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FOIA - FBI/NSA Files

Posted on July 5, 2013 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

My street address:___________________________________

My city, state, and zip:_________________________________

July 4, 2013

Federal Bureau of Investigation

Records/Information Dissemination Section

170 Marcel Drive

Winchester, VA 22602-4843

FREEDOM OF INFORMATION ACT / PRIVACY ACTREQUEST

Dear Sir or Madam:

This is a request for records under theprovisions of the Freedom of Information Act and the Privacy Act. Pleaseprocess this request under both statutes to release the maximum number ofrecords.

I request copies of all files,correspondence, or other records concerning myself. To assist you with thissearch I am providing the following information about myself:

My full name: ________________________

Other names used: ________________________

My date of birth: ________________________

My place of birth: ________________________

My Social Security number: _________________

Please search both your automated indices andthe older general (manual) indices, as well as all Field Offices.

This is an individual request for researchand study purposes, and I agree that I will pay up to $_____ for fees, ifnecessary. Please notify me in advance if fees are expected to exceed thatamount. If the file is likely to result in more than 250 pages, I wouldappreciate receiving a digital copy of the file on a CD-ROM rather than inpaper form.

If you have any questions, please call me at____________________.

Under penalty of perjury, I hereby declarethat I am the person named above and I understand that any falsification ofthis statement is punishable under the provisions of Title 18, United StatesCode (U.S.C.), Section 1001 by a fine of not more than $10,000 or byimprisonment of not more than five years, or both; and that requesting orobtaining any record(s) under false pretenses is punishable under theprovisions of Title 5, U.S.C., Section 552a(i)(3) as a misdemeanor and by afine of not more than $5,000.

Sincerely,

 

Five Key Debt Reduction Steps

Posted on May 26, 2013 at 3:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Step 1. The purpose of this first step is to bring you back to reality. You must know exactly how much money you owe and to whom you owe it.

* Collect all of you unpaid bills and any other evidence of your outstanding debts.

* List each outstanding bill on the same sheet of paper. In separate columns, include the invoice or account number, amount due, name of the creditor, and the date the bill can be paid in full without incurring additional finance charges.

* Total the amount due column.

* Total the number of creditors.

* Total the number of bills. Are you surprised or shocked? Of course, most will be shocked by the scope of their debt. Regardless of your reaction, you now (perhaps for the first time) have an exact accounting of your current debts. Debt help Considers this to be your guide, because it shows exactly how much money you currently owe, and by what date you must pay.

Step 2. This step employs a powerful visualization technique that actually enables you to visualize an end to your current debts.

* Mentally consolidate your bills. Do not think of your debt as a series of separate bills. Consider all your bills as one large bill to be repaid. As you diligently repay each component bill, your large bill becomes smaller.

* Mentally consolidate your payments. Do not consider your individual payments towards separate bills, consider them one large payment towards your one large bill.

* Debt help shows why you must continue making the same size payments regardless of how many bills are repaid. As bills are paid in full, more money is available to pay other bills, but only if your payments remain the same.

* You must pay your bills in the order of their highest monthly payments. This allows you to apply the most amount of money to the next bill and reduces your debts in the shortest amount of time. If your large bill becomes smaller each time you make a payment while the size of your payments remains the same, the net result of this strategy is that each successive payment has a greater impact upon the size of your debt. Debt Example:

Say you have two bills, one for $250 and one for $750. Together they total $1000. You can afford to pay $500 per month. If you pay $250 towards each bill, the small bill will disappear after the first payment and the larger bill is reduced to $500. You still have $500 available for the next payment. If you maintain the same size payment, you will completely eliminate the remaining bill with the next payment.

Step 3. Now it is time for a course correction - you must alter your spending habits. Regardless of the cause, be it problem debt or chronic debt, you must be willing to change your spending habits and if necessary, seriously alter your lifestyle.

* Establish your long-term financial goals. It took months or years to reach your current level of debt. Since you cannot wish yourself out of debt nor can you count on winning the lottery, you must adopt, reasonable financial goals. The more you practice meeting even limited financial goals. The more confident and in control of your life you will feel. This in turn enables you to meet longer-term goals successfully.

* Establish credible short-term goals. Short-term means tomorrow! During the next 24 hours you are not to incur any new debt.

* just get through one day, then another. You get the idea. The impact of this - trail by fire - is to immediately boost your confidence by preventing your debt from expanding. This prepares you for the serious commitment to complete debt reduction ahead of you.

* Establish realistic intermediate term goals. These goals should find you becoming comfortable with the basics of debt reduction. Your goals are to implement the plan, grow more confident as you watch your debts grow smaller and begin to realize that you can become debt free.

* Establish, well defined, long term goals. As you master these debt reduction techniques, you will be firmly committed to effecting, permanent chance in your financial condition. Not only can you see yourself debt free sooner, but also you can realistically see yourself accumulating wealth. You are in control of your financial well being. You are no longer a debtor - with debt help you are on the road to complete debt freedom!

* Prioritize your spending. Eliminate impulse purchases. Buying on impulse addresses your wants not your needs. Seek alternative methods to pay for goods and services:

* Barter: You may be able to barter anything of value including your time, for something of value to you.

* Learn to live with less. you must learn to live with the extremely limited financial resources you have available, instead of the unlimited ones you pretended you had. Remember, a sacrifice is a trade-off. You give up something now; you are rewarded later. Denial, on the other hand, has no reward. it is punishment.

Step 4. Remove access to any credit you may still have. During this entire debt reduction program you must learn to steer clear of bad habits. You should no more try to conquer debt while you have access to credit, than you would pilot a rowboat thru a hurricane.

* Lockup, return, revoke, cancel, destroy or otherwise make unavailable to you all the remaining sources of credit: credit cards, revolving lines of credit and credit extensions.

* If you feel you need to keep a credit card for identification purposes such as when you pay by check, then choose the card with the least available credit remaining on it.

* Become your own banker. Do not carry your checkbook on your person. Write yourself one check every week. This is your allowance. Cash the check and live on it.

* Every time you receive an offer of credit in the mail, immediately tear it up and throw it away. Do this even if you have to make a special trip to the incinerator or the dumpster in the middle of a blizzard! Consumer credit is the most insidious type and the most Difficult to give up. As you know, you will be continually bombarded with new offers of easy, often pre-approved credit. You must ignore them at all cost. By this almost surgical removal of your access to credit you will come to realize the power of the word NO! And you will become more comfortable saying it. Step

5. Use Cash Only! * Pay cash for everything. If you do not have enough cash to pay for an item, you cannot afford it. Anticipate your expenses now, so that you will have enough cash on hand.

* Now if you do not have enough cash on hand, then cash a check at your bank or make a withdraw from your savings account. Either way, you will need to immediately deduct the amount from the remaining balance.

* If your account is overdrawn at the bank, please stop writing checks immediately. If you do not know how to balance your checkbook, do not write any checks until you learn how to do it. You must be absolutely sure there is enough money in the account to cover every check issued. Under no condition may you bounce a check. Aside from any criminal liability and negative credit reporting you may be subjected to, you will have to pay an overdraft charge. This may be as much as $50 and will be deducted automatically from the balance in your account. You also may be liable for a merchants return check fee. Which can be as high as $25 to $50 per check.

* Do not apply for overdraft protection at your bank. Because this is a line of credit with a high interest rate, you will be tempted to abuse it. Living on cash teaches you to prioritize your spending. Since you can no longer buy anything you want whenever you want it, you must focus on what you really need. Ask Yourself: Since I am paying cash, is this something I absolutely must have? Am I really willing to forgo something else in order to pay for this item now? Learn not to feel denied. Instead, think of the sacrifices you are making to achieve your long-term debt reduction goals. In order to eliminate your debts, you must satisfy your needs not your wants. There will be time to buy what you want after you are in control of your finances.

Money Management Options to Eliminate Debt

Posted on May 24, 2013 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

 With so many sources out there claiming to help you eliminate credit card and loan debt once and for all, its difficult to find a debt settlement company that you can trust. Fortunately, money management isnt something that has to be so elusive and difficult to navigate. To eliminate credit card debt, consider:


Doing it yourself  By negotiating your repayment plan with your creditor, you might find that your credit card company is willing to work with you to eliminate your current balance. Doing things yourself minimizes the risk of trusting a debt settlement company thats actually a scam. This is a proactive solution that solves your problem and protects you from potential pitfalls.


Finding a credit counselor. If your debt is too widespread and deep to handle alone, consider finding a counselor to help you with financial management. Again, to protect yourself from any scams, pick a counselor who is with a legitimate, nonprofit organization. Expect to pay reasonable fees for a debt management plan that average anywhere from $30 to $50, depending on location.


Creating a debt management plan. Working with a credit counseling agency for better money management practices is best if they help you create a debt management plan. These plans are detailed and help you make payments more manageable. This typically will not hurt your credit score, depending on how the creditor reports this to the credit agencies

.

Debt settlements. These are usually a money management option that you want to avoid. While you can settle your debt, high fees and commissions make this business model generally unfriendly for consumers.


Bankruptcy. For most people, seeking a bankruptcy to eliminate debt - credit card or otherwise - is their best solution. Most people try to avoid this option because of the negative stigma that is associated with bankruptcy, but this solution gives people the opportunity for a fresh financial start. Furthermore, this option isnt limited to credit cards, but can help with all types of debt and can even prevent a mortgage default. Consider meeting with a bankruptcy attorney to discuss your options and how a bankruptcy will affect your short and long term financial life.

Credit Reporting Codes for Short Sales ?

Posted on May 21, 2013 at 3:15 PM Comments comments (0)

In a short sale, the bank approves the sale of the house to a new buyer at a mutually acceptable price. Any unpaid remaining loan balance not covered by the sale proceeds may then be either partially or fully forgiven.

In a foreclosure, the bank is essentially left holding the bag. The owners walk away at some point or live in the property rent-free until they're evicted.

Both transactions are serious, negative credit events for the borrower. After all, the mortgage wasn't fully repaid. But the financial losses generated by a foreclosure typically are more severe for the lender than by a short sale.

The nation's major sources of mortgage financing — Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Housing Administration — all recognize the differences between short sales and foreclosures in their underwriting policies regarding new mortgages. Fannie Mae generally won't approve a new mortgage application by borrowers with a foreclosure on their credit report for up to seven years, but will consider lending to people who were involved in short sales, and who otherwise qualify in terms of recent credit behavior and available down payment, in as little as two years.

The problem is the CRA's don't have a code to input for short sale, so they use the code for foreclosure instead, taking the reestablished buyer out of the market on a average of five additional years.

Consumer Data Industry Assn. had no comment ?

The Ride of Silence

Posted on May 15, 2013 at 10:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Tonight we number many but ride as one.

In honor of those not with us, friends, mothers, fathers, sisters, sons.

With helmets on tight and heads down low.

We ride in silence,cautious and slow.

The wheels start spinning in the lead pack.

But tonight we ride and no one attacks.

The dark sunglasses cover our tears.

Remembering those we held so dear.

Tonight's ride is to make others aware.

The road is there for all to share.

To those not with us or by our side.

May God be your partner on your final ride.


 - Mike Murgas


Typical debt consolidation mistakes to avoid

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

While debt consolidation might seem like a great idea, if you're not careful it can hit you like a boomerang and get you knees deep in debt. Most people aren't financial experts and no one is expecting you to know the best solution to your financial problems, but if you pay attention to some of the most common mistakes people make with debt consolidation, you'll be doing yourself a big favor. Learn from others' experience and don't fall for the same tricks they did. First of all, what is debt consolidation? If you have multiple loans, sometimes it can be complicated to take care of all of them with all the different interest rates and so on. To make things much simpler, you can do a debt consolidation which means turning all those multiple debts into one big debt. By creating a single loan you've made thing simple, but in the long run there are complications waiting for you. The biggest benefit from the single debt consolidation is that your monthly payments will most likely get lower, but the length of the loan will be extended. The future always seems like something so distant you don't have to worry about, and that's where most people make the same mistake. You need to keep track of your credit card account. In this age of technology, identity and credit card theft aren't a SF movie topic anymore, but a real and growing problem. It has never been easier to find someone's confidential info online, and you'd be surprised to know how many of your private information are available to people you wouldn't want anywhere near you. It doesn't even take a computer hacker genius to mess with your credit card, and it happens a lot. So make sure you check your credit report regularly for new accounts or payments that might seem off. Also make sure you keep track of your credit score. If you let it go somewhere between 500 and 620 chances are you'll have a hard time getting a debt consolidation, so keep that in mind. Even the bureaus that keep track of your credit record could make a mistake now and then, so take some time to go through the report to make sure everything is OK. Never rely on anyone's opinion more than on your own, especially if you're paying someone to tell you what you do. You're the person that knows your financial situation the best, and you should make a final call. If you're just months from paying a debt off and a so called expert suggests making a debt consolidation, don't ruin yourself by listening to them. Always take time to think things through and to consider all the options you have instead of rushing in with a decision. Smart planning and patience will keep you out of debt and keep your record clean.

A snapshot of financial complaints from the military

Posted on May 14, 2013 at 11:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Did you know we’ve received more than 5,000 complaints from servicemembers, veterans, and their families? By and large, statistics for complaints submitted by the military track with those of the population at large. But these complaint statistics aren’t just numbers to us: they represent military members and their families and we know the impact consumer financial issues can have on their quality of life. Read the report: A snapshot of complaints from the military. In one complaint, an active-duty airman received permanent change of station orders in April 2012 – meaning he had no choice but to move – and tried to get approval from his mortgage servicer to sell his house in a short sale. In August, the company denied his request. He contacted his judge advocate to find out his rights; the judge advocate contacted the CFPB and learned about the guidance we had issued to clarify what mortgage servicers should do when contacted by a servicemember who has received PCS orders. Based on that guidance, the judge advocate advised the airman to submit a complaint to us. We monitored the complaint and helped address the issues raised in the complaint. After previously denying the short sale, the company re-reviewed the airman’s request and approved it. In another complaint, an active-duty army officer had been told by her student loan servicer that they were going to terminate her SCRA rights unless she provided a new set of orders that contained an end date. As an officer, she did not have orders with an end date, so the servicer terminated her interest-rate protection while she was still serving on active duty. The consumer complained to the CFPB and even before the complaint was routed to the relevant enforcement agency, a representative from the Office of Servicemember Affairs was able to communicate with the servicer and ensure the rate was reinstated. We want to hear from active-duty, guard, reserve, retirees, family members, and veterans – the whole military community. And we want you to know you can contact us with questions or complaints about consumer financial products and services. We can’t guarantee what the results will be, but we will bring your concerns to the attention of companies, help address your complaints, and work with other federal and state agencies on improving consumer protection for the military. I am proud to lead a team that works day in and day out on consumer financial challenges affecting military personnel, veterans and their families. We learn about their financial challenges by traveling to military installations across the country, talking directly to servicemembers, veterans and their families and by monitoring the complaints they submit to us, as those complaints can identify the pain points for military families in their consumer financial dealings. To submit a complaint, visit consumerfinance.gov/complaint. Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via email Apr 29 2013 Good credit – I want that! By Holly Petraeus and Corey Stone Did you know that there are now dating websites where potential partners provide their credit score for you to check out? People know it’s important to have good credit. But, there’s still a lot of confusion about how to actually build and keep a good credit report. First of all, what is a credit report? In a nutshell, it’s a report that looks at some of your bill-paying history, your applications for credit, and public-record information about you like bankruptcies, liens, and foreclosures. Credit-reporting companies (the big three are Equifax, Experian and TransUnion) collect this information, organize it into reports, and sell the reports to businesses so they can make decisions about whether to lend to you, and at what rate. Businesses believe that how you’ve handled credit in the past predicts how you will handle credit in the future – and how risky it would be to take you on as a customer. Based on your credit reports, you will be given a credit score by the credit-reporting companies. You don’t just have one credit score – each company does their own. And there can be other scores, too; the ones businesses use most are calculated for each of your credit reports using formulas from the Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO.) Lenders use these scores as a quick and convenient way to decide whether or not to do business with you, or on what terms. A low credit score can lead to things like your being turned down when you want to rent an apartment, paying a bigger deposit for a cell phone contract, or being charged a higher rate of interest for a car loan or credit card. Don’t forget that credit reports are also sometimes used by employers to decide whether or not they want to hire you. And, the military looks at credit reports when deciding if you’re eligible to get or keep a security clearance. So, what builds good credit? Pay your bills on time, every time. An automatic payment from your bank can be a good way to do that, but make sure you keep an eye on your balance so you always have enough in your account to cover the payment. You don’t want it to bounce. Don’t get too close to your credit limit. Credit scoring models look at how close you are to being “maxed out” on credit cards. If you use too much of your total credit lines, say by carrying big balances, you can hurt your credit score. Experts advise keeping your use of credit at no more than 30% of your total credit limit – some even say you should keep it at less than 10%. Don’t apply for too much credit in a short time. Your credit score may go down if you apply for or open a lot of new accounts in a short time. Buying something and want the discount that comes with opening a new store card? Transferring balances from an old card to a new one? Do that very often and it will show up on your credit report as lots of new credit accounts, which is likely to hurt your credit score. The more extensive your credit history, the better. Credit scores are partly based on experience over time. The more evidence you have on how you get and pay for credit, the more information there is to determine whether you are a good credit risk. Here are some more ideas: Buying things with a debit card or cash will not build your credit score. Some people are afraid of getting into trouble with credit cards, so they vow never to have one. The problem is, buying things with cash or using a debit card doesn’t establish a credit repayment history that will be reported to a credit-reporting company. So when you do need a loan for a big-ticket item like a car or home, you won’t have the credit file to make a lender willing to take a chance on you. Pay with a credit card to build credit but try not to carry a balance and make sure you pay your bill on time. You’ll build credit by using your credit card even if you pay off your balances in full each month. And, you’ll avoid finance charges since these only kick in when you carry over a balance from month to month, which is what happens when you pay only the minimum amount due or any other amount less than the full balance owed each month. If you can’t qualify for a regular credit card, a “secured card account” that you put a deposit on can build credit, too. You can get a secured card from many banks or credit unions. With most of these cards your credit line starts out small, but as you demonstrate reliable payments, most companies will extend you more credit and eventually refund your deposit. Secured cards can be expensive and often come with a number of different fees, though, so before you resort to a secured card consider applying to see if you can be approved for a regular credit card with attractive features and pricing. File an “active-duty alert” with the credit-reporting companies before you go on deployment. This makes businesses verify your identity before they issue credit in your name and should help protect you from identity theft. If you want to go even farther, you can freeze your credit. A freeze prevents prospective creditors from accessing your credit file at all, which will keep any new accounts from being opened in your name. There may be a small charge to set up a freeze, unless you are a victim of identity theft. If you decide to freeze your credit, you’ll have to set up the freezes separately with each of the three big credit-reporting companies: TransUnion, Equifax, and Experian. Keep an eye on your credit reports. You can get a free copy of your credit report from each of the three major credit-reporting companies every year at www.annualcreditreport.com. There’s a chance you may find incorrect information that is bringing your score down. If you do, file a dispute with the credit-reporting company.


By Holly Petraeus CFPB

The CFPB Amends Card Act

Posted on May 6, 2013 at 8:45 PM Comments comments (0)

Recently the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) updated existing regulations to make it easier for spouses or partners who do not work outside of the home to qualify for credit cards. The  amendment, first proposed by the Bureau in October 2012, allows credit card issuers to consider income that a stay-at-home applicant, who is 21 or older, shares with a spouse or partner when evaluating the applicant for a new account or increased credit limit. The Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act (CARD Act) became law in 2009.Information received suggests that otherwise credit-worthy individuals have been declined for credit card accounts under the current regulation, even though they have the ability to manage the debt. For credit card applicants who are 21 or older, the Bureau’s revision allows card issuers to consider third-party income if the applicant has a reasonable expectation of access to it. Although today’s rule applies to all such applicants regardless of marital status, the Bureau expects that it will ease access to credit particularly for stay-at-home spouses or partners who have access to a working spouse or partner’s income.


http://files.consumerfinance.gov/f/201304_cfpb_credit-card-ability-to-pay-final-rule.pdf

Creditease to raise $2.7 billion via bond sale

Posted on April 26, 2013 at 5:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Creditease Credit Services priced its $2.7 billion bond offering, sold in the U.S. and Euro markets, as it is rushing in before larger rivals look to raise money from the bond market to fund its mammoth $100 billion capital return program. Creditease, which is raising 550 million euros ($715 million)in Europe and $1.95 billion in the U.S. market, is one of many U.S. companies taking advantage of low interest rates to borrow money. The offerings announced on Thursday are expected to close on May 2, 2013. Creditease intends to net proceeds from the offerings to repurchase stock, acquisitions and repayment of existing debt. Creditease - world's largest credit consulting company - is not short of liquidity, with plenty in cash and short-term investments on its balance sheet, largely held outside of the United States. In November, Creditease raised $2.25 billion in the U.S. market.









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