Week 12 Homework

This lesson is titled ‘Collection Practices and Credit Bureaus’. This is critical information on how to monitor and improve your financial health. It discusses the laws and practices around credit and collections, and how to safely and efficiently navigate a system that was set up in order to do nothing less than take your money.

The homework for this week is:

  1. Read Chapters 9 and 22 in Financial Peace Revisited.

Next week is graduation night, remember to sign up for the potluck. Congrats to everyone who has made it this far!

Also, this week we would like to check our progress as a group (again). Take a moment to look at the questions and send your answer either via email or in person at our next class.

Lastly, we have some additional reading on this subject, if you are interested.

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MasterCard Makes Identity Theft Easier!

I just saw a commercial that really struck a nerve. It is from MasterCard (I believe) and is touting the new proximity cards that don’t require a signature.

The ad is a story about a sick zookeeper who has his animals steal his card, then go to the store and get him chicken soup, a blanket, and other soothing things. Then the animals swipe the card and are able to buy the items without a signature or a second look from the merchant.

I thought this was an excellent commercial, at least from my point of view, as it showed how insecure these tools really are. It tells the world, any mammal can steal your identity!

Opting Out of Debt Marketing

Debt is the most heavily marketed product in the US today, to the detriment of American consumers. It is difficult to avoid the huge number of sales pitches that are seen and heard on TV, Radio, Internet, and through sponsorship of the arts and sporting events.

However, there are some things that you can do to keep these ‘offers’ away from you …

Opting Out

Opting out is like adding your name to the ‘do not call‘ list for telemarketing, except for credit card offers. It won’t stop everything coming your way, but it will slow the flood.

The Opt-Out Prescreen website will allow you to remove your name(s) from the lists provided by the major credit agencies. These lists are used mostly for direct marketing from credit cards and insurance companies and are the source of a lot of the dead trees that arrive in your mailbox.
There are a couple of things to know …

  1. When processing your request online, the opt-out is for 5 years.
  2. You can opt-out permanently through paper mail.
  3. You will need to provide your Social Security Number.

BTW, I heard about this through 50 Fun Facts About Credit Cards.

Stopping Direct Marketing

Also, you can remove your name from lists used by the Direct Marketing Association here. These lists are also used to generate offers as well, although they are used less for financial services.

A couple things to understand here …

  1. There is a $1 fee to use this service (online or through US Mail) which I don’t agree with.
  2. Irresponsible or unethical marketers simply won’t use this mail.

Let me know if there is anything to add ….