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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.

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.

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.

Why mortgage applications get rejected?

Why mortgage applications get rejected?

If you are looking to get approved for a mortgage, look for approval information instead of asking why mortgage applications get rejected. The stress and anxiety of cleaning up your credit score and having years of good income showing on your taxes are only two of many steps your mortgage lender may assign on your tasks to get approved for a mortgage. Remember that an experienced mortgage broker will have a good idea of your chances of approval based on your current financial situation and what your options may be. They know that when they do the hard pull on your credit score that you will be within a thirty-day window to shop your application to a few companies they work with and see who is interested in giving you a home loan on good terms.

It is important to listen to your mortgage broker’s advice, assuming you trust them, and not worry much about all what is there to read on the Internet. Remember that some articles are “click bait” and are intended to appeal to your emotions instead of logic.

But, because you may be curious why mortgage applications get rejected, here are some reasons listed in this short article summary of “5 Mortifying Reasons Mortgage Applications End Up in the ‘Reject’ Pile,” published on Realtor.com:

  1. You did not use your credit cards enough. Using your credit cards and paying them off regularly makes you a better credit risk and your credit card issuer will increase your available credit line, and that means, so long as you don’t max the card out and make minimum payments, rather by leaving a significant amount of available credit, your scores will continue rising.
  2. Your new credit card accounts are too new. When you open a new credit card account, such as a department store card, your credit score will take a short dip and then bounce back up and should be higher if you have more new credit available and not being used. Therefore, your mortgage broker will tell you to not get any new credit, buy anything big or take on any new loans when you are within months of submitting your mortgage application.
  3. Failure to pay certain medical bills. Talk to your mortgage broker about any outstanding medical debts that have not been paid. They might suggest you negotiate a small but reasonable payment plan with the hospital so that a positive report shows on your credit. Be cautious, however about making deals to compromise and wipe out the balance for a decreased settlement amount because that could have a negative credit impact.
  4. Too recent a job change. Length of employment is a reasonably acceptable factor that tends to indicate whether you will be a good credit risk. If you have lengthy employment, that is a positive factor and once you are at your new position for a while, your score will bounce back up. That said, if you know you are going to apply for a mortgage, hold off on the job change if possible.
  5. Lying on your mortgage application, aka mortgage fraud. Do not inflate your financial status on a mortgage application. There are multiple levels of financial professionals who comb through details of your application. On paper, you are being judged on your credibility and trustworthiness and any dishonesty on your mortgage application is like sending up a big red flag to the lenders to tell them to take a pass on you. You may be surprised that the income or credit score required to be approved may be more achievable than you realize. Once again, so you do not need to ask why your mortgage applications was rejected, consult with the best mortgage broker you can find and follow their instructions.

Joseph Wrobel and his associates and staff at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., want you to take control over your finances. You would be surprised how soon you may be able to qualify for a mortgage after financial problems including bankruptcy. Remember, what is important is not what you did before a bankruptcy, what matters is what you do every day afterwards. To learn more and to schedule a consultation, call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd., at (312) 781-0996 or Contact Us on ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Tips for self-employed taxpayers

Tips for self-employed taxpayers

Small business is the backbone of America many say. Whether you operate a small landscaping business or a professional services firm there are several common issues and concerns about accounting and taxes. Self employed individuals also have different options for investing for the future.

Every April self-employed taxpayers calculate income, expenses and deductions to keep as much of what they earned as they can. For people who follow the recommended quarterly estimated tax payment plan, the final tax preparation should be stress free because they paid into the system all year long and might get money back. For many other self-employed individuals, filing taxes every April means you have a large tax bill and owe thousands of dollars or more to the IRS.

While you can work with the IRS on payment plans and solutions to manage your IRS debt and payments, the experience of not having the money set aside to pay income tax may be something you want to prevent in the future.

Estimating, saving and paying income taxes

Based on your recent accounting and tax returns, you should be able to anticipate how much of your income needs to be sheltered and used to pay income taxes.

When you receive a paycheck and your taxes are withheld by your employer you do not really feel that money coming out of your check as you get used to the idea that the net amount is what you have left to spend. The challenge to self-employed business owners is to have the discipline to set estimate and set aside money to pay quarterly tax payments.

There are apps you can use to automatically set aside money for taxes. Your bank or credit union may also offer an income tax collection solution where a percentage or fixed amount of every deposit is automatically separated into another account the owner cannot access until it is time to use that money to pay taxes.

Saving self-employed income for the future

What are your options to save for retirement when you are self-employed, and nobody is offering you a 401(k) plan or pension? If you pay attention to advertisements in print and media, there are several advertisements for investing for the future when you are self-employed.

Consider a collection of information offered by CNN Money, the Ultimate guide to retirement for self employed individuals. Another key to saving for the future is budgeting to have money automatically withheld from your regular income that you don’t miss while that money works for you to either pay your taxes or invest in your future and retirement.

Chicago bankruptcy lawyer, Joseph Wrobel wants people to take control over their financial future. No matter what your financial past, you can always change direction and enjoy financial success. If getting rid of old debt that drags you down is making that much harder to get ahead and you need a fresh start call Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. to learn about your Chicago bankruptcy options by dialing (312) 781-0996 or Contact one of our locations through the website.

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

Good credit after bankruptcy

Good credit after bankruptcy

At the point you are in a bankruptcy it no longer matters what happens that led to filing Chapter 7 or 13. For purposes of good credit, what matters is what happens after the bankruptcy discharge. Many people are surprised in how quickly they can qualify for a student, car or home loan after bankruptcy. Starting with a secured credit card, people can rebuild their credit score, especially since they are no longer under the burden of debts they couldn’t pay.

Start with a secured credit card

People are shocked how easy it is to get a secured credit card. All you need to do is deposit the amount of your credit limit with the issuing bank or credit card company. Very simply, if you don’t pay your credit card bill, you forfeit the deposit. Since the bill is guaranteed, it makes sense to give people secured credit cards to fix their credit.

As you use the secured card like a regular credit card your balance and payments will be reported to the credit bureaus and your scores should rise with responsible use of the secured credit card. After a year or more of using the card, the deposit may be returned to you and the card converts to a traditional credit card.

After a few months of credit rebuilding with your secured credit card you may start seeing traditional credit offers in your mailbox and when you apply to one every three or four months or so you may be accepted more often than rejected for new credit opportunities.

Pay down your balance before the due date

Credit repair professionals helping consumers qualify for home loans after bankruptcy say to use no more than a modest amount of your total credit and pay your credit card bill every month before it is due. When paying your bill, they say your credit score can benefit from leaving a few dollars balance instead of paying the bill down to zero.

The idea in not using too much credit and paying it down every month is to ensure that at any given moment during the month the credit bureaus can take a snapshot of your credit usage. It is better not to max out your cards and at any given moment have plenty of money to spend and to pay the bill after you spend.

Good credit after bankruptcy
Helping people get out of debt with dignity and respect for over 40 years.

For more ideas, see Nerdwallet: How to Rebuilt Credit After Bankruptcy

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!

 

Should I buy or rent my home?

Should I buy or rent my home?

Whether you are a first-time home buyer or someone who has previously owned a home, there comes a time you might wonder if it is better to rent or buy your home. Interest rates are scheduled to rise this year and realtors suggest this is a good time to buy. What if you are not ready to buy and cannot decided if you should buy or rent?

If you are rebuilding your credit score and hear about increasing interest rates, consider that taking an extra year or more to increase your credit score and buying power should cause you to have a lower interest rate, compared to getting into a mortgage where your credit just barely qualified for the loan. More money down can also be a benefit worth waiting to buy and renting a little longer.

The cost of home ownership in the Chicago area

While you are building equity when you own a home, there are all kinds of extra costs and expenses that can outweigh building equity. For example, if you buy an older home you may be spending money on replacing the roof, furnace, water heater, or air conditioner. If you had been renting you would have simply made a call to your landlord for those repairs.

Taxes are also an expensive part of your monthly mortgage payment, when taxes and home insurance are included in your monthly payment. That said, you can also claim a tax deduction for property taxes paid up to the new $10,000 limit.

Alternative ways to invest for retirement

Say you can afford to buy a new home but not where you want to live. Have you considered keeping your rental home in Chicago and buying a new home in Will County to lease to a renter? A new home with few needed repairs can be an excellent investment, especially in the collar counties where there is new growth and anticipated increases in future property values.

By the time you are ready for retirement you may want to go live in that home in Will County or sell it and take your equity to wherever you plan to retire.

If you have questions about making the right financial moves, regardless of whether you have had or will ever a have a bankruptcy, a consumer finance attorney at Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. is happy to help steer you in the direction of financial success.

Should I buy or rent my home?
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!

Chicago Bankruptcy Podcast with Joseph Wrobel: January 2018

Chicago Bankruptcy Podcast with Joseph Wrobel: January 2018

Chicago bankruptcy and consumer credit attorney Joseph Wrobel answers real people’s questions about their financial situations and what options they might have to fix their financial problems.

Click/tap here to listen to the podcast

Sample questions answered in this 30-minute show:

  • Can I still file for bankruptcy after a foreclosure sale?
  • A wrong employer was listed on my Wage Garnishment Notice;
  • What other than my wages can be garnished?
  • Will filing for bankruptcy prevent my license from being suspended?
  • I am on social security disability; can creditors sue or garnish me?
  • Can I be sued if I can no longer afford my mortgage? Can I claim bankruptcy?
  • Are reaffirmations only used in bankruptcy? Can they be requested on new loans?
Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel, Chicago Bankruptcy Podcast, wage garnishment, bankruptcy, foreclosure sale, wage garnishment notice, can creditors sue, can no longer afford my mortgage, reaffirmations, Joseph Wrobel, Chicago Bankruptcy, Consumer Credit,
Bankruptcy Attorney Joseph Wrobel

Joseph Wrobel has been a practicing attorney since 1973 and has experience in a wide variety of law relating to legal matters for individuals and families. Wrobel helps clients get out of debt and get a fresh start. He is an active member in several bar associations and the Bankruptcy Panel of Pro Bono Program of the Chicago Volunteer Legal Services. After serving the U.S. Army Reserve 363rd Civil Affairs Unit, Wrobel earned a B.A. in Psychology from Northwestern University and in 1973, he earned a JD from DePaul University Law School.

About Joseph Wrobel, Ltd:

Keep up with us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Avvo, where you can read client and peer reviews!  Visit our Chicago Bankruptcy website online for more about the firm or call for more information at (312) 781-0996 or e-mail at JosephWrobel@ChicagoBankruptcy.com.

Joseph Wrobel Limited is a small law firm of attorneys and staff experienced in consumer bankruptcy. They are not a bankruptcy law factory and you will not get lost in their office. You will be treated as a human being with courtesy, dignity, and respect.  The mission of Joseph Wrobel Limited is to have you take control over your finances through the proper use of the bankruptcy laws.

Joseph Wrobel, Ltd. has offices located in the Chicago-Loop, Chicago-Rosemont, and in the suburbs of Burr Ridge, Deerfield, Gurnee, Naperville, Orland Park, Schaumburg, Skokie, St. Charles and Westchester. They can represent Illinois clients in Cook County, Will County, DuPage County, Kane County, LaSalle County, Kendall County and Lake County.

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!