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What to Do When Your Finances Have Been Hacked

What to Do When Your Finances Have Been Hacked

Getting that dreaded phone call that there has been suspicious activity on your bank account, or checking your finances online and noticing charges that weren’t yours is a terrible feeling. And while that pit in your stomach may linger for a while, grit your teeth and buckle down, because it’s time to fight the perpetrators and hopefully regain your losses. Here you’ll learn how the breach likely happened so you can protect yourself in the future, what steps you should take immediately after noticing the stolen funds or information, and security measures to take to prevent this from happening again. How it Happened Here are a few of the most common scams that aim to steal your credit card and personal information. If you recognize any of this activity in your life, it is likely that is the source of the breach. Restaurant scam: A thief gets hired as a waiter or waitress in order to skim credit cards on a small, personal skimmer when the card leaves the presence of its’ owner. The information is stored on this device and then used or sold on the black market. Gas station, ATM, or parking meter skimmer: During less-busy times of the day, thieves will place skimming devices over the card readers at gas pumps, ATMs, or parking meters. These usually work via Bluetooth to send the information to the perpetrator, who is set up nearby with a computer to receive all of the information. Infected websites: Hackers will install malware on low-security websites that will steal any information you enter there, so you can imagine that shopping sites are...
How to Navigate a Repossession on your Credit Report

How to Navigate a Repossession on your Credit Report

Life is unpredictable, and tough times seem to fall on everybody at one point or another. Whether you’re facing the loss of a job, the death of a family member, a car accident, medical issues, or any other life disruption, losing the ability to pay your bills can often add insult to injury during this time. Seeing your car get towed away may seem like rock bottom, but there are steps you can take to come back after a repossession and build your credit again. What is the credit impact of a repossession? Well, it’s likely that your lender has been trying to contact you for a while, to no avail. And the first lesson you must learn is that avoiding the problem is never the answer. When you first realize you can’t make a payment, call your lender first thing and see what they can do. But alas, life got in the way and here you are without a car. Your car is now going to be sold at an auction, but this doesn’t mean that you’re off the hook financially. It is likely to be sold for less than it’s worth, and if it is sold for less than you owe, you are still responsible for paying the difference. In the meantime, the repossession will be reported and added to your credit report, where it will remain for seven years. In addition to that ugly term hanging around, your credit score will also take a significant hit, anywhere from 60-240 points according to Bankrate.com. It depends on where your credit score was before the repossession. If you...
How to Write a Goodwill Letter to Repair Your Credit

How to Write a Goodwill Letter to Repair Your Credit

A goodwill letter is a letter that you send asking a credit reporting agency to remove an account of a late payment on your credit report. Credit reporting agencies are required to provide accurate reports, but they do not have to report everything. A goodwill letter asks the reporting agency to remove the damaging account from your report, not to change it or to be dishonest. In the letter, you should explain the reasons why you made the late payment, and the surrounding circumstances. Essentially, you’re appealing to the credit card company’s better nature–a strategy which can be surprisingly successful. If you’ve made some poor financial decisions that have caused a dip, whether large or small, in your credit score, all hope is not lost. One option available to you that can help you improve your score is to write a goodwill letter to your creditor. What is a Goodwill Letter? A goodwill letter is a letter to a creditor asking for empathy based on your situation. By taking responsibility for your mistake and ensuring a clean record going forward, you may ask a credit reporting agency to remove an account of a late payment on your credit report. It’s important to acknowledge that a goodwill letter asks the reporting agency to remove the damaging account from your report, not to change it or to be dishonest.Credit reporting agencies are required to provide accurate reports, but they do not have to report everything. It is at the discrepancy of the individual agency what they will report. When Should You Send A Goodwill Letter? People who’ve dealt with especially trying...
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