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Don’t Be Fooled

You can never be too careful when it comes to keeping your finances safe. Unfortunately there’s an ever growing number of scams and scammers who try to take unsuspecting victims’ money.

Here are a few of the latest scams to watch out for:

IRS Phone Scam. With tax day right around the corner, the IRS hires four collection agencies to help collect overdue taxes from consumers. The question is though – how do you know if you’re being contacted by a legitimate company or a scammer.

According to the IRS, you won’t be contacted by a collection agency unless the IRS has already tried to connect with you on multiple occasions. In addition, your taxes need to be several years old for a collection company to call. If you’re not sure what you owe or if you moved and possibly missed the IRS’s letters, authorized collection agencies will not:

  • Call to demand payment through a prepaid, gift card or wire transfer
  • Threaten to have you arrested
  • Ask for bank or credit card information over the phone

Collection agencies can, however, facilitate payment by check or online to the IRS. Never pay an individual or unfamiliar company.

Travel Turmoil

With good weather comes more travel, and unfortunately that means more people are vulnerable to vacation scams. If you’re staying in a hotel soon, beware the front desk scam. This occurs after you check in and move to your room. A few minutes later, you receive a call from (allegedly) the front desk asking you to repeat your credit card number as it was written down wrong upon check-in. In reality, the call comes from a fraudster who was hanging out near the front desk when you checked in. If the front desk needs additional information, they will ask you to return to the lobby. Never give out your credit card info over the phone if you can’t verify the identity of the person on the other end of the line.

Facebook ‘Farming’

At some point, you’ve probably seen a Facebook post about a kid with a rare disease or a sick animal. They’re accompanied by heart-wrenching photos that basically dare you not to react to or share the post.

The problem is, not only are these posts bogus, the people behind them monitor who reacts to them. Once you click “Like,” your profile is flagged as someone who might be an easy target for a scam and is farmed out to fraudsters. You may receive follow up messaging asking for additional personal information (perhaps in the guise of helping more vulnerable children).

Bottom line? Be careful about the content you interact with on social media. When in doubt, just keep scrolling.

Good Credit Is Essential

Four ways to boost your score

While there is no magic solution to raising your credit score overnight, if you have a low score due to lack of credit, there are things you can do to make it jump more quickly.

1. Fix errors on your credit reports:

According to the Federal Trade Commission, one in four credit reports contains small errors, which can affect your score. Errors might include false information attributed to you because of identity theft, just a simple mix up, accounts that don’t belong to you, and more. If the mistake negatively affected your score, you can expect it to improve approximately 60 days after the correction is reported.

2. Pay off credit cards every month:

If you pay off your debts, you’ll see your score go up. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should run out and buy things you don’t need. Instead, charge regular monthly expenses like bills and gas on your credit cards and then pay them off every month.

3. Stay away from your credit limits:

Paying down the debt will improve your creditworthiness and help your “credit utilization” – the amount of debt you have relative to your credit card limits. When you get closer to your limits, you reduce your available credit, which is bad for your score. So, bringing down your debt to an acceptable amount as defined by the credit bureaus should improve your score.

4. Set up automatic payments:

Your credit score takes a hit with every late payment because payment history comprises 35% of your score. If you struggle to remember when money is due, set up automatic payments with your credit cards. It’s an easy way to stay punctual and – barring other major marks against your credit – turn your score around in a relatively short amount of time.

We know not everyone has perfect credit. That’s why if you’re struggling to build or rebuild your credit, we want to help you on the journey. The first step is easy… just give us a call at 888-815-8827 for a free credit review!

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