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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 
[email protected].

###

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How Does a Secured Credit Card Work? | Credit Card News & Advice

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Building credit from scratch is often referred to as a chicken-or-the-egg problem. If you don’t have a credit history, it can be challenging to get approved for a credit card. But if you don’t have a credit card, it’s hard to build a credit history.

Here’s where secured credit cards can save the day. It’s possible to be turned down for a secured credit card, but if you’re approved for one, it’s a good way to get started on your journey to great credit.

We’ll start with the basics and work our way up to the advantages – and disadvantages – of secured credit cards.

There are both unsecured and secured credit cards. An unsecured credit card doesn’t require a deposit to get approved for the card. The top unsecured credit cards from major issuers are typically used by those who have at least fair credit. There are some unsecured credit cards available for those with zero or bad credit, but they tend to have high interest rates and fees.

Due to the cost of unsecured cards that target those with little or bad credit, many turn to secured credit cards. Secured credit cards do require a deposit, usually ranging from $200 to several thousand dollars, depending on the deposit requirements of the issuer.

The deposit stays in an account, and the purpose of the deposit is to decrease the risk for the lender. If you don’t pay for the purchases you made with your secured credit card, the financial institution will use your deposit to pay it off.

When you get approved for a secured credit card, you’ll receive a credit card that looks just like an unsecured credit card. There’s no visible clue that the card is secured.

The amount of your security deposit is usually equal to the credit limit for your new secured card. You’ll use your secured credit card just like you would an unsecured card. You can use it for purchases everywhere that accepts your secured credit card.

Just to be clear, your security deposit stays in an account with the issuer. You’ll make payments on your balance from one of your own bank accounts. So, you’re actually buying things on credit.

Most secured credit card issuers report your payment history to the three major credit bureaus: Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. If you can’t find confirmation on the card’s home page that payment history is reported, call the issuer to make sure it’s the policy.

When your secured card’s bill comes, you must pay the bill by the due date. If you pay your balance in full, you’ll avoid paying compound interest. If you consistently make on-time payments and keep low balances on your card during the month, your credit score will begin to increase.

Secured credit cards have many advantages, but there are also downsides to this type of credit card.

  • Secured credit cards help you build credit and develop a good credit score.
  • Secured cards help you learn how credit works. And since the credit limits are on the low side, it helps to minimize your risk of getting into debt.
  • Some credit card issuers will promote you to an unsecured credit card. Not all secured card issuers have unsecured versions, but many of them do.
  • When you’ve built a good credit history and you’re ready to upgrade to an unsecured card, you can get a refund of your deposit.
  • Many secured credit cards offer rewards and benefits.

  • You have to make a security deposit, and this ties up your money for the life of the secured card.
  • Some secured cards have many fees, so you have to read the fine print carefully.
  • You’ll probably have a low credit limit, but this is often a good thing while you’re getting comfortable using credit.
  • Some secured credit card issuers don’t offer unsecured versions, which means you have to apply for an unsecured card from another issuer.

I know it’s difficult to build credit or to come back from a poor credit score. A secured credit card can be a great option, but be sure you read all the disclosure statements and understand if there are fees involved. After about a year of responsible use, you’ll probably have at least a fair FICO score (580-669), which is good enough to make the leap to an unsecured credit card.

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Review: Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students

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Now that most students are starting to return to in-person school, many young adults and their parents are once again looking for the right credit card. Having a credit card offers students a secure and convenient method of payment. It also helps students build credit and even earn some rewards. The Bank of America® Customized Cash Rewards Credit Card for Students excels at all of these tasks.

Key Terms

  • Welcome Bonus: Earn $200 cash rewards after spending $1,000 within 90 days of account opening.
  • Rewards: Earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Receive 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.
  • Annual Fee: None
  • APR: 13.99% to 23.99%
  • Promotional Financing Offer: 15 months of 0% APR on both new purchases and balance transfers.

How This Card Works

This card is a very competitive rewards card, especially for a student card. New applicants earn $200 in cash back after making $1,000 worth of new purchases within 90 days of account opening. You also earn 3% cash back in the category of your choice including gas, online shopping, dining, travel, drug stores, or home improvement/furnishings. Additionally, you earn 2% cash back at grocery stores and wholesale clubs and 1% cash back on all other purchases.

But rewards shouldn’t be the most important thing to students. Instead, consider this card because it’s very easy for Bank of America customers to manage, along with their checking and savings accounts. It also helps students to build their credit by offering them a free FICO score each month. It’s compatible with digital wallet technology and can be managed by a full featured mobile app.

New accounts also receive 15 months of 0% APR financing on both new purchases and balance transfers, and there’s no annual fee for this card.

Advantages

While most student credit cards are very basic, this one comes with generous rewards, including a new account bonus. Other advantages are its promotional financing offer and free monthly FICO score. There’s no annual fee for this card, but that’s expected with a product designed for students.