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Attorney General Ford Warns Nevadans About Deceiving Discount Insurance Plans, Credit Repair Scams

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June 16, 2021

Carson
City, NV
Today, Nevada Attorney General Aaron
D. Ford, in partnership with the Nevada Division of Insurance, encouraged
Nevadans to stay vigilant as scammers attempt to take advantage of struggling
individuals and businesses during the COVID-19 pandemic. Examples of the latest
pandemic scams include the deceptive discount insurance plans and credit repair
scams.

Deceptive
Discount Insurance Plans:

With the American Rescue Plan Act, Nevadans
have through August 15th, 2021 to enroll in or change their health
plans in the Health Insurance Marketplace known as Nevada Health Link, because
of the COVID-19 emergency. Nevadans shopping for a new plan should be aware
that deceptive telemarketers and websites have been advertising discount
medical and short-term plans falsely claiming that they are Affordable Care Act
(ACA) compliant. Entities are reaching out to consumers via robocalls,
telemarketing, or through misleading websites that appear legitimate and may
have similar names to legitimate insurance companies.

“When shopping for insurance, stick to the
Nevada Health Link website as your first stop,” said Attorney General Aaron D. Ford. “These fake websites are intentionally
confusing, leaving consumers who fall for them with unpaid medical bills.”

“Limited
health benefit plans serve a purpose but are not meant for long term use and have
gaps in coverage because they are not designed to be comprehensive health
insurance, whereas ACA compliant plans are,” explained Insurance
Commissioner Barbara Richardson
. “Be vigilant, understand the policy you
are buying, and reach out to the Division if you have questions.”

If you receive an unsolicited call from a
health insurance company, do not provide any personal information over the
phone. Consumers are encouraged to research the difference between limited benefit
plans, ACA compliant plans and other types of plans by visiting
http://insurance101.nv.gov/.
The website also lists all of the companies in Nevada that are licensed to sell
plans and tips on shopping for insurance.

To verify that an individual, agency, or
company is licensed with the Division of Insurance, visit the Division’s
website.
The State of Nevada Division of Insurance regulates Nevada’s insurance
industry.

Credit
Repair Companies

As Nevadans start to emerge after a difficult
year, many consumers may be looking for a fresh start on their credit. Credit
repair companies offer the chance to get your credit back on track, but Nevadans
should be aware that some of these companies may not be entirely legitimate.

“If you are unhappy with your credit, you can
take steps to repair it on your own,” said
Attorney General Aaron D. Ford
. “If you would prefer to pay someone to set
up a repayment plan for you, be on the lookout for misleading companies that may
be trying to get your personal information.”

If you want to hire a credit repair company,
the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection offers the following tips
for spotting a scam. Be alert if a company:

  • Asks
    you to pay all fees up front before it does any work on your behalf
    .
    Some companies may charge a one-time fee ranging from $15-$200 to set up the
    account. However, no credit repair organization may charge a consumer any money
    before the service is fully performed;

  • Instructs
    you to dispute information on your credit report that you know is accurate
    .
    With your legal consent, the company may challenge and clean up any inaccurate
    items with the three major credit bureaus or directly with the creditors. If a
    company tells you to say you have been the victim of identity theft when you
    have not, this is illegal;

  • Promises
    to remove all negative information from your credit report
    .
    Credit repair takes time and not every negative item can be removed; and

  • Doesn’t
    explain your legal rights when they tell you about their services
    .
    Legitimate credit repair companies should include a copy of the Consumer Credit
    File Rights. Additionally, you have the right to cancel any services without
    incurring any penalties within three business days.

Under the CARES Act, you can obtain an
extension and a forbearance on some types of loans for up to 180 days. These
protections are valid until June 30, 2021. Homeowners with federally backed
loans may be able to apply for mortgage forbearance. Federal student loans are
eligible for suspensions of payments and defaults, and interest rates are set
to zero, until September 30, 2021.

If you have been victimized by any crime
related to the COVID-19 pandemic, please file a
complaint about
your experience to the Attorney General’s Office and the National Center for
Disaster (NCDF) hotline at 1-866-720-5721 or by e-mailing the NCFD at 
diaster@leo.gov.

###

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Are Sallie Mae Student Loans Federal or Private?

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When you hear the name Sallie Mae, you probably think of student loans. There’s a good reason for that; Sallie Mae has a long history, during which time it has provided both federal and private student loans.

However, as of 2014, all of Sallie Mae’s student loans are private, and its federal loans have been sold to another servicer. Here’s what to know if you have a Sallie Mae loan or are considering taking one out.

What is Sallie Mae?

Sallie Mae is a company that currently offers private student loans. But it has taken a few forms over the years.

In 1972, Congress first created the Student Loan Marketing Association (SLMA) as a private, for-profit corporation. Congress gave SLMA, commonly called “Sallie Mae,” the status of a government-sponsored enterprise (GSE) to support the company in its mission to provide stability and liquidity to the student loan market as a warehouse for student loans.

However, in 2004, the structure and purpose of the company began to change. SLMA dissolved in late December of that year, and the SLM Corporation, or “Sallie Mae,” was formed in its place as a fully private-sector company without GSE status.

In 2014, the company underwent another big adjustment when Sallie Mae split to form Navient and Sallie Mae. Navient is a federal student loan servicer that manages existing student loan accounts. Meanwhile, Sallie Mae continues to offer private student loans and other financial products to consumers. If you took out a student loan with Sallie Mae prior to 2014, there’s a chance that it was a federal student loan under the now-defunct Federal Family Education Loan Program (FFELP).

At present, Sallie Mae owns 1.4 percent of student loans in the United States. In addition to private student loans, the bank also offers credit cards, personal loans and savings accounts to its customers, many of whom are college students.

What is the difference between private and federal student loans?

When you’re seeking financing to pay for college, you’ll have a big choice to make: federal versus private student loans. Both types of loans offer some benefits and drawbacks.

Federal student loans are educational loans that come from the U.S. government. Under the William D. Ford Federal Direct Loan Program, there are four types of federal student loans available to qualified borrowers.

With federal student loans, you typically do not need a co-signer or even a credit check. The loans also come with numerous benefits, such as the ability to adjust your repayment plan based on your income. You may also be able to pause payments with a forbearance or deferment and perhaps even qualify for some level of student loan forgiveness.

On the negative side, most federal student loans feature borrowing limits, so you might need to find supplemental funding or scholarships if your educational costs exceed federal loan maximums.

Private student loans are educational loans you can access from private lenders, such as banks, credit unions and online lenders. On the plus side, private student loans often feature higher loan amounts than you can access through federal funding. And if you or your co-signer has excellent credit, you may be able to secure a competitive interest rate as well.

As for drawbacks, private student loans don’t offer the valuable benefits that federal student borrowers can enjoy. You may also face higher interest rates or have a harder time qualifying for financing if you have bad credit.

Are Sallie Mae loans better than federal student loans?

In general, federal loans are the best first choice for student borrowers. Federal student loans offer numerous benefits that private loans do not. You’ll generally want to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) and review federal funding options before applying for any type of private student loan — Sallie Mae loans included.

However, private student loans, like those offered by Sallie Mae, do have their place. In some cases, federal student aid, grants, scholarships, work-study programs and savings might not be enough to cover educational expenses. In these situations, private student loans may provide you with another way to pay for college.

If you do need to take out private student loans, Sallie Mae is a lender worth considering. It offers loans for a variety of needs, including undergrad, MBA school, medical school, dental school and law school. Its loans also feature 100 percent coverage, so you can find funding for all of your certified school expenses.

With that said, it’s always best to compare a few lenders before committing. All lenders evaluate income and credit score differently, so it’s possible that another lender could give you lower interest rates or more favorable terms.

The bottom line

Sallie Mae may be a good choice if you’re in the market for private student loans and other financial products. Just be sure to do your research upfront, as you should before you take out any form of financing. Comparing multiple offers always gives you the best chance of saving money.

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Tips to do some fall cleaning on your finances

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Wealth manager, Harry Abrahamsen, has five simple ways to stay on top of the big financial picture.

PORTLAND, Maine — Keeping track of our financial stability is something we can all do, whether we have IRAs or 401ks or just a checking account. Harry J. Abrahamsen is the Founder of Abrahamsen Financial Group. He works with clients to create and grow their own wealth. Abrahamsen shares five financial tips, starting with knowing what you have. 

1. Analyze Your Finances Quarterly or Biannually

You want to make sure that your long-term strategy is congruent with your short-term strategy. If the short-term is not working out, you may need to adjust what you are doing to make sure your outcome produces the desired results you are looking to accomplish. It is just like setting sail on a voyage across the Atlantic Ocean. You know where you want to go and plot your course, but there are many factors that need to be considered to actually get you across and across safely. Your finances behave the exact same way. Check your current situation and make sure you are taking into consideration all of the various wealth-eroding factors that can take you completely off course.

With interest rates very low, now might be a good time to consider refinancing student loans or mortgages, or consolidating credit card debt. However, do so only if you need to or if you can create a positive cash flow. To ensure that you are saving the most by doing so, you must look at current payments, excluding taxes and insurance costs. This way you can do an apples-to-apples comparison.

The most important things to look for when reviewing your credit report is accuracy. Make sure the reporting agencies are reporting things actuary. If it doesn’t appear to be reporting correct and accurate information, you should consult with a reputable credit repair company to help you fix the incorrect information.

4. Savings and Retirement Accounts

The most important thing to consider when reviewing your savings and retirement accounts is to make sure the strategies match your short-term and long-term investment objectives. All too often people end up making decisions one at a time, at different times in their lives, with different people, under different circumstances. Having a sound strategy in place will allow you to view your finances with a macro-economic lens vs a micro-economic view. Stay the course and adjust accordingly from a risk and tax standpoint.

RELATED: Financial lessons learned through the pandemic

A great tip for lowering utility bills or car insurance premiums: Simply ask! There may be things you are not aware of that could save you hundreds of dollars every month. You just need to call all of the companies that you do business with to find out about cost-cutting strategies. 

RELATED: Overcome your fear of finances

To learn more about Abrahamsen Financial, click here

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How to Get a Loan Even with Bad Credit

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Sana pwedeng mabura ang bad credit history as quickly and easily as paying off your utility bills, ‘no? Unfortunately, it takes time. And bago mo pa maayos ang bad credit mo, more often than not, kailangan mo na namang mag-avail ng panibagong loan. 

Good thing you can still get a loan even with bad credit, kahit na medyo limited ang options. How do you get a loan if you have bad credit? Alamin sa short guide na ito. 

For more finance tips, visit Moneymax.

 

 

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