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NEWS
September 30, 2005
GOOD NEWS: Consumers are now entitled to a free annual copy of their credit report. Bad news: Figuring out where to order and how to interpret the results can be daunting. There's help via a workshop arranged by Greater Philadelphia Urban Affairs Coalition and Consumer Credit Counseling Service, sponsored by Wachovia. Tuesday, Oct. 4, is the first date. Call 215-563-5665 (press "7") or register at www.gpuac.org.
NEWS
July 27, 2012 | Harry Gross
Dear Harry: Last summer, I became a victim of identity theft. It was a mess to clear up, but I think I'm OK now. My credit-card statements are all OK and so are my store accounts, but I now have a new problem. Two of the major credit- reporting companies are badgering me with emails, and one called to urge me to put me on their credit-monitoring systems. I wouldn't mind doing this, but the cost is more than $130 a year. Do I have to go this route in order to make sure the person who stole my identity doesn't do it again?
REAL_ESTATE
December 29, 2014 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Credit scores have become all-important to financial well-being - well, at least to whether someone will give you a mortgage. They reflect creditworthiness and are based on credit reports, which indicate whether you pay your bills on time. Lenders use someone's credit score to decide whether to lend that person money and at what interest rate. Credit scores also are used for screening insurance and other applications. In the heady years leading up to the collapse of the housing market, it became obvious that people with credit scores that weren't very good were being given mortgages that they would never be able to repay.
BUSINESS
May 18, 2015 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
What matters to you most as a consumer? What impresses you about a business, or makes you likely to recommend it to friends? What gets your goat, or leaves you so frustrated that you take time to complain? I want to know, because that's my job - as it has been for most of the last 14 years, ever since my first Consumer Watch column appeared here in November 2001. With today's redesign of Sunday Business comes a new chance to invite you to speak up. Like it or not, consumers are like canaries in a coal mine.
NEWS
September 1, 2005
READY FOR a new reality show? This one is about you. Starting today, thanks to an important change in the federal laws, consumers are now entitled to receive a free copy of their credit report. A credit report is a critical snapshot of personal information related to how much money you owe and how you pay your bills. Having a copy of this document is critical; it is a reality check for all consumers, not only to check the accuracy of what creditors and banks know about you, but how expensive it will be for you to borrow money.
BUSINESS
December 24, 2013 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
Give yourself the gift of losses. There are only six trading days left in 2013, so it's time to review your portfolio to see if there are any tax losses you can harvest. In other words, sell your portfolio's losers, use the losses to offset realized taxable gains, and lower your 2013 tax bill. Remember, you need to act by Dec. 31. Tax-loss harvesting, or selling investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that have lost value, can reduce your taxes on capital gains realized from selling winning investments.
BUSINESS
September 9, 2013 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
Was Experian trying to cash in on innocent mistakes by luring consumers who mistyped AnnualCreditReport.com - the official source for free annual reports - to CreditReport.com, an Experian site that charges for credit data? Nope, it was just an innocent mistake, company spokeswoman Susan Henson told me Friday, after Experian - one of the Big Three in the U.S. credit-reporting industry - emerged as a surprise player in the ongoing saga of "AnnualCreditReport.com vs. the Typosquatters.
NEWS
May 10, 1994 | by Harriet Lessy, Daily News Staff Writer
A lender turns you down for a new car loan, dissing your credit with some vague reference to a mysterious "report" that claims you owe real-estate taxes on a house you never owned. What is this credit report that has kept you from buying a new set of wheels? A credit report is a synopsis of your payment history. It's put together by a company that lets potential lenders take a look at it before deciding if they'll toss some bucks your way. Credit reports don't just keep track of the bad stuff, either.
NEWS
November 23, 2012
DEAR HARRY: Some friends and I have been approached by a local lawyer to form a company that will invest in life-insurance policies. The idea is to buy existing policies from owners who need immediate cash, continue to pay the premiums, and get the payoff when the person insured dies. The cash paid will be more than the surrender value of the policies. To hedge against the possibility of people living too long, a substantial number of policies have to be bought. He is asking potential investors to put up $100,000 each.
NEWS
November 6, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan and Mike Newall, Inquirer Staff Writers
The investigators watching the sedan with the broken windows in the parking lot in Jessup, Md., on Wednesday evening saw two figures in the backseat: a man and a woman they hoped was a 22-year-old from Philadelphia who had been violently abducted three days earlier. Then the man climbed into the front seat and tried to pull away. The ATF agents closed in with guns drawn. The man surrendered without a fight. The terrified woman in the backseat gave her name: Carlesha. And with that, the three-day ordeal that stretched across state lines and galvanized police and the public came to an end, with Carlesha Freeland-Gaither injured but safe, and a wanted man with a history of violence in custody.
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BUSINESS
May 18, 2015 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
What matters to you most as a consumer? What impresses you about a business, or makes you likely to recommend it to friends? What gets your goat, or leaves you so frustrated that you take time to complain? I want to know, because that's my job - as it has been for most of the last 14 years, ever since my first Consumer Watch column appeared here in November 2001. With today's redesign of Sunday Business comes a new chance to invite you to speak up. Like it or not, consumers are like canaries in a coal mine.
REAL_ESTATE
December 29, 2014 | By Alan J. Heavens, Inquirer Real Estate Writer
Credit scores have become all-important to financial well-being - well, at least to whether someone will give you a mortgage. They reflect creditworthiness and are based on credit reports, which indicate whether you pay your bills on time. Lenders use someone's credit score to decide whether to lend that person money and at what interest rate. Credit scores also are used for screening insurance and other applications. In the heady years leading up to the collapse of the housing market, it became obvious that people with credit scores that weren't very good were being given mortgages that they would never be able to repay.
NEWS
November 6, 2014 | By Aubrey Whelan and Mike Newall, Inquirer Staff Writers
The investigators watching the sedan with the broken windows in the parking lot in Jessup, Md., on Wednesday evening saw two figures in the backseat: a man and a woman they hoped was a 22-year-old from Philadelphia who had been violently abducted three days earlier. Then the man climbed into the front seat and tried to pull away. The ATF agents closed in with guns drawn. The man surrendered without a fight. The terrified woman in the backseat gave her name: Carlesha. And with that, the three-day ordeal that stretched across state lines and galvanized police and the public came to an end, with Carlesha Freeland-Gaither injured but safe, and a wanted man with a history of violence in custody.
NEWS
September 19, 2014 | Michelle Singletary, Washington Post Writers Group
AS THE OLD saying goes, no man's credit is as good as his money. And yet we live in a society that judges our ability to get credit - and in many cases a job, insurance and even a security clearance - based on our good credit behavior. Following a recent column about the FICO credit scoring, many readers had questions about their credit situations. * One woman wrote: "My husband and I have been married for 52 years and have lived in our house for more than 40. We paid off the mortgage decades ago. All of our credit is in his name.
BUSINESS
March 3, 2014 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
Consumers have always had a twisted relationship with the credit-reporting industry. The three key national players - Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion - each maintain files on more than 200 million Americans. But their primary business has always been about us, not with us. And that has led to maddening, costly, and even financially harmful results - say, when they get something wrong in your records but don't seem to care much about fixing it. Thankfully, the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has stepped into the breach, by trying to untangle this Gordian knot of commercial interests and lack of interest.
NEWS
January 24, 2014
SINCE THE major data breach at Target, many readers have asked how to best protect their credit. "My wife and I are vigilant and we replaced our debit cards because of Target," one reader wrote. "Our credit has been 'frozen' at the three credit agencies for years and we view the reports annually. Do you consider 'frozen' at the agencies as ample protection?" It's likely you've heard that if you're a victim of identity theft or you want to protect your files from fraud because you suspect you are vulnerable, you should put a fraud alert on your credit files at the major credit-reporting agencies - TransUnion, Experian and Equifax.
BUSINESS
December 24, 2013 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
Give yourself the gift of losses. There are only six trading days left in 2013, so it's time to review your portfolio to see if there are any tax losses you can harvest. In other words, sell your portfolio's losers, use the losses to offset realized taxable gains, and lower your 2013 tax bill. Remember, you need to act by Dec. 31. Tax-loss harvesting, or selling investments such as stocks, bonds, and mutual funds that have lost value, can reduce your taxes on capital gains realized from selling winning investments.
NEWS
October 14, 2013 | BY VALERIE RUSS, Daily News Staff Writer russv@phillynews.com, 215-854-5987
FOR EIGHT YEARS, Anita Howard has worked at a job she loves, helping homeless people move from shelters into apartments they can call their own. "I love this agency," Howard said of her work with Methodist Services in Wynnefield. "It does so much for so many people. We serve 2,600 women, children and families a year. " The agency also provides adoption and foster-care services. But when it came time for Howard to go from renting a house to owning her own home, Howard realized she needed help and found the counseling services at the West Oak Lane Community Development Corp., which is part of the larger Ogontz Avenue Revitalization Corp.
BUSINESS
October 5, 2013 | By Erin E. Arvedlund, Inquirer Columnist
When you or someone you know suffers identity theft, the typical loss is more than $4,900, according to the U.S. Department of Justice. So how can we protect ourselves? A June study found that the number of identity fraud victims annually in the United States totaled 11.5 million people. So we put together some tips to fight identity theft: Guard your mail and trash from theft. Have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail while away from home, and install a lockable mailbox. Tear or shred receipts, insurance information, credit applications, doctor's bills, checks and bank statements, old credit cards, and any credit offers received in the mail.
BUSINESS
September 9, 2013 | By Jeff Gelles, Inquirer Columnist
Was Experian trying to cash in on innocent mistakes by luring consumers who mistyped AnnualCreditReport.com - the official source for free annual reports - to CreditReport.com, an Experian site that charges for credit data? Nope, it was just an innocent mistake, company spokeswoman Susan Henson told me Friday, after Experian - one of the Big Three in the U.S. credit-reporting industry - emerged as a surprise player in the ongoing saga of "AnnualCreditReport.com vs. the Typosquatters.
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