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Jim’s Mortgage Corner | Real Estate

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SHOULD I CONSIDER CREDIT REPAIR?

I am often asked about credit repair agencies and if they provide a good service. I’m sure there may be someone out there that provides good credit “consulting” services, but I tend to see more damaged cause by credit repair agencies than good.

Most credit repair agencies are not in compliance with the Credit Repair Organizations Act since they are prohibited from charging or receiving any money or other valuable consideration for the performance of any service they have agreed to provide before the service is fully performed. However, most charge $200, $300 or even more before they will perform any service. How are they able to do this? The majority will claim it is a sign-up fee and does not relate to the services they have agreed to perform, which is a direct violation of the act. If a lender refers a client to a credit repair agency they are inadvertently supporting a company that is violating the Credit Repair Organizations Act.

When you sign up with a credit repair agency you are required to provide a copy of your credit report. Since credit repair agencies do not have permissible purpose with the repositories (Experian, Trans Union, Equifax) to access your credit, they will often ask you to provide them a copy of the credit report you received from the lender. If the lender provides you the credit report with knowledge you will share it with the credit repair agency, they are in direct violation of their permissible purpose for pulling a credit report in the first place.

The majority of credit repair agencies will submit a dispute to the bureaus for inaccurate information. The bureaus then have 30 days to investigate and respond to the dispute. A credit repair agency may submit multiple dispute requests to the bureaus with multiple letters disputing the validity of an account. Because they receive so many letters in such a short period of time they don’t always have the resources or time to reasonably investigate each request and after 30 days they may remove the disputed account as they have not been able to resolve it within the 30-day period.

I worked with a borrower a couple of years ago that disputed their bankruptcy. I asked them if the bankruptcy was accurate and they said yes, but the credit repair agency recommended to dispute it to increase their score. Sadly, it did not improve their score and it delayed the loan process since we had to remove all the disputes on information that was correct in the first place. Credit repair can do nothing to improve legitimately unfavorable credit information.

If you pay a monthly fee, they may continue to send letters to the bureaus month after month. If you cancel the contract, the letters stop and the majority of the information that was removed will come back. Collection accounts are the worst since the initial disputes could cause them to report again which will result in a more recent report date and lower your score even more!

If there are truly inaccuracies on your credit report, there is nothing a credit repair agency can do for you that you can’t do for yourself. You can do this without the cost of what a credit repair agency will charge you. First I recommend obtaining a free copy of your credit report from all three bureaus at www.annualcreditreport.com. You will have instant access to the reports from the bureaus and, if errors are found, you can dispute them online at no cost. They also provide a toll-free number where you can reach a live person who can answer questions and assist you with the process.

As I mentioned earlier, Federal law requires the dispute process be completed within 30 days however, it can be sooner than that. They also provide a fax number where you can send any supporting documentation regarding your dispute. If you advise them you have a mortgage pending they will often accelerate the dispute process.

If you have applied for a mortgage loan, most lenders provide rapid re-scoring services that will correct information on your credit report. This can include removing an inaccurate late payment, a paid medical collection or updating the balance on your credit card. And lenders cannot charge you for rapid re-score services.

When it comes to credit repair agencies, truly the answer may be to just say NO.

Jim Kaiser

Branch Manager, NMLS #1721861

Cherry Creek Mortgage Co., Inc. NMLS 3001

Jimkaisermortgages.com



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Imperium Group and WebMetrix Group On How Today’s Top 31 Entreprenuers and Investors Are Navigating the Post-COVID Times

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DALLAS, TEXAS, July 07, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Although the first wave of COVID-19 may be nearing its end, nothing has returned to normal – nor will it, for a long time. In times like these, entrepreneurs and business owners help each other. Today’s top 30 entrepreneurs and investors are doing the best they can to offer resources, share advice, and feature workable solutions to help one another and the nation. 

WebMetrix Group hosted an online forum for these entrepreneurs and investors to share their best advice to other business owners during this time. Here’s how they are navigating post-COVID times, advising others on how to, or lending a helping hand.

1. Immy Tariq, CEO of WebMetrix Group LLC. Immy Tariq is a digital marketing, SEO, and credibility expert, who has been helping his clients leverage credibility now more than ever. “Now is the time to double down on all markers of credibility and SEO to build trust with your target audience,” said Tariq. “As the economy slowly reopens, consumers only want to invest in people and companies that they trust.” 

2. Rudy Medina, founder of Del Mar Heritage. Medina is in the real estate industry, and foresees the following changes to people’s preferences for where they want to live following the lockdown provisions. These include Privacy, Additional outdoor or flex areas, Room for pets outside of the living area, proximity to entertainment and recreation, and a front yard to socialize with neighbors.

3. Salvatore Buscem, Managing Director at Dandrew Capital Partners. Buscem specializes in managing risk through his real estate investment portfolio, and advises other investors and entrepreneurs to invest in commercial real estate in areas with consistent ROI’s. “By researching an investment and going for commercial real estate, it’s a defensive play. Make decisions right now that have a verifiable ROI that extends far into the future.” 

4. Aimee Tariq CEO Of A Life With Health is a WSJ best selling author and health expert who has had many near death experiences in her decade-long battle with health. With the ever growing global focus on health and well-being, Tariq is helping more people to optimize their health through her new book on the oral microbiome (also known as the ‘second gut’ because of its importance), called Panic! Germs and the Inside of the American Mouth.

5. Matt Young, founder of Realply. As the founder of a LinkedIn direct messaging service, Young knows how effective cold direct message outreach is for sales. “With the emphasis on, ‘How can I help?’, automating direct messaging can spell the difference between life and death for businesses right now,” he said. “A steady stream of new leads can still be automated, which can be the strategy that keeps your business afloat.”

6. Jeremy Miner, founder of 7th Level HQ. An expert on neuro-linguistic programming for sales, Miner is helping salespeople learn sales techniques that assist prospective customers into persuading themselves why they need the product or service. Featuring his breakthrough research and years of testing, his course is a hopeful avenue for salespeople and entrepreneurs who want to help consumers but are potentially anxious about selling right now.

7. Stephane & Shalee Schaifaitel, Co-founders of Success Training Co. and Co-authors of the book, Master Your Mindpower: A User Manual For Your Mind & The Ultimate Guide To Mental Toughness. The Schaifaitels help executives and entrepreneurs resolve mental and emotional barriers through a series of impactful coaching sessions that will maximize your clarity, mental toughness and success. “The truth is, in a time of crisis, the people who have mental toughness and emotional resilience are more likely to succeed,” the Schafeitels emphasized. “We developed The BLAH Method to assist you to get through any ‘blah’ moment or crisis, large and small: 1) Breathe, 2) Look Up, 3) Access a State of Gratitude and 4) Handle it – go do what you need to do toward achieving your Big Effing Goals (BEGs).”

8. Haley Hoffman Smith, author of Her Big Idea and motivational speaker. As a motivational speaker and author, Hoffman Smith is encouraging more young people and female-identifying hopeful founders to consider entrepreneurship and go after their big dreams. Her fund, The Her Big Idea Fund, is in partnership with Brown’s Nelson Center for Entrepreneurship and supports two female-identifying hopeful founders with $500 grants and a year of mentorship. “It’s more important than ever to support the dreams and visions of all people, and let them know they aren’t alone in bringing it to life – there is support and there are people who believe in you and want to invest in you,” she commented.

9. Kimanzi Constable CEO Results Global Impact Consulting. Kimzani helps consultants book corporate gigs with large corporations – and stress that right now, large companies are heavily investing in trainers, coaches, and consultants. “Understand that companies are making strategic pivots right now, and they need the brightest minds to help them get there. Position yourself accordingly, so you can help these businesses thrive while you thrive, too,” they advised. 

10. Sloan Foster, founder of AutoThinkUSA. Foster, who is in the business of providing convenient accommodations for consumers, encourages entrepreneurs to think about how they can get involved and collaborate with essential businesses. “Create a new opportunity in alignment with COVID-19 standards,” she advised.

11. Christine Haas, founder of Haas Media. Haas assists founders and CEO’s in landing TV engagements. “Investing in TV PR is critical for both exposure and creating credibility in your field of expertise — especially now,” shared Haas. “It can seem ‘exclusive’ or only reserved for certain types of people, but now more than ever, people are home and looking to the TV to learn.” 

12. Kerri Kasem, Founder of Kasem Cares, radio and TV Show Host. Kasem is using her platform to emphasize mental health. “With so much going on in the world that was unforeseen, it’s only natural to experience symptoms akin to anxiety and depression. It’s important to check in with ourselves, or friends, and our family right now and see how we can help,” she encouraged.

13. David Schloss, author of The New MBA. Schloss’ new book helps hopeful entrepreneurs build a clear blueprint for their first businesses. In these uncertain times, he advises, “A market-to-message match is key before turning organic traffic into paid traffic.” He insists that a product and market fit is the foundation for successful businesses when investing in marketing post-COVID.

14. Allison Caddy, CEO & Founder of Active Alie. Caddy believes in finding opportunity in unlikely places.  “My best advice is to take advantage of the times, refinance as much as you can because interest rates are currently low, and buy up more real estate that provides positive cash flow and builds your equity,” she offered.

15. Lauren Tickner, founder of Impact School MBA. Tickner teaches students how to sell through permission-based relationship marketing, in which a product or service is offered conversationally — optimal for seeing who your business can help right now, without any additional pressure. “The emphasis in selling right now is on seeing if you can actually help your target audience, and through natural messaging conversations, time is saved for the founder and prospects are more likely to buy,” she said.

16. Jeremy Delk, founder of Delk Enterprises. “Recognize the changes that are afoot, and use this time to adapt quickly,” said Delk. “The new mindset will now be on-demand help from our smartphones and tele-health. How can you lean into these shifts and stay relevant?” 

17. Stephanie Burns, founder of Chic CEO. Burns has always encouraged making ‘unreasonable requests’ – in other words, asking people or businesses for something you need that may seem ‘out of bounds’ to even ask, because sometimes the answer is… yes. “I think there may be a tendency to hold back on what we ask from others right now, out of an abundance of caution and empathy,” said Burns. “But remember that unreasonable requests often lead to symbiotic relationships and benefits for both parties. Keep putting yourself out there.”

18. Rohan Seth, Founder of Lydian Accelerator. “I’ve learned that building multiple marketing channels is the best way to sustain and embolden businesses,” said Seth. “Explore different avenues to market through social media and ads, and pay close attention to which of those deliver the highest ROI. 

19. Bobby Dillard, co-founder of Cielo Property Group. Dillard noted that “trying times will always reveal weaknesses in your business that you didn’t know were there. It’s important to remain calm and do all you can to get your business in top shape so that you can take advantage of the opportunities that arise in these situations.” Specifically, he advises entrepreneurs to use this time for personal growth in those areas of weakness.

20. Maggie Berghoff, Founder and CEO of high performance health agency, Celproceo. Berghoff helps entrepreneurs and high achievers biohack and optimize their health for their best performance, and mental health and wellbeing is a critical part of this. “Hone in on decreasing your own stress and working on a positive mindset,” Berghoff encouraged. “It’s easy to get sucked into the fear, chaos, and negativity you may see around you, but your top power will be your ability to maintain resilience and strength during this time.”

21. Jose Artiumo, Founder of VIP Media Solutions. Artiumo always emphasizes the importance of gaining media attention, but specifically, sees this time as critical for refining your skill. “Sharpen your ax with your skills so you can retain the attention you get when you get back into the media,” said Artiumo. “Now is the ideal time to invest in yourself and make sure you’re the best at what you do.”

22. Jeff Sekinger, founder of 0percent.com. Sekinger recently launched a partnership program that allows his business’s consulting clients to start financial services businesses such as funding, credit repair and insurance at no cost and virtually no barriers to entry. Specifically, they help entrepreneurs get the lowest business financing possible, so they can leverage business debt — one of the greatest resources available during these uncertain times.

23. Mcdonald Worley CEO of Mcdonald Worley P.C. Worley shares that after serving 30,000 clients, he feels that the difference between a successful business and a hurting one right now comes down to making sure that your business can give the clients what they need and paying attention to the details. If you go beyond what you can handle as a team, in order to bring more clients into the fold then the work will suffer, which in turn will hurt your reputation and this will cost you way more business than anything else. 

24. Drew Evans, CEO of Caifu Property. To date, Evans has built his personal real estate portfolio to over $10 Million Dollars, and with his business partner, has helped his clients invest in over $1 Billion in property. “There are still many real estate opportunities to build positive cashflow property portfolios and instant equity,” said Evans. “Even if you have never explored real estate before, it continues to be a worthwhile investment for the long run, even in economic downturns in the short run.” 

25. Thomas Graham CEO of Crosswinds PR. “Working as a PR crisis firm, we’ve learned that the best way to navigate crises is to be empathetic and transparent,” said Graham. “As your business faces inevitable crises of differing sizes during this time, make sure you stay genuine and transparent with your audience or customers and always position yourself as someone who can – and who wants to – help.”

26. David Pascht, digital marketing expert. Pascht offered his best advice for running a team, which applies at any time, but is especially pertinent as teams continue to work remotely or shift in the wake of the pandemic. “Although your team is looking to you as the ‘leader,’ make sure to treat them as equals. Invite creative ideas and the open space and encouragement for innovative approaches to the problems your business will face through the turbulent times. These ideas can only come in if your team feels safe to be ‘wrong’ – this is how they will be truly creative.” 

27. Travis Killian, expert in Amazon e-commerce. Killian has created a $10 Million business by selling physical products on Amazon, and recommends that founders with physical products make sure that they’re on Amazon. “Many founders spend 80 percent of their efforts on platforms like Shopify, for only a fraction of the ROI. If you haven’t tried Amazon or doubled down on it, now is a great time to build a presence there,” he advised.

28. Greg Vogel, expert in company exits. There is opportunity in everything that is shifting, too – Vogel noted that “There is no bigger payday than this if you position yourself correctly. Many company exits are in the works, and there are opportunities to buy up companies now and have wildly successful exits later, when the market bounces back.” 

29. Moshe Reuven Sheradsky, WeDu. “Your marketing approach could use some emotional intelligence: work right now to understand your customers’ emotions (as much as they are changing), and work to meet the customer where they are emotionally.” 

30. Iman Shafei, Founder of Keystone Investors. “Many are interested in investment opportunities right now because of the fluctuating market, and I definitely encourage people to follow that interest, if it’s financially feasible at this time,” said Shafei. “Specifically, cryptocurrency may be an interesting investment because of the way the global economy is currently changing.”

31. Jeremy Axel, CEO of Fluent Conveyors. “The most important things during these times is to make sure you communicate very well to your team about the importance of execution. Make sure you hold everyone including yourself accountable for the jobs required that will have a quick impact to revenue and cash flow or if its a long term value add. In essence you need to remain intentional and thoughtful as a leader and make sure your team does the same.”

Shazir Mucklai

CEO

Imperium Group

shazir@imperium-pr.com

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St. Louis Consumer Fraud Task Force Warns Public about Stimulus Payment-Related Scams during COVID-1

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The St. Louis Consumer Fraud Task Force (CFTF) warns area consumers to be wary of scams related to stimulus payments during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The government’s issuance of stimulus packages during COVID-19 has opened the door to scammers who are trying to take advantage of unsuspecting people.

Scammers are attempting to get money and personal identifying information from consumers, using the stimulus packages and the pandemic as a hook.

Task Force members have received hundreds of consumer reports dealing with stimulus scams during the pandemic. A number of imposter scams have surfaced this year related to COVID-19. Many of the fraudsters use COVID-19 as part of their ruse.

A woman from the southwest Missouri town of Flemington reported to Better Business Bureau (BBB) ScamTracker last month that she was offered a “Corona Grant” through a text message. The text said the money didn’t have to be repaid as it was being given to the recipient by the government.

“They said they needed us to put in our full names and check with their database,” the woman said. “I gave my and my husband’s full names, and then they sent back via text a link for me to click on for me to get (the money). They were offering whatever money I needed in order to get the job done. I didn’t tell them how much I needed, but said I was interested in checking into this. I thought about it and realized that it wasn’t a real deal.”

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has received nearly 60,000 COVID-related scam reports with more than $70 million in losses this year. In addition, consumers have reported nearly 18,000 cases of identity theft nationwide in 2020.

Last month, the FTC filed suit in the Eastern District of Louisiana against a marketing firm which allegedly used deceptive advertising with COVID-19 stimulus messaging. The FTC says Traffic Jam Events, LLC, of Kenner, Louisiana, sent mailers labeled as “important COVID-19 stimulus documents” and directed recipients to a “relief headquarters” to “claim stimulus incentives.” The mailers included checks from a “Stimulus Relief Program” account. The “relief headquarters” wound up being a used car lot in Florida that was hosting a sale.

The Task Force says consumers should be aware of several things to protect themselves against stimulus package-related scams:

  • Keep track of your payment. Millions of Americans have received their Economic Impact Payments, which have been distributed by direct deposit, check and debit card. Any debit cards will be sent in an envelope with the words “Money Network Cardholder Services” on it. To check on the status of your stimulus payment, check the  IRS website. The IRS has produced a video to help consumers with questions about their Economic Impact Payment.
  • Ignore any contact attempts. No agency is going to text, email or ask you to click on a link to activate your stimulus card or to receive your money. Unless you initiate the call seeking help, no one will call you about your Economic Impact Payment. If someone texts, emails or calls you about your payment, don’t give them any personal or financial information.
  • Monitor your credit. The Fair Credit Reporting Act allows consumers a free copy of their credit report every 12 months. The three major credit reporting companies have agreed to offer free weekly reports through 2021. Reviewing credit reports can help consumers catch signs of identity theft.
  • Report the bad actors. You can report stimulus-related scams to BBB ScamTracker, the FTC, U.S. Postal Inspection Service and your state’s attorney general.

 

The Task Force, formed in October 2002, is a coalition of local, state and federal government agencies and nonprofit business and consumer groups in Missouri and Illinois that work together to protect consumer and donor rights and guard against fraud.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, the Task Force has met on a monthly basis to share information in an attempt to keep consumers safe.

The group has tackled predatory payday loan offers, tax scams, timeshare fraud, credit repair and foreclosure scams, bogus sweepstakes, internet sweetheart scams, phony grant scams, home remodeling, elder fraud, payment scams and a variety of other issues.

To obtain information, or to report a scam, contact members of the Task  Force:

  • Better Business Bureau Serving Eastern and Southwest Missouri and Southern Illinois – (888) 996-3887; BBB.org
  • Federal Trade Commission – (877) FTC-HELP (382-4357); ftc.gov
  • Federal Bureau of Investigations – (314) 589-2500
  • Illinois Attorney General – (800) 243-0618; illinoisattorneygeneral.gov
  • Illinois Secretary of State – Securities Department – 800-628-7937
  • Missouri Attorney General – (800) 392-8222; ago.mo.gov
  • St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department – (314) 231-1212; www.slmpd.org
  • U.S. Attorney, Eastern District of Missouri – (314) 539-2200; www.usdoj.gov/usao/moe
  • U.S. Postal Inspection Service – (877) 876-2455; postalinspectors.uspis.gov
  • U.S. Secret Service – (314) 539-2238; www.secretservice.gov

 

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SFTSM wins Willy Street Co-op grant | Community

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Shelter from the Storm Ministries (SFTSM) recently received a $1,180 grant from Willy Street Co-op to install a new Maya Angelou Healing Garden at its Sun Prairie shelter.

Shelter From the Storm Ministries has housed 94 individuals from homeless single mother families since their incorporation in 2017 and have a consistent wait list for services.

Residents receive education, job training, financial literacy, drivers licensing, credit repair, and food and vehicle support along with child play and adult talk therapy at no cost.

“The Maya Angelou Healing Garden will be designed by our residents with the help of the local Garden Club and Jung Garden Center and will utilize the free heirloom garden seeds provided by the Dane County Library system” as well as perennial plant cuttings from local gardeners, according to the grant application.

SFTSM is requesting discounted fruit trees and larger shrubs to plant in fall from local nurseries and plan to make plaques for the garden path with inspirational quotes from Maya Angelou.

“Many of our residents have grown up in urban areas and have never had the opportunity to plant and grow much,” the grant application reads.

Funds will support plantings, engraved garden markers, and gardening equipment and supplies.

For more information, log on to https://sftsm.org/ .

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