Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The High-Tech Methods Debt Collectors are using to Find you- and Your Money

Debt collectors are using some new high-tech tactics to collect and track down consumers. New software is allowing debt collectors to insert voicemails into phones by the thousands without a single ring, bypassing regulations that restrict how often they can call consumers.

Ringless Voicemails

Companies such as Stratics Networks maintain that because no phone calls are made, regulations prohibiting auto-dialed collection calls do not apply.  But consumer protection attorneys disagree, arguing that just because the phone does not ring, does not mean it’s not a call.  The Telephone Consumer Protection Act forbids debt collectors from harassing consumers.

Avatars

Animated cartoon characters show up in borrowers’ inboxes and smooth-talk borrowers into paying up. Collections managers design personalities of avatars, who speak multiple languages and weigh debtors’ credit scores when negotiating payment.

Speech Analytics

Advanced language-recognition programs not only track keywords during a conversation but identify the emotion of the borrower.  Cursing out a debt collector?  Prompts generated by CallMiner Inc. software help steer conversations back on track.

Supervisors using the speech-analytics company’s system see color-coded boxes on call-center computer monitors. Small green boxes represent routine conversations. During those calls, agents are reminded to recite mandatory “mini-Miranda” statements that inform consumers of their rights.  But a box turns red and expands when a call contains expletives or long silences.

Skip Tracing, Spoofing and Scrubbing

In a practice called skip tracing, collection agencies search databases to find borrowers who have skipped out on paying their debts.  Some collectors track debtors on Facebook and other social media sites. A Texas agency is linking Social Security numbers to social media accounts, raising privacy concerns. Another tactic known as spoofing, debt collectors insert local area codes in caller-ID displays, enticing the person being called to answer the phone. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is proposing to ban the practice.

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If you have any questions on this topic or are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Beware of a New Scam Involving Cash Advances

The Better Business Bureau (BBB) recently warned consumers to beware of a new debt collection con where scammers pose as debt collectors who claim to be collecting on cash advances.

Here is how the scam works:

You receive an automated call from a company claiming to be collecting a payment for a cash advance. Next, the recording will prompt you to stay on the line and speak with an agent.

If you stay on the line, the agent will request that you pay your debt immediately using a wire transfer or a prepaid debt card. If you refuse, the agent will use threats of arrest, lawsuits or garnished wages to intimidate you.

Keep in mind that the use of threats in debt collection is in violation of your rights as a consumer under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

If you receive one of these calls, the BBB suggests you do the following:

  • Just hang up. If you don’t have any outstanding loans, hang up.
  • Get an official notice. Ask the debt collector to provide an official “validation notice” of the debt. In the US and most of Canada, debt collectors are required by law to provide the information in writing. The notice must include the amount of the debt, the name of the creditor and a statement of your rights.
  • Confirm the agency is real. Ask the caller for his/her name, company, street address and telephone number.
  • Do not provide any information they do not have. Until you have verified the call, do not provide or confirm a bank account, credit card number or any other personal information.
  • Check your credit report. If you are unsure if you have outstanding debt, check your credit report with one of the three national credit reporting companies: Equifax, TransUnion or Experian.
  • Place a fraud alert on your credit report. If the scammer has personal information, alert the three credit reporting companies that you have been contacted.

 

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If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Woman Alleges SunTrust Bank Invaded Privacy with Collection Calls

Patricia Fonnegra, a Florida resident, filed a complaint on March 7th in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida against SunTrust Bank. Fonnegra stated in the complaint that the debt collector was in violation of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act with frequent calls. The TCPA was enacted to protect consumers from “robocalling” and regulate telephone practices.

Fonnegra claimed that she suffered damages in 2016 after receiving multiple collection calls from the defendant. In the complaint, the plaintiff holds SunTrust Bank responsible because the defendant allegedly invaded her privacy and harassed her with frequent calls.

Fonnegra requested a trial by jury and seeks statutory damages of $1,500, enjoin the defendant, all legal fees and any other relief as the court deems just.

If you are in financial crisis and considering filing for bankruptcy, contact an experienced Miami bankruptcy attorney who can advise you of all 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.

Related Resources:

http://flarecord.com/stories/511088056-woman-alleges-suntrust-bank-invaded-privacy-with-collection-calls

http://www.natlawreview.com/article/fcc-approves-new-tcpa-rules-telephone-consumer-protection-act

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief

How to Avoid the Pitfalls of Personal Bankruptcy

If you are facing financial trouble, it can feel like the end of the world. People do not realize that filing for bankruptcy is a viable solution to their problems, can alleviate the financial stress, put an end to collection calls and even raise your credit score.

Here are some tips to remember along the way:

Do not be afraid of filing bankruptcy.  Debt can be overwhelming and sometimes instead of facing it head-on, people bury their heads in the sand.  This is the worst thing you can possibly do.  This approach could result in you facing numerous lawsuits, automatic judgments against you even wage garnishment.  By filing for bankruptcy protection you are getting a second chance and taking control over your finances once and for all.

Avoid running up new debt prior to filing. Do not make the mistake of running up a lot of new debt before filing for bankruptcy.  The court will take all of your spending into account, including recent debts incurred, and the judge may not be willing to waive debts if it appears that you are trying to “game the system.” Make sure that your spending habits reflect a true desire to change.

Be aware of ALL of your options. For example, you may want to consider credit counseling. There are some reputable non-profit organizations that can help. With their assistance, you can reduce the payments you have to make and even get some of the interest removed from your debts.

Hire an experienced bankruptcy attorney. The laws surrounding personal bankruptcy are complex. If you feel unsure about the steps to take moving forward, consulting with an attorney may be your best option. Many offer FREE consultations. An attorney can be the guiding hand you need to make the process go as smooth as possible. When meeting with your bankruptcy attorney, make sure you have all of the necessary paperwork with you (i.e. – loan documents, credit card bills and any other relevant financial documents).

Create a post-bankruptcy budget. When you file bankruptcy, you want to avoid finding yourself in the same financial predicament that got you there.  Planning for and making a post-bankruptcy budget is a smart idea. When you can create such a budget and stick to it after bankruptcy, you are far less likely to find yourself in the same position in the future.

If you have any questions on this topic or 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.

Related Resources:

http://techfeatured.com/automotive/1198/how-to-avoid-the-pitfalls-of-personal-bankruptcy

 

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Woman Wins $83 Million in Lawsuit Against Debt Collector

A Kansas City woman won $83 million in a lawsuit she filed against a debt collector for illegal debt collection practices for a $1,000 credit card bill. The Missouri jury found the collection agency, Portfolio Recovery Associates LLC, guilty of “malicious prosecution.”

The agency reportedly violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, for which it will pay $250,000 in damages. Maria Guadalupe Mejia was also awarded $82,990,000 for malicious prosecution over a credit card debt that did not belong to her.

PRA Group Inc., which owns Portfolio Recovery Associates, sent a statement about the verdict to Credit.com. “This outlandish verdict defies all common sense. We hope and expect the judge will set aside this inappropriate award, and we plan to file motions to make that request formally in the near term. Any fair reading of the facts of this case makes plain that a verdict of this size is not justice by any means, and cannot stand,” spokesman Michael McKeon wrote.

In 2013 Portfolio Recovery sued Mejia over credit card debt that belonged to a man in Kansas City, Kansas, with a similar name. The agency, which is one of the nation’s largest debt buyers, attempted to collect on the debt for over a year after Mejia first received notice of the lawsuit.

Click here to read more on the 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.

Bankruptcy Law, Debt Relief, Foreclosures

Ditech Financial Fined $1.4 Million for Abusive Debt Collection Practices

Last week Ditech Financial was ordered to pay the state of Massachusetts $1.4 million to settle charges that the company engaged in “abusive debt collection practices.” The company was allegedly using tactics such as excessive calling and failing to properly notify borrowers of their mortgage information, according to the state’s attorney general.

Ditech Financial, formerly known as Green Tree Servicing, agreed to an “assurance of discontinuance.” This means the debt collection agency will stop making excessive debt collection calls, according to Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey.

The order also requires Ditech to provide written notice to borrowers, regarding their right to receive detailed information about any debts the agency sought to collect. According to Healey’s office, Ditech has “routinely violated” state laws since 2012.

Ditech has agreed to change its procedures to prohibit calling borrowers in excess of the number permitted by the debt collection regulations and will implement technological controls to restrict outgoing collection calls when the limit is reached. The payout will be used to address the negative effects of foreclosure, debt collection and other consumer’s protection issues, according to the attorney generals’ office.

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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The IRS Selects Private Debt Collection Contractors

The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has chosen four private debt collection agencies to help them collect unpaid tax debts. The IRS is required to do so as a result of a provision in a highway funding bill that Congress passed last year. The controversial program is expected to start up next spring.

The four agencies chosen by the IRS to assist in collecting the debts include: CBE Group of Cedar Falls, Iowa, Conserve of Fairport, New York, Performant of Livermore, California and Pioneer of Horseheads, New York.

This will be the third time this program has been enacted. The first two times it was discontinued due to complaints of harassment from taxpayers and low success rates of collecting on debts. A recent increase in scammers posing as IRS employees has also raised some concern in bringing the program back.

In an attempt to cut down on scamming, the IRS said it will first issue a written notice that the unpaid debts are being turned over to a debt collector and then a second letter to confirm the transfer.

The debt collectors will be able to identify as contractors of the IRS and will be expected to follow the provisions of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

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

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Student Loans, Timothy Kingcade Posts

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Handled One Million Complaints in Five Years

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently published the September 2016 Monthly Complaint report. The report revealed that more than five years after opening its doors, the CFPB has handled more than one million complaints.

“Since opening our doors in 2011, we have handled over one million complaints from consumers about their problems with financial products and services. Not only have we achieved substantial relief for consumers, but hearing directly from consumers is fundamental to our mission. We can better protect all consumers because of what we learn from those who have submitted complaints and shared their experiences with us,” said CFPB Director Richard Cordray.

The CFPB was initially handling complaints regarding credit cards, upon opening its doors in July 2011. However, it later expanded to handle complaints in several other areas of finance, such as: mortgages, bank accounts and services, private student loans, vehicle and other consumers loans, credit reporting, money transfers, debt collection and payday loans.

Debt collection recently surpassed mortgages to become the top complaint the CFPB receives. Out of the one million complaints, the CFPB has received 244,008 mortgage complaints and 264,123 complaints regarding debt collection.

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

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Timothy Kingcade Posts

Florida Email Scam Tricks Consumers Using Their Social Security Numbers

A company operating under names such as ACS Debt Collection USA, Cash NET USA and other variations has been using an email scheme to trick consumers into believing they owe a debt for a payday loan. The fictitious collection agency has been contacting consumers in the Central Florida area using their social security numbers and driver’s license numbers to convince them the debts are real.

Although the company is using a Clearwater address, the Better Business Bureau (BBB) has been unsuccessful in locating the company or the money. The BBB also issued the company an “F-Rating” after receiving nearly 1,600 consumer complaints. The BBB went on to say that when consumers reached out to the company, they were subjected to “abusive language and intimidation tactics,” which are violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act.

In the scam emails, the company lists the social security numbers, driver’s license numbers and threatens legal action due to past due “payday loans.” The emails state the “borrower” will face three counts of criminal allegations including:

  1. Violation of federal banking regulation
  2. Collateral check fraud
  3. Theft by deception

 

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.

Bankruptcy Law, Credit, Debt Relief, Florida Bar, Timothy Kingcade Posts

8 Things Debt Collectors Won’t Tell You

Debt collectors often use extreme and dishonest measures to try to collect on debts. However, there are a number of things that they are not likely to tell you, and knowing these things can make all the difference in resolving your debts.

Below are eight things debt collectors are not telling you:

  1. Some of their threats carry no weight. Oftentimes, debt collectors use empty threats such as, “We are going to inform your creditor that you are refusing to pay this bill.” However, your creditor already knows you are not paying the bill, which is why the bill was sent to a collection agency.
  2. If you tell them not to call during work hours, they must comply. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors cannot continue to call you while you are at work, if you tell them not to. However, the 2011 Annual Report to Congress about the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act complaints proved that 17,008 complaints were filed in 2010 related to debt collection calls to consumers at work. This number is up from 11,991 complaints the previous year.
  3. They cannot talk about your debts to others. Debt collectors are only allowed to discuss your debt with you, a co-signer, your spouse or your attorney. According to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, debt collectors can only contact “third parties” to locate you.
  4. Your debt may be stale. Each state has its own statute of limitations that makes debt of certain ages not collectible. However, some debt collectors continue to target borrowers to collect on old debts.
  5. Debt collectors are under pressure to collect, just like you are to pay. Most collectors work on sliding scale commissions. This means that the quicker they collect money from debtors, the higher their commission.
  6. They cannot go after your possessions unless they sue you. Debt collectors must sue you before they can go after your property, including money in your bank account. Even threatening to sue you to collect a debt may be illegal if the collector has no intention of doing so.
  7. Paying off this debt will not boost your credit ratings. When a debt is sent to collections, it will remain on your credit report for seven and a half years from the date you fell behind with the original creditor. Collectors will often tell you they will “update your credit report to paid in full status.” However, the change will not likely affect your credit report.
  8. You probably do not have to pay your deceased relative’s debt. You are generally not responsible for the debts of relatives who have died unless you were a co-signer of the debt or the debt belonged to your spouse who died.

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.