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Fair Debt Collection Help Articles – The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg

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06 Aug

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How To Dispute Errors On Your Credit Report

August 6, 2013 | By | No Comments

Credit Caution Road Sign

photo by: 401(K) 2013


Whether you realize it or not, your credit report is very important. Anytime you want to get a new credit card, apply for a loan for a home or for education or purchase a car, your credit report is reviewed to determine if you’re a good candidate. Your credit report is also used to determine your credit limit and interest rate, whether you can rent an apartment and in some cases, it can even affect whether or not you are hired for a job. Disputing errors on your report is vital. Here is how to dispute any errors:

The Federal Trade Commission offers helpful advice on how to deal with errors on your credit report.

  • First, send a written letter to the three credit reporting companies including TransUnion, Experian and Equifax. It is important you send this dispute as soon as you realize there are errors.
  • Include your basic information including your full name, social security number, address and phone number.
  • Include the name of the creditor or information provider, account number associated with the incorrect debt, a copy of the pages from the report with highlights on the inaccurate information, a specific statement of what is inaccurate and how it should be corrected and a request that the items be corrected or deleted from your report.
  • Also include copies of any documents that support your position. Do not send originals.
  • Make copies of your letter for your record.
  • Be sure to send your letter by certified mail so you can know that the company received it.
  • Your dispute to the credit reporting agencies triggers a duty on their part to notify the creditor of your dispute and to provide the creditor with all relevant information regarding your dispute. Both companies must then complete the entire investigation within 30 days of the date your dispute is received by the credit reporting agencies. When the investigation is completed, the agencies will send you their investigation results along with an updated copy of your credit report including any revisions they may have made.

If a debt collector has been contacting you because of false debt and errors on your credit report, has violated your request that they cease contacting you or is otherwise violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review.

30 Jul

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The Emotional Effects of Debt

July 30, 2013 | By | No Comments

Besides causing negative effects on our credit and financial situation, debt can also have a strong emotional effect on us as well. Here’s how:

Pain, Anxiety, Depression, Stress ripped from newspaper articles

photo by: marsmet481

  • Denial
    Often with overwhelming debt, people choose not to even deal with it. They let bills pile up and may not realize how much they owe while trying to ignore it. But denial is only going to make things worse with late and delinquent payments resulting in bad credit ratings, higher interest rates and late fees which lead to even more debt.

    How to deal:Instead of hiding from it, deal with it head on. As difficult as it may be, the sooner you face the debt, the sooner you’ll be able to take steps to get rid of it. Write down every bill you have and the interest rate to make a plan on how you will start working towards getting out of debt.

  • Stress
    Watching bills pile up and dealing with debt collectors can easily lead to stress. Wondering how you’ll get out of debt and not seeing a clear solution is a stressful situation as well. It can be especially scary when debt collectors are threatening you or harassing you in other ways. Often people in debt will stress about mistakes in the past and stress about what the future brings instead of concentrating on what they can be doing this moment.

    How to deal: Make a plan to cut spending to put more money towards debt and to make extra income. Having a plan will reduce the stress. Also, don’t let the debt consume you. Take time for free or cheap stress reducing activities like exercising, getting together with family and friends and reading and writing.

  • Embarrassed
    It’s not a surprise if you’re embarrassed by the debt you have. You may feel ashamed and regretful of the mistakes you might have made or feel that you are alone in having debt. Unfortunately, having debt is common. According to Creditcards.com, the average American household has $15,950 of credit card debt.

    How to deal:Understand that you are not alone in dealing with debt. Everyone makes mistakes or has events happen outside of their control that leads to debt. Instead of being embarrassed, be proud that you are doing everything you can to get out of the debt.

  • Anger
    Sometimes it’s easy to be angry at and blame a spouse or family member for digging you into debt. You may be angry that your spouse lost a job or took a pay cut and as a result, caused you to accrue debt. It’s estimated that one of the main reasons why couples fight or get divorced is because of arguing about money.

    How to deal:With patience and communication, this is a time you can pull together with your spouse instead of breaking apart. It’s okay to calmly talk about your anger and disappointments together, but do so in a way that is productive instead of hurtful. Work together to come up with a plan for how you will rectify the debt.

  • Fear
    It’s scary to not know how you will get out of overwhelming debt. You might also fear creditors calling or losing your home or car. When you’re trying to figure out your next step, it’s scary if you’re not sure what to do.

    How to deal: Visit the U.S. government’s website on dealing with debt to ease your fears and learn what to do. Once you’ve accepted any mistakes and start making steps towards getting out of debt, you’ll be able to lose some of these fears.

All of these emotions are amplified if a debt collector has been harassing you to collect this debt. If a debt collector has violated your request that they cease contacting you or is otherwise violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online for a free FDCPA case review.

29 Jul

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22 Apps to Help You Manage Your Finances, Organize Debt, and Save Money

July 29, 2013 | By | No Comments

Keeping track of a budget, finding ways to save money and avoiding getting overwhelmed by debt can each be tricky. Fortunately, we have a list of free, helpful Apps you can download to make it much easier for you:

Smart phone desktops full of apps

  1. Mint: Mint allows you to link all of your credit cards and bank accounts to help you keep track of your budget with ease. It automatically shows you what you’re spending on food, gas and other categories. It’s a great tool to see where your money is going every month.
  2. Check – Bills & Money: Link your accounts, and the app will remind you when your bills are due or your bank account is low to avoid overdraft fees, late payments and your bill going to a collection agency. You’ll also be able to view all of your monthly bills in one spot, and pay them online.
  3. Toshl: Keep track of your expenses and income, and export that information into Excel, PDFs, Google Docs and more. Also, it organizes bills to let you know when a due date is approaching, and it keeps your budget organized.
  4. ShopSavvy: Next time you’re out shopping, use ShopSavvy to scan the bar code before you purchase. You’ll be able to find the lowest price nearby to know if you’re getting the best deal.
  5. RedLaser: Similar to ShopSavvy, RedLaser scans a barcode and compares prices of both online and in store items so you can see if you can score a lower price somewhere else. Read reviews, and even purchase the item with the app.
  6. BudgetSaved:Budget Saved allows you to input anything you spend money on and save it as a need or a want. Then, you can look back to see which items were really something you should have purchased. You’ll also be able to create your own weekly and monthly budget and store all of your past budgets.
  7. BillGuard: You can load up to three credit cards for free, and the app will scan them consistently for any suspicious or odd charges to alert you with. This can help you be aware of any identity theft or false debt that could lead to calls from debt collectors.
  8. GasBuddy: Have you ever filled up the tank only to drive a few blocks to see the cost much less? With GasBuddy it determines your current location, tell you the gas stations around you, and informs you of the lowest cost.
  9. Groupon: Find deals on restaurants, fun things to do and a variety of services. You’ll also find deals on getaways, and find things that are on a deal right now nearby you for a limited amount of time under the Groupon Now deals.
  10. The Coupons App: Find coupons updated daily all at your fingertips. Also, you’ll be able to use a barcode scanner to compare prices and save coupons.
  11. RetailMeNot: Save with coupons from a large variety of stores. You can also search for sales and deals going on at local malls or other stores. Saving money with these coupons can help you avoid credit card debt or help you deal with your student loans more efficiently.
  12. SnipSnap: If you have printed, paper coupons, but you don’t want to carry them with you, you can use the app to take a photo and save them to your phone. This way you’ll never have to worry about leaving a coupon behind again.
  13. Manilla: Opt out of paper bills, and see all of your monthly bills in one place. You can see your bills and get alerts to when they’re due, but you can’t use the system to pay the actual bill.
  14. Unsplurge: This app allows you to set financial goals for yourself like saving for a vacation or getting out of credit card debt. Record when you make good financial decisions, like not giving in and buying an impulse purchase. You can also share your journey with your friends, so you can support each other in your efforts to save money.
  15. strong>WattzOn: Get tips on saving energy at home, and compare your bill with houses that are similar. You might just be able to save more than you think.
  16. Skype: This video calling service can just be the deciding factor to cancel your landline and reduce any charges you may get from voice calls.
  17. Hotelcoupons: Hotelcoupons offers hotel rooms significantly discounted at a low walk-in rate. Simply search hotels in your area if you’re doing a more spontaneous trip.
  18. Wallaby: If you have multiple credit cards, this app will tell you which credit card to use based on where you’re shopping. When stores and gas stations offer rewards with certain cards, you’ll be able to see which is your best credit card to use.
  19. Yelp: You might not think of Yelp as a money saving app, but it definitely is. Read reviews to determine if a restaurant or service is worth your money. Also, many restaurants and retailers offer discounts and specials if you check-in on Yelp.
  20. Upromise: If you or your kids are headed for college or you have an existing Sallie Mae loan, you should be a member of the free service, Upromise, which earns you money towards your college simply by shopping and dining at participating places with your registered credit and bank cards. The Upromise app helps you find places nearby that will earn you cash back for eating or shopping there.
  21. ATM Hunter: Avoid banking fees by finding the closest ATM nearby associated with your bank. You can also search for 24-hour service.
  22. Out to Eat With Kids: If you’ve got little ones with you, this is a great app to find restaurants that offer deals for kids, including where they can eat for free. It also includes the dates, times, and other important information.

These apps are all great ways to help you manage your budget, eliminate debt and deal with your existing debt. If you’ve been struggling with debt and bills and dealing with harassing debt collectors as a result, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online for a free FDCPA case review. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case, even if you lose.

17 Jul

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Dealing With Student Loan Debt

July 17, 2013 | By | No Comments

Dealing with student loan debt can be rough. But with approximately 37 million loan borrowers with outstanding student loans today, you are not alone in your struggle. Before you start to panic or ignore these loans, there are steps you can take to deal with your student debt.

Student Loan written on large iron ball and chain

photo by: thisisbossi

  1. Understand what you owe.

    There’s a good chance you may have different lenders and different types of loans. The first step to managing the debt is knowing how much exactly you have. Make a list of every loan you have including how much you owe and the interest each has. This will allow you to focus on the loans that have the highest interest rate. You have to know what debt you have before you can know how to deal with it accordingly.
  2. Figure out your best payment plan.

    Many lenders offer a variety of payment plans, including plans based upon your income. Explore each option to see what works best for you. If you’re having trouble making payments at all, speak to your lender. There’s a chance you can qualify for a deferment if you’re unemployed or experiencing other economic hardships. A deferment simply means that you don’t have to make a payment for a certain amount of time. The loans do not decrease and interest still accrues.
  3. Explore Student Loan Forgiveness.

    Many volunteer organizations offer partial loan forgiveness such as AmeriCorps, Peace Corps, and Volunteers in Service to America (VISTA). Full-time teachers that work in low-income areas or areas with limited teachers, may be eligible for partial repayment. If you’re in the medical or law field, there’s a chance you can also qualify as well. For lawyers, if you serve in public interest or non-profit positions, you may be able to receive some kind of assistance. For nurses and doctors, there are many programs available in which you must agree to work in remote or low-income areas that need more medical professionals. For more information on student loan forgiveness, visit the official website for a list of resources and a full explanation.
  4. Signing up for Upromise.

    Upromise is a free program where you earn money in various ways towards your student loans. Once you create an account, you can register all of your credit cards and grocery rewards cards. When you make a qualifying purchase, a percentage goes towards paying down your loan. The same is true for certain restaurants and online shopping through their site. They also have a Upromise credit card where you’ll receive money towards your loan. (Note: We are not specifically recommending this service. We are only pointing it out as an option that might help some people reduce their student loan debt.)
  5. Talk to your lender.
    Call and speak to your lender’s customer service. For example, Sallie Mae offers a percentage off your monthly interest rate if you sign up for automatic payments. See what they’re willing to do to help. Ask if you can lower your payments or interest rate to make it more manageable.
  6. Make a plan and stick to it.
    The best way to deal with your student loan debt is just to face it head on. Do not ignore it or get upset about it. Now that you’re done with college, it may be tempting to stop living on that tight college budget and to start to splurge more, but stick to a budget and keep making your loan payments on time.

If a debt collector has been contacting you because of student loan debt and has violated your request that they cease contacting you or is otherwise violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online for a free FDCPA case review.

09 Jul

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Reasons People Don’t Fight Debt Collectors

July 9, 2013 | By | No Comments

Dealing with debt and with harassing debt collectors can be stressful and scary. Unfortunately, many people don’t realize they can fight back. Here are common reasons people do not fight back:

Everlast boxing gloves laying inside a boxing ring

photo by: KWDesigns

  • They’re scared.

    If a debt collector is threatening to take away possessions or violence or using abusive language, it’s no surprise that someone would become fearful. Besides the threats and offensive language, it’s also scary not to know when it will all end and what you can do about it.
  • They’re embarrassed.

    Feeling ashamed, embarrassed and guilty about the debt you’ve accrued is common but unnecessary. Many don’t want to bring more attention to their money troubles so they take illegal abuse from debt collectors.
  • They’re in denial.

    Denial is a common emotion associated with debt since it can be overwhelming. Yet, this denial can be harmful if you continue to ignore harassing phone calls from debt collectors.
  • They don’t realize they can fight it.

    An unfortunate reason why people choose not to fight illegal debt collections is simply, they don’t realize that they can. Understand your rights and that there are many things that a debt collector can’t do or say.
  • They don’t realize it costs nothing to fight the harassment.

    Even when people do know this harassment is wrong, they don’t realize that thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act, there is no cost of fighting these debt collectors if they have violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case, even if you don’t recover anything.

Don’t let these reasons stop you from fighting abusive debt collectors. If you feel your rights have been violated, do something about it. Call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review.

03 Jul

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How to Improve Your Credit Score

July 3, 2013 | By | No Comments

Whether you would like to improve your credit score or simply maintain the good score you already have, there are steps you can take.

Graphs showing credit scores

photo by: i am real estate photographer

  • Check your report.

    Whether you have excellent credit or a less desirable credit report, be sure to check it. This will allow you to see any errors or any suspicious activity associated with your credit. You could have paid something on time, but it came up as a late payment. You could have possibly opened an account a while ago and forgot all about it. This is also a great way to check if you’ve had a problem with identity theft. If there are any accounts you don’t recognize, you’ll want to report them immediately to the credit bureau. You can check your report for free once a year by visiting AnnualCreditReport.com. It’s free to see your credit report, but you’ll have to pay a small fee to see your actual score.
  • Get organized with your bills.

    Since late payments are horrible for your credit score, you need to pay your bills on time. Late payments are flagged on your credit report and cause your score to go down. It can also cause your interest rate to go up and late fees to be added to your bill. On the other hand, making your payments on time will start to improve your score. Keep track of when your bills are due. The same way you mark on your calendar doctor’s appointments and items due for work or school, mark down when your bill is due. Sign up for automatic payments or a reminder that will be e-mailed to you when your bill is almost due.
  • Make a payment plan for your debt.

    If you’re struggling with debt and also dealing with a less desirable credit report, it can feel overwhelming. But it is possible to deal with it and come out on top. Make a plan of dealing with any debt you have as well as any accounts that are past due. Your plan may have to include finding ways to save money in your monthly budget so you can put it towards bills and/or debt payments. There are ways you can save money on food. Try to make more careful choices about purchasing wants over needs, and try to lower your utilities.
  • Work with anything you have past due.
    If you have an account that is past due, the worst thing you can do is just ignore it. Call the company, and face it. It is possible that they will work with you to go on a payment plan. For student loans, it is possible you can defer your payments if you are unemployed, still in school, or experiencing economic hardship. You can also put your loans in forbearance, which means you pay a fee, then you do not have to make a payment for a certain amount of months without any penalties.

On top of dealing with a low credit score, you may have been contacted by a debt collector. Remember that there are a lot of things that debt collectors can’t do or say. If you
you feel like a creditor violated your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review.

01 Jul

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How to Keep Your Money Safe While Traveling

July 1, 2013 | By | No Comments

Keeping your money safe is always a priority, but it’s especially important while you’re traveling abroad. Taking a few simple precautions before your trip and during your travels can ensure a safe, enjoyable trip and can keep your money secure. The last thing you want to do is return from a trip and have to deal with identity theft. Here’s how to keep your money safe while you’re traveling abroad:

Various Euro Denominations

photo by: Tax Credits

    • Make preparations with your credit card company.
      Before you head out, there are certain things you need to know about using a credit card overseas to ensure you and your money are safe such as alerting them that you’ll be traveling and knowing any fees you’ll get abroad.
    • Pack smart.
      When you’re packing, leave valuables and flashy jewelry at home. The U.S. Department of State recommends not dressing like an “affluent tourist” as this can make you more susceptible to thieves and scams.
    • Don’t keep your money in one place.
      If you have all of your money in cash in your bag, and your bag is stolen, it’s all gone. Instead, carry a combination of cash and a credit card or two. Have this cash and credit cards in multiple places. You can carry some in a bag and then some in a secret pocket in a suitcase or leave some in the hotel safe. If you’re traveling with someone, let each of you hold a portion of the money.
    • Avoid taking large amounts of cash.
      There are many points where you’ll need cash, but carrying a large amount with you is risky. Unlike a credit card, if your cash is lost or stolen, it’s gone forever. Plus, taking out a wad of cash to pay for something can make you a target for theft. Instead, keep the rest of your cash on a debit card you withdraw from, in the form of a traveler’s check, or back in a secure hotel safe.
    • Be careful with conversions.
      If you’re converting currency, airports will have higher fees. Instead, choose a bank or exchange booth with a better rate. Avoid any local who says they can help exchange your money for you, as it is very likely a scam. Also, be sure you’re aware of what the actual conversion is. Download the free Currency Converter app so you know you’re getting the right rate back.
    • Store your money in a safe place.
      Purses are easy to snatch, a book bag could be opened while you’re not looking and a wallet stored in a back pocket can be easily targeted for a pick pocketer. Instead, add safe money storage to your checklist for your international travel. A money belt is a common tool amongst backpackers and travel veterans. The belt wraps underneath your clothing around your waist. Or opt for a purse that goes across your body.
    • Protect your credit cards.
      When you’re using a debit or credit card, don’t let it out of your sight. Someone can take copy the numbers of the card or double swipe it. When you’re entering a PIN number at an ATM, cover it so people can not see your code.

    If a debt collector has been contacting you because of false debt from traveling abroad and they have violated your request that they cease contacting you or is otherwise violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review.

28 Jun

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What is the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act?

June 28, 2013 | By | No Comments

Every consumer should know what the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act is and what it protects you from. Here’s a brief explanation:

Someone writing debt on a chalk board

by: Images_of_money

  • What is the Fair Debt Collections Practices Act?

    The Fair Debt Collections Practices Act, also known as FDCPA, protects you against debt collectors that use harassment, unfair or deceptive practices to collect the debt you owe, or in some cases, debt you already paid or falsely owe.
  • Who qualifies as a debt collector under the FDCPA?

    A debt collector includes a collector from a collection agency, collection lawyers or a company that buys delinquent debt and then tries to get debtors to pay (also called junk debt buyers or zombie debt).
  • What types of debts are covered by this act?

    Most types of personal debts are covered including credit cards, auto loans, medical bills, mortgage and student loans. Basically, any debt that was incurred for person, family or household purposes.
  • What does FDCPA protect against?
    There are many things a debt collector can not say and doincluding threaten action that cannot legal be taken, call you constantly for purposes of harassment or make false or deceptive claims. The specific violations are too many to list here, so if you are being contact by a debt collector, call us for a free case review.
  • Once FDCPA rights have been violated, what can be done?

    If you feel that your rights have been violated, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you. You can also complete our online for a free FDCPA case review. The debt collector has to pay your legal fees so you’ll be charged nothing for your case, even if you don’t recover anything.

24 Jun

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Things Debt Collectors Can’t Do and Say

June 24, 2013 | By | No Comments

Several stop signs in a row

photo by: wootpeanuts

Dealing with debt collectors can be stressful and overwhelming. But there are many things that debt collectors aren’t allowed to say or do thanks to the Fair Debt Collection Act to prevent harassing behavior. Here’s a list of some of the things they aren’t allowed to say or do while contacting you:

  • Use offensive and obscene language
  • Threaten to take away your property without a court order
  • Threaten to take away your wages without a court order
  • Lie about why they’re calling you
  • Misrepresent themselves or pretend they are someone else, such as an attorney
  • Threaten violence
  • Contact you between the hours of 9 p.m. – 8 a.m.
  • Call you constantly for purposes of harassment
  • Call you at work if they know you are not allowed to take their calls while you are working
  • Contact you via postcard Make false claim that you’re going to be arrested
  • Say that you’ve committed a crime
  • Make a false claim that a lawsuit has been or will be filed when it has or will not
  • Send you papers that are made to mimic court papers when they are not
  • Threaten to harm your property
  • Use a name other than the true name of the company
  • Fail to identify themselves while talking to you
  • Threaten to damage your reputation
  • Inform your employer about your debt
  • Contact your family and friends and tell them about your debt (other than a spouse if you’re married or parent if you’re under 18)


If you feel like any of these above actions have happened to you and a debt collector has been violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online form for a free FDCPA case review.

19 Jun

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8 Ways to Avoid Identity Theft

June 19, 2013 | By | No Comments

Identity theft is a booming problem that affects more than 10 million Americans per year leading to debt and financial disparity. But there are several ways to avoid having your identity stolen, and here’s how:

Man at ATM inserting his bank card

photo by: thinkpanama

  1. Guard your PIN. It sounds simple, but watch peering eyes while you’re visiting ATMs.
  2. Enter information online cautiously. Be sure a website is safe and secure before entering any credit card, bank, or other personal information. If you have any doubt, call to confirm it’s the right website.
  3. Keep your social security number safe. Don’t carry around your card unless necessary, and be cautious of who you give your number to.
  4. Protect your mail. Heading on vacation? Stop your mail to avoid any mail theft. If you’re moving, be sure to forward your mail to your new address.
  5. Shred your documents. Prevent thieves from attaining your personal information in your trash.
  6. Have a prepared list of your account numbers and expiration dates. If your wallet or credit card does get stolen, you’ll be able to immediately call your banks and lenders to freeze them and get a new card before a thief gets a chance to act.
  7. Use a strong password for accounts. While it may be easier just to use a simple password for everything, use a strong password that wouldn’t be easy to guess. Use a mix of capital and lowercase letters, numbers and symbols.
  8. Review your credit report. Check your credit report and credit score often to monitor for any suspicious behavior or inaccurate information.
  9. If a debt collector has been contacting you because of false debt from identity theft and has violated your request that they cease contacting you or is otherwise violating your rights, call The Law Firm of Mitch Luxenburg’s experienced fair debt collection attorneys toll-free at (877) 846-1209 to find out how we can help you or complete our online for a free FDCPA case review.