Archive for: ‘February 2015’

Protecting Military Service Members from Predatory Loans Issue of National Security

February 20, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Laws such as the Military Lending Act are intended to reduce service members’ likelihood of ending up in debt to predatory creditors by capping interest rates on loans at 36%; prohibiting “roll over” loans where the borrower pays off an existing debt with another loan (usually with less favorable terms); eliminating forced arbitration with creditors; banning creditors from requiring that they carve out an automatic amount of money from their paycheck to pay back your loan; and forbidding prepayment penalties for borrowers who pay back some or all of the loan early.

These rules, which protect our military are not just about doing something nice for our soldiers, it is an issue of national security. While it is unfortunate for any consumer to end up with revolving debt, there are particular concerns when the borrower is a service member.  Someone looking for unauthorized access to military information or assets may be able to leverage that debt in their favor. This is why service members with significant debt on their credit reports may end up having their security clearance lowered or taken away. Some debt collectors are using this as leverage when trying to get service members to pay up, threatening to reveal their financial situation in a way that will negatively impact their position in the military.

According to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, some debt collectors have even threatened to tell the soldier’s superiors about the debt and when their status comes up for review. Such contact is illegal as outlined in the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.  Even if a soldier’s security clearance is damaged by debt, they can appeal their case to an Administrative Judge of the Defense Office of Hearings and Appeals, where they will be given a chance to explain how they ended up in debt and what they are doing to address the problem. This can include the soldier showing that they are currently living within their means; that they are making a good faith effort to resolve the unpaid debts; disputing debts that are not theirs, etc.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://consumerist.com/2015/01/09/protecting-military-servicemembers-from-predatory-loans-is-a-national-security-issue/

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Many States have cracked down on Predatory Payday Loans- But how are Lenders Still Evading the Law?

February 19, 2015 Posted by kingcade

Several states have passed legislation, which regulate or completely outlaw payday loans. These types of predatory loans often charge triple-digit interest rates and tend to be a last resort for the poor and extremely desperate consumer.  The business of lending to the low-income is a lucrative one and lenders continue to find loopholes.

Below are just five ways lenders have dodged current legislation:

1.) Disguising themselves as “other kinds” of lenders. Many payday lenders have become licensed as mortgage lenders, which operate under different rules and allow them to continue what they are doing.

2.) Altering the definition of “payday lending.” In 2006, Congress passed the Military Lending Act, which in part forbids lenders from charging active military households more than 36 percent interest on short-term loans. That provision has been something of a failure, according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The problem lies in the definition of a short-term loan. For example, the law regulates payday loans of 91 days or shorter; to evade this law, many lenders are offering loans just slightly longer than 91 days.

3.) Issuing simultaneous loans. Payday lenders are splitting up big loans into small, concurrent loan. For example, in Mississippi, two-week loans cannot exceed $250. Instead, lenders are giving four $100 loans at the same time. Whereas it is illegal to make a $400 loan due in only two weeks, the four $100 loans is perfectly legal.

4.) Referring to themselves as loan middlemen. Many payday lenders have registered themselves as “credit repair organizations.” These groups operate as middlemen, connecting customers to law-abiding loans from third-party lenders. So how do they make their money? By tacking their own fees on top of each transaction.

5.) Using Indian tribes to evade the law. Some payday lenders are partnering with Indian tribes to exempt themselves from local lending laws. These lenders tend to operate online, which allow them to offer their services nationwide- including states where payday lending has been banned.

Click here to read more on this story.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

Consumers Still Struggling with Medical Debt

February 18, 2015 Posted by kingcade

The Federal Health Care Law was intended to keep an unexpected illness or injury from bankrupting Americans. When calling for the law’s passage, President Obama proudly declared, “people shouldn’t go broke because they get sick.” Even though the Affordable Health Care Act has authorized states to expand eligibility for Medicaid and created online insurance markets for those without employer coverage to qualify for federal subsidies- it hasn’t solved the problem.

In 2013, medical debt was the largest cause of personal bankruptcy — 1.7 million people lived in households experiencing bankruptcy because of health costs. The health care law brought regulations that limited for the first time the cost-sharing in plans. For example, an individual plan sold on an exchange cannot include out-of-pocket costs greater than $6,600. In practice, the average deductible (which must be paid before insurance kicks in), varies based on how expensive a plan is. This regulation still only applies to “in-network” doctors and specialists, which can be a short list. Many vulnerable consumers are incurring medical debt by visiting unapproved doctors or hospitals.

Deductibles keep growing. Last year, work-sponsored insurance plans had an average deductible of about $1,200. In 2009, the average deductible was $826. And this year, the silver plans sold through the federal marketplace require people to pay on average more than $2,500 or approximately $3,500 before their insurance benefits kick in. Bronze plans, known for having cheaper monthly premiums have average deductibles of about $5,300.

Even with the Affordable Health Care Plan in place, efforts to regulate how providers can collect on patient debt remain limited. For instance, hospitals and doctors can still obtain judgments, garnish paychecks and go after people’s assets, including their homes.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2015/02/01/consumers-still-struggling-with-medical-debt/22587749/

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

BBB’s Top 10 Scams of 2014

February 17, 2015 Posted by kingcade

The Better Business Bureau hears from thousands of consumers and business owners each year, reporting a variety of scams and frauds. Below are the Top 10 scams they consider to be most ‘pervasive’ last year:

10. Sweepstakes Scam: The scammers alert you that you have won a contest, a prize or the Publishers Clearing House Sweepstakes! All you have to do is pay some taxes and fees before you collect. This is not a new scam, but continues to be a common one.
9. Click Bait Scam: This scam can take many forms, but the most notorious one this year was when Malaysian Airline Flight 370 went missing, prompting online users to “click here for video.” Enticing stories like this, celebrity images and other fake news can get you to unintentionally download malware.
8. Robocall Scam: “Rachel from Cardholder Services” claims to be able to lower your credit card interest rates, taking personal information (i.e. – your card number) and charging fees to your card.
7. Government Grant Scam: You get a call saying you have been awarded a government grant for thousands of dollars. All you have to do is pay a couple hundred dollars in fees by wire transfer or a prepaid debit card.
6. Emergency Scam: Often referred to as the “grandparent scam,” because it preys on the elderly, the victim receives a call or email claiming to be a grandchild who has been severely injured, robbed or stabbed while overseas and they need money immediately via wire transfer.
5. Medical Alert Scam: This scam also preys on the elderly. The victim receives a call or visit from a company claiming a concerned family member ordered you a medical device in case of emergency. They take down the victim’s credit card or banking account information, but they receive nothing in the mail.
4. Copycat Website Scam: You receive an email, text message or social media post for an excellent deal on a popular product. You click through to what appears to be a popular retailer’s website, but when you order the product, nothing arrives. Now the company has your payment information and personal information.
3. “Are you calling yourself” Scam: The latest phone scam trick puts your phone number in the caller ID, getting you to pick up the phone out of curiosity or return the call.
2. Tech Support Scam: You receive a call or pop-up on your computer screen claiming to be a Microsoft representative from Norton or Apply, regarding a problem on your computer. The scammer says if you give them access to your hard drive, they can fix the problem. Instead, they install malware and have full access to your computer allowing them to steal your personal information.
1. Arrest Scam: You receive a phone call from someone claiming to be a police officer or government official, who says they are coming to arrest you for unpaid taxes or missing out on jury duty. The victim can avoid this by sending money via a prepaid debit card or wire transfer. Being threatened with arrest is scary and most people ultimately pay out of fear.

The Better Business Bureau has identified ways consumers can avoid becoming victims to these scams:
• Do not let anyone pressure you into making fast decisions.
• Research the organization. A quick Google search or visiting www.bbb.org, will bring up any complaints made against the company.
• Never provide your personal information (i.e. – address, date-of-birth, social security number, banking information, ID etc.) to people you do not know.
• Never click on links from unsolicited emails or text messages.
• If you are unsure about a call or email that claims to be from your bank, utility company, etc., call the number on your bill or the back of your credit card to verify.
• Never send money by wire transfer or prepaid debit card to someone you do not know or have never met in person.
• Never send money for an emergency situation unless you have been able to verify the emergency.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://www.bbb.org/council/news-events/news-releases/2015/01/bbb-top-ten-scams-of-2014/

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.

‘70s Pop Icon, David Cassidy Files for Personal Bankruptcy in South Florida

February 16, 2015 Posted by kingcade

David Cassidy filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last week in Fort Lauderdale, where he owns a waterfront home. The 64-year-old former teen idol with hits like “I Think I Love You” and “I Woke up in Love This Morning,” reported debts including a $292,598 mortgage, $39,102 on credit cards and considerable attorney and accountant fees. Cassidy listed assets and debts in the estimated range of $1 million to $10 million.

The clerk’s office concluded that Cassidy’s petition was incomplete for missing 16 documents, including forms listing real property, creditors holding secured claims, executory contracts, unexpired leases and current income. All are due by February 25th.

The filing said Cassidy owes money to more than 10 lawyers and accountants in South Florida. Hallandale Beach attorney, Brian Rodier who represented Cassidy from 2006 to 2011 claims Cassidy racked up $134,221 in legal bills, which he never paid. According to the bankruptcy filing Cassidy owes American Express $21,952 and the Villas at Polo Towers in Las Vegas $1,420 in maintenance fees, where he frequently performs.

The former star and teen heartthrob of the 1970s TV show, “The Partridge Family,” has struggled the past several years. He faced four drunken-driving charges, court-ordered rehabilitation and his wife, Sue Shifrin, filed for divorce last year. Cassidy has been a defendant in 12 civil cases in Broward Circuit Court, with several still pending. One of them involved a foreclosure on a Fort Lauderdale penthouse.

Click here to read more on this story.
http://www.dailybusinessreview.com/id=1202717845853/70s-Pop-Star-David-Cassidy-Isnt-Singing-I-Think-I-Love-You-Now-Files-Personal-Bankruptcy?mcode=1202615581416&slreturn=20150115134105

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all of your options. As an experienced CPA as well as a proven bankruptcy lawyer, Timothy Kingcade knows how to help clients take full advantage of the bankruptcy laws to protect their assets and get successful results. Since 1996 Kingcade & Garcia, P.A. has been helping people from all walks of life build a better tomorrow. Our attorneys’ help thousands of people every year take advantage of their rights under bankruptcy protection to restart, rebuild and recover. The day you hire our firm, we will contact your creditors to stop the harassment. You can also find useful consumer information on the Kingcade & Garcia website at www.miamibankruptcy.com.