joseph Wrobel Wants You to Be a Safe Consumer

While our law firm is focused on bankruptcy protection, that is only part of our mission. We want everyone who knows us to come to us for tips and advice on buying, selling and making the best financial decisions for a bright and prosperous life.

For answers to any bankruptcy or consumer financial questions, call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. at (312) 781-0996 and please remember to share this article with others and be smart buying and selling on Facebook Marketplace.

500 Jobs Cut: May Need Career Retraining After Job Cuts and Bankruptcy May Be a Great Option

500 Jobs Cut: May Need Career Retraining After Job Cuts and Bankruptcy May Be a Great Option

News reports say nearly 500 employees in the Chicago-area working for MB Financial Bank will be out of a job soon. The MB Financial job cuts are happening because Fifth Third Bank recently acquired MB Financial Bank in a $4.7 billion merger. 493 layoffs are expected in May, most of the job cuts taking place at the MB Financial location in Rosemont, and about a dozen in the downtown Chicago MB corporate headquarters. For many reasons some of the people who lose their jobs with MB Financial will need career retraining after job cuts.

A bank spokesman reported that most of the layoffs are coming in the next four months and others will occur over time through the rest of 2019 and 2020. The reason for the job cuts is a cost savings of $255 million, in part from closing one in five bank branch locations.

Chicago Bankruptcy Lawyer Joseph Wrobel Can Help You Today at (312) 781-0996 

Trends we can follow after job cuts are announced indicate that more customer service jobs are going away because of the Internet and automation technology. If automated telephone answering software can understand you and help with basic account information and customer service, there is less need for a customer service representative. Likewise, if more people can get their banking information and handle basic transactions on their computers, handheld devices, and ATMs, the need for human customer service professionals decreases.

Could You Pay the Bills While Looking for a New Job?

The recent US Government Shutdowns were shocking to many people because they were unable to pay their rent, mortgages, credit cards, and utilities. Even though the federal employees temporarily laid off from their non-essential government positions were going to receive back pay, their cash flow was interrupted.

Could you pay the bills if you suddenly had to live without getting a paycheck on time? You may be able to get away with only paying the minimum due amounts on credit cards, and getting a month behind on utilities, but most likely you cannot get along too long without substantial savings.

Many of the workers affected by shutdowns waited for the government to reopen, and others immediately started looking for a new job. If you cannot pay the bills after a job cut you might be facing evictions, foreclosures, credit account default, and the shutoff of utilities.

Read our article about this problem: Bankruptcy for Unpaid Workers

Bankruptcy Protection: Chapter 13 Reorganization

There are two types of bankruptcy protection available to consumers with debts they cannot pay. First, Chapter 7 Bankruptcy helps to wipe out and discharge the responsibility to pay dischargeable debts. Note that not all debts are dischargeable. For example, child support is not a debt you can discharge in a bankruptcy case.

Second, a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy is referred to as a wage earner’s plan. People with regular income can use Chapter 13 to develop a plan to repay a portion of their debts over a three to five year period. The problem workers facing job cuts may face is not having the regular income to qualify for a Chapter 13 Bankruptcy, also referred to as a “reorganization” bankruptcy. It is important to talk to an experienced bankruptcy attorney to learn how you can qualify for either Chapter 7 or Chapter 13.

When you contact Joseph Wrobel, Limited at (312) 781-0996 you can share more information about your financial circumstances and get a better idea which bankruptcy laws you can take advantage of to help get you out of debt.

Stop the Bill Collectors with the Automatic Stay

One of the most exciting advantages of a bankruptcy filing is the Automatic Stay provision that stops collectors in their tracks. Simply put, when someone files for bankruptcy, creditors may no longer pursue any collection activity. Therefore, during the bankruptcy case, whether you have a Chapter 7 or a Chapter 13, the bill collectors cannot communicate with you at all. No more phone calls, no more threatening letters.

The immediate ceasing of collection activity is just the first benefit of bankruptcy that many people can enjoy. Too often when people think about bankruptcy, they imagine companies going out of business and empty buildings. For consumers, bankruptcy is a right and a law designed to give people a fresh start, a chance to get back in control of money and finances.

Most people who file for bankruptcy will tell you that the anticipation of filing for bankruptcy was more stressful than actually moving forward and filing for Chapter 7 or 13. You may have a variety of questions about job cuts and bankruptcy.

Job Retraining Programs, Online, and Trade School Options

The chances are that some of the MB Financial employees losing their jobs are going to need career retraining after job cuts so they can get a new position, in a new career track. Workers in positions being reduced or replaced by technology and automation can change directions and pursue retraining for new positions that will be in demand and not in immediate danger of being cut.

When looking into career retraining options, consider some of the following steps you can take to make more money and increase job security:

  • Take a class to explore a new career field, to update a specific job skill or learn a new skill to make you more appealing to employers. By taking a class after being out of school for years, you show employers that you are flexible and interested in learning new skills.
  • Short-term training for new jobs is something you can pursue through certification programs, and certificate programs at local schools.
  • Begin a degree program and switch careers. You can plan your education and enroll in a degree program using financial aid tools which can also help pay for living expenses while pursuing higher education. Job cuts can be a disguised blessing.

Getting Financially Fit with Joseph Wrobel, Limited, the Chicago Bankruptcy Law Firm (312) 781-0996.

Even with bad news of job cuts, there are good opportunities behind the scenes. Some who wish for a higher paying job or career with more opportunities may get their wish in a job cut situation. The nearly 500 employees at MB Financial Bank can take advantage of one of their bankruptcy options while also pursuing retraining opportunities. To learn about bankruptcy or get some tips and leads on career retraining after job cuts, call Joseph Wrobel, Limited in Chicago at (312) 871-0996.

NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment

Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment and Public Service Student Loan Forgiveness

Student loan debt, second only to mortgages, is the leading debt category for consumers. The rising cost of college tuition and living expenses causes many students to apply for student loans to cover more of the tuition and expenses students cannot afford. When graduating, many students have significant debt.

“The average student in the Class of 2016 has $37,172 in student loan debt. The average student in the Class of 2017 has almost $40,000 in student loan debt.”[i] The student loans for doctors and many healthcare professionals are significantly higher and have monthly payment amounts equal to the amount of monthly of mortgage payments.

For others who are not healthcare professionals, skip down to the section of this article about Public Student Loan Forgiveness for government and nonprofit employees.

Too many young healthcare graduates can’t pay student loans and maintain a standard of living.

The rising cost of living coupled with slow to rise wages and hourly pay, too many young graduates may have to chose among paying student loans or their basics daily needs. As a result, many must use limited forbearance time and or not pay their loans.

Unpaid student loans are a significant problem. Collection activity can be aggressive and lead many to file a bankruptcy case, stopping the collection with the Automatic Stay provision of the bankruptcy code in a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy case. Call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. for bankruptcy information (312) 781-0996.

Meanwhile there is another solution for healthcare professionals that also combats opioid addiction!

“Physicians, nurses, pharmacists, midwives, physician assistance, behavioral health professionals and substance abuse disorder counselors, among others”[ii] are eligible to apply for student loan repayment.

Eligible applicants who complete the program can qualify for up to $37,500 worth of loan forgiveness or for up to $75,000 worth of loan forgiveness depending on their participation in a part-time or full-time service in identified underserved communities.

Struggling neighborhoods and communities fight the opioid epidemic with whatever they have, and it is not enough. Young healthcare professional graduates excited about this loan repayment program have a unique opportunity to work off their student loans by serving in an approved substance use disorder site. The approved substance use disorder sites are in health professional shortage areas.

NHSC Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment Programs Require 3 Year Commitments

Three years of full-time service, working in an under-served neighborhood substance use disorder site can earn the qualified healthcare professional up to $75,000 in loan repayment. For healthcare professionals who cannot work full-time but can make part-time commitments, they can receive up toe $37,500 for their service to members of communities who might otherwise become a daily statistic.

“Every day, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), more than 130 people die due to opioid-related drug overdoses.[iii]

Public Service Loan Forgiveness Programs for City, State and Federal Employees                         

The Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program is for federal student loans for all types of employees work in public service. Employees who have jobs with a government or not-for-profit organizations can use the tools on the U.S. Department of Education Federal Student Aid website to learn more to see whether they might qualify.

Generally, qualified applicants work full-time a government agency or approved nonprofit, have Direct Loans on an income-driven repayment plan and make 120 qualifying payments.

What if I don’t have a healthcare job or work for a government or nonprofit employer?

People with student loans who do not qualify for the Substance Use Disorder Workforce Loan Repayment or the Public Service Loan Forgiveness Program can still take advantage of Federal Student Aid repayment plans to ease the financial burden on borrowers who are growing their careers and small businesses to be better able to pay off their student loans in the future.

When your federal student loan payment schedule is high compared to your income, an income-driven repayment plan can help you stay current with your student loans while your ability to pay is less than you would otherwise like.

There are four income-driven repayment plans on the Federal Student Aid site:                        

  • Revised Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Pay As You Earn Repayment Plan
  • Income-Based Repayment Plan
  • Income-Contingent Repayment Plan

Consult a Tax Expert with Questions About Student Loan Forgiveness Plans

When certain types of debts are forgiven there can be a tax liability. For example, when credit card companies agree to “write off” a percentage of the debt you owe, that “forgiven” amount can be taxable and be included as income on your tax return.

Always determine the details of any tax liability for any student loan repayment or forgiveness plan, whether a federal student loan or a private student loan.

If Chapter 13 Bankruptcy Helps You with Student Loans, Call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd.

A Chapter 13 “reorganization bankruptcy” allows you to enter a repayment plan to pay back portions of your debts over a three to five-year period. You can include your student loans in your monthly repayment plan.

Despite all our best efforts and hard work, bad things can happen to all good people and everyone deserves a fresh start and to take advantage of the bankruptcy laws that were passed in order to help us in a time of financial need. Contact us through our website or call us at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. in Chicago at (312) 781-0996 to set an appointment to talk about your financial questions and to help you determine if a bankruptcy would make sense to you and would help give you relief from your financial woes.

[i] Forbes: This New Program Will Pay $75,000 Of Your Student Loans. By Zach Friedman, Feb. 7, 2019.

[ii] See Forbes article in HNi

[iii][iii] See Forbes article in HNi

Facebook Scams Seniors Should Avoid

Senior citizens are frequently targeted and there are new Facebook scams seniors should avoid.

There are two Facebook scams seniors should avoid to protect them from becoming victimized by online scammers. There are assumptions scammers make about their victims such as believing they are less experienced with social media and computers. They assume things that might alert someone else, could appear normal to others who may be their mark.

A common trick is the virus scam, where a phony Facebook friend shares an enticing article link that causes a virus alert to appear with a phone number to call and remove the also phony virus.

Helping Seniors Avoid Catfish on Facebook

People with different levels of experience with social media might be more susceptible to being targeted for scams. Consider a cousin or old friend you don’t hear from very often, there could be a fake Facebook account that looks just like them, but it is really someone else. The term “catfish” is commonly used to refer to someone on social media pretending to be another person.

Help teach seniors that Facebook scams seniors should avoid usually start with a friend request from someone they already friended on Facebook. Let them know that if something seems odd, ask someone they trust before accepting a suspicious friend request. Reassure them if it seems odd to get a friend request from someone they thought was already on their page, it could be a catfish up to no good.

Teaching Seniors About the Virus Scam

Seniors should learn to avoid catfish that scam seniors out of money. The phony Facebook account that looks like your friend or cousin will usually share a link in their feed as bait. When you click on what looks like a normal link from someone you know, the link either infects your computer with a virus, or it causes a loud flashing alert to appear on the screen.

The virus alert says that your computer files are in serious risk of damage and the whole computer system and anything connected to it will self-destruct, for example. When the targeted victim calls the phone number that appears on the screen, the person on the other end demands a large payment to get rid of the virus. It is a scam because there is NO ACTUAL VIRUS. All you need to do in most cases is restart the computer and everything is back to normal.

Ideally the victim of the scam will remember who shared the link they clicked on causing the scammer virus alert in the first place. It is also a good idea to teach seniors to click on the list of all their Facebook friends every now and then to see if there are two accounts for any one person, the signal of a catfish.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., is more than a bankruptcy firm. We are also a hub for positive consumer empowerment through sharing tips and information about financial success. If you or someone you know needs help, call us at (312) 781-0996 or Contact Us on our website. Joseph Wrobel wants everyone to be safe online and wants people to spread the word about Facebook scams seniors should avoid.

Problem: Open trade jobs with no applicants

Problem: Open trade jobs with no applicants

All the kids graduating from high school are going straight to college and the pool of skilled trade talent is running dry. Like sheep following a shepherd high school seniors graduate and march off to college in the fall because that is what everyone else does. Meanwhile, there are housing booms around the country and not enough skilled trade workers to get the jobs done. There are open trade jobs with no applicants, a considerable problem and missed opportunity for many.

When people can learn skilled trades and vocations in less time than it takes to earn a liberal arts degree, it can be easier to retrain people for the new lines of work needed in a variety of industries, not only construction.

A shortage of plumbers and air conditioning repair technicians is a real problem when the need exceeds the available skilled workers to solve homeowners’ emergencies.

College tuition is expensive, and the loans can be gigantic

When it costs $15,000 and more per year to attend a state school in Illinois the student loans can multiply quickly. Especially when many students borrow more than the money for tuition, books and fees and maximize their loans to also include rent and living expenses, the total cost of a four year degree can easily reach $100,000.

With a $100,000 student loan an average interest rate of 5.7% a student will pay $1,095 a month on a 10-year repayment plan and make combined total payments in the amount of $131,424. The interest alone would be enough to buy a dependable vehicle or a down payment on a home.

The earlier you start working, the earlier you build net worth and gain assets

A couple years out of high school, an iron worker in Seattle is earning more than $50,000 a year with no college degree required. His name is Morgan and he makes $28.36 an hour working on a jobsite with Pacific Northwest Ironworkers shop. He is already earning great benefits and a pension. Meanwhile all his high school friends went off to college and someday they will make as much as he does at age 20.

Because Morgan doesn’t have large student debt burdens he is able to save for a house and his retirement much earlier than his peers who went to college and want to continue to graduate school. Surely many of them will do well, but it will take them many more years to get into the red where they are getting out of debt and accumulating assets.

Joseph Wrobel wants you to make smart financial decisions and get a head!

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read

New IRS “verify call” scam

New IRS “verify call” scam

The IRS recently published a warning on their website about a new scam where criminals use technology to manipulate the phone number on your caller id. When calling, the “verify call” scammer will tell you they are with the IRS and calling from your local Taxpayer Assistance Center (TAC) office and are calling making a demand for a payment for taxes. If you were to question whether the call was legitimate, they would tell you to make a note of their phone number on your caller id and then look it up on IRS.gov to verify it was a legitimate call.

What you might not have known was that criminals can use technology to change the appearance of their phone number on your caller id. They used technology to make it look like they were really calling from the local TAC office.

The IRS does not usually call people, they send letters first.

If the IRS wants some information from you, they use written correspondence and send you several letters they call “notices” in the mail. The IRS will never call you on the telephone and demand payment by a credit or debit card, that is not how the IRS does business.

The IRS does not take any of these actions:

  • Demand a specific type of payment such as a credit card, prepaid debit card or wire;
  • Require you pay taxes without the opportunity to appeal or get more information about the amount you are said to owe;
  • Threaten you with law or immigration enforcement;
  • Threaten to take your drivers or business license.

When the IRS wants payment, they provide instructions for making and sending payments to the United States Treasury as you prefer.

What should you do if you are contacted in a similar scam?

First, the IRS warns to be aware and alert about tax scams not only during tax season and before the annual filing deadline, but year-round. Second, if you receive a phone scam or any IRS impersonation scam, contact the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at the IRS Impression Scam Reporting website or email phishing@irs.gov with “IRS Phone Scam.” In the subject line. Third, share this blog article with others on social media to warn them about the phone scam.

New IRS “verify call” scam
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

Choosing an affordable college

Choosing an affordable college and creating an employable foundation is a key to success. In 2017 there is one thing that seems certain and that is change. The rise and fall of professions and the volume of applicants for certain jobs can put a college graduate in a rough spot. Especially if you have a specialized education in a competitive and sometimes saturated market, it can be difficult to compete with others who have even more education and connections. The concept of earning a degree and being due a job in your field is yielding the right of way to making smarter and arguably safer choices and choosing an affordable college.

Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel earning a degree and being due a job in your field is yielding the right of way to making smarter and arguably safer choices with your time and money.
Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel

Will the career you are going to school for exist in 20 years when you are still paying off student loans?

Consider careers in nursing versus computer programming. While the programmer may be easier to train in new IT careers, the specialized degrees may not be as valuable in the future, especially when you consider technology and how quickly things change. For tech lovers choosing an affordable college, there are many local community college programs offering certificate programs in the foundation skills a tech industry worker needs to be able to continue learning and training on new technology as it develops.

Nursing, however, will always be necessary. For anyone committed to a nursing career, the time and money spent on a reputable college nursing degree may be worth your resources. That said, what if you decide down the road that nursing is too stressful, and you want to make a career change. Ask yourself what your base education is worth in other careers and industries and will you need to go back to school for more education and training?

Do you need to work full time, or can you take more time to pursue your education while keeping food on the table? Choosing an affordable college sounds like a smart idea. 

When some people go to school full time they take on extra student loans to pay for housing and living expenses because they are not working during college. While some students are living on their parent’s support and have the luxury of not working and not taking additional student loans, they not be better off if they do not maintain a job and work ethic while in school. For many students, the flexibility of part-time and online course alternatives makes it easier to work and go to school. It may take longer to finish your education, but you can help pay towards your tuition while you are going and will have significantly less student loan debt when you graduate.

Know what you are getting into when you take financial aid and student loans to avoid buyer’s remorse.

Have you ever read the fine print when buying a car? You may nod your head and just sign on the dotted line. When you do this with student loan financial aid packages you might be putting yourself in the path of a bad deal and significant consequences if for some reason you are unable to make your regularly scheduled loan payments.

We recommend reading this CNBC article, How to pick a college that won’t leave you with a mountain of student loan debt to read some of the alarming facts and figures that might prompt you to play closer attention to what may seem like free money at the time.

At Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., we want everyone to take control of their financial future and success by sharing smart financial information and helping people working to reach their financial goals.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start. (312) 781-0996.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

What would you do with the worst car loan known to man?

A young professional recently learned he had one of the worst car loan deals in history when he found out some extensions on his loan pushed the loan maturity date farther into the future than he expected.

The companies who make loans when others might decline the buyer

When people have struggling credit, or are financing a vehicle with considerable negative equity (they owe more than their trade is worth) there might be fewer options for conventional financing. Alternatively, there are companies who will make the loans to people who otherwise might not be approved. Unfortunately for the buyer, the companies who make the higher risk loans are not always the most honest and ethical.

The fine print and details in the terms of car loans is confusing, especially the information about how interest is calculated and how much of the payments are applied to the principal balance of the loan. Too often people need the new vehicle so bad that they are willing to sign just about anything to get the deal done and the keys in their hands.

Here’s what to watch out for if you have a high-risk car loan:

  • When do you make your payments?

Your car loan servicing company to whom you make payments can tell you exactly when you are supposed to make your payment. If you make it early, you could run into fines if that makes the next payment not made early occur more than 30 days after the first payment. Sounds confusing? There are all kinds of deadlines and time frames to watch out for to make sure your payment is made and received on time and the most amount of money possible, if any, is applied to the principal loan balance.

  • Allowed payment skips adding payments later:

Beware of the option to skip a payment this month and add it to the end of the loan. When you do this, you may be paying fees and interest that totals to a large amount of money many times more than your monthly payment. People who found out the hard way expected their loan payoff date to be very different than what the loan servicer was then saying. The way they calculate interest when you extend your payments is what can cost you so much more money.

  • Dealing with foreign-owned loan companies:

Many people believe they will be able to contact the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the Better Business Bureau or a local attorney to help them with a problem they are having on a difficult car loan. If the company is foreign and not based in the U.S. you may have fewer options as to who can do something to help you. In some cases, you may be at the mercy of the foreign company who owns your car loan.

The young professional we mention at the beginning of this article encountered all the problems listed above and wonders if he is stuck paying a $20,000 car off to the point it becomes more than $40,000 worth of payments? How is that possible? It happens too often.

Bankruptcy may be an option if he wants to consider the impact of the bad car loan considering his entire financial picture. The bad deal might be an inconvenience, or it might be a deal breaker to the point a Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy looks rather appealing.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

New Credit Reporting Rules: Many may find relief from reports of tax liens and civil judgments

New rules provide credit score relief for some people who have tax liens and civil money judgments against them. Errors on consumer credit reports have been a problem for a long time and many people have incorrect information on their credit reports. New credit reporting rules take effect July 1 and change the way Trans Union, Experian and Equifax verify data regarding the reporting of tax liens and civil judgments. Now, the three credit reporting agencies must verify the individual’s name, address and either social security number or date of birth. Since so many companies omit social security numbers for privacy concerns, there may be a large group of people who will no longer have tax liens and civil judgements appearing on their credit reports. This should also help prevent future instances of information appearing on the wrong person’s credit report.

The purpose of credit reporting and monitoring

From applying for a cell phone account or utility to buying a car or home, our credit rating is used to determine where we stand on the scale of credit risk. With great credit, we present a low risk of not making our payments in full and on time. The volume of credit data and computer systems processing and sharing information open the door to error. If we do not check our credit scores frequently, someone else’s negative information could prevent you from being accepted for a mortgage loan or a new credit card. Imagine finding out your credit score was damaged by another person’s tax lien or the civil judgement entered against them.

How errors happen and how prevalent they may be

With tax liens alone, some estimates suggest that half of the tax lien information reported to the credit bureaus has ended up appearing on the wrong person’s credit report. When social security numbers are available to the individuals reporting tax liens, one missed number could cause the wrong person to receive a negative mark on their credit report.

Even if someone checks their credit frequently, or pays a few bucks every month for a credit monitoring service, the effort it can take to correct the mistake can be staggering.

How the new rules apply to tax liens and civil judgments

The rule change for reporting information to the credit bureaus about tax liens and civil judgements will require the verification of three pieces of vital information, the individual’s name, address, and either their social security number or date of birth.

By requiring three sets of identifying criteria be matched before receiving credit reporting data about tax liens and civil judgments, the likelihood of mismatches is significantly reduced.

The new rules take effect July 1. This article in USA Today has more information about the new rules and how they might apply to you.

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!

 

Tips on creating new rewards by playing the money saving game

Saving money is just as easy as spending money when you save a little at a time. Have you ever considered making a budget and thought you had more money to save until you realized that you spend more on gas, food and extras? Spending and saving money are simple habits that we develop. The same way we get in the habit of stopping for coffee on the way to work, we can just as easily get in the habit of making coffee at home and taking time to read the newspaper before leaving the house. There are many articles written on theories and plans for budgeting money. As you consider them, you may find something that speaks to you and makes sense. However, you decide to budget and save to get ahead, doing something is better than nothing and every big goal is reached by many small steps.

Budgets and discretionary spending money

Discretionary spending is supposed to be the use of money on little things we want here and there after our primary financial needs have been met. When you write out a monthly budget of your primary financial needs, do you include money to be stashed away for savings or a rainy-day fund? If not, you might think again about calling “extra” money “discretionary” when you have no savings.

How much do you need to save for unexpected and future expenses such as retirement? It all depends on what you really need to live. The people who maintain high standards of living in luxury will require significantly more money in savings and retirement, than do those who live conservatively. One budget does not fit everyone, but there are a few guidelines, including how much money you might consider spending on your housing, for example.

Tips on budgeting and creating saving habits

In the article, How to Budget Your Money With the 50/20/30 Guideline, there are tips and examples of budgets that consider your goals and help you get ahead.

Habits and reinforcers, are they key to many smart personal savings plans. Just as we form habits of getting our coffee from our own machine or at a coffee shop on the way to work, we can form habits of stashing money away instead of spending to get a reward. When we spend money buying things and consuming we trigger the reward center in our brain. What if instead of instant rewards, we look closer into the reward of instantly increasing our power to buy something in the future?

Spend money investing in yourself. We all get bored and may want a distraction from time to time. These are the moments when we spend money doing something to entertain ourselves or take our minds of other things. Instead of running out and spending money on something you don’t need, spend the same amount on yourself by putting that money into a savings account. The next time you want to spend some money and earn a reward, take a drive to the bank and deposit some more money to your savings account. Your teller receipt will keep showing your growing balance.

Reinforcing positive spending habits and being proud of yourself

Ask yourself, would you rather have that money building in your savings or the other thing or activity you would have spent the money on? Even if you only save money every other time you want to spend money, you may choose to save more often than you spend.

As you continue finding little ways to save more money here and there you can watch your savings continue increasing, and that gives you the same reward sensation as buying or consuming something you like. Just as you can plant a garden, watch it grow and enjoy its benefits, you may feel very protective and proud of that money you were able to save.

Next, ask yourself how you can find some more money in your budget to add to your savings. By spending a little time and energy you can negotiate reduced rates for your household and utility bills – there may be easily be $100 or more you can find to save by simply reducing your monthly bills. As you continue finding more ways to cut spending and increase savings, you are reinforcing good habits and giving yourself a greater reward.

Spending and saving money are habits and after a bankruptcy, you can create some fantastic new habits that can lead you directly to financial success!

About us: Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., works with clients to find out if they qualify for Chapter 7 or 13 bankruptcy, and their options and rights under the law. The firm will also advise and assist clients with questions and concerns about the collectors and their rights to pursue you.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. helps people get control of their finances and a fresh start at financial freedom. The firm’s website contains informative videos about financial issues as well as bankruptcy protection for families who want a fresh start.

Don’t forget to keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!