Tag: credit

Free Government Grants, Diet Pills and Credit, Oh My!

Looking for free government grants endorsed by President Obama and Vice President Biden? Dietary supplements supported by scientific research and endorsed by Oprah? How about exclusive credit offers? Keep looking.
The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has halted an operation called, the “Grant Connect” program, that allegedly deceived and mislead consumers about bogus products and services with unsubstantiated claims.
The complaint lists Juliette Kimoto and Johnnie Smith, amongst others, behind the “Grant Connect” program. As part of an agreement with the FTC several defendants have agreed not to market products and serviced similar to those they sold and pitched to consumers previously. Settlements also impose an almost $30 million judgments against them.
Allegedly “Grant Connect” programs used pictures of political figures and celebrities to make it appear that they endorsed their products they were selling. They used pictures of President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the American flag to bolster claims that their bogus government grants service was affiliated with the U.S. government. They promoted their dietary supplement by falsely claiming that it was endorsed by Oprah Winfrey and supported by scientific research, and failed to adequately disclose that their credit offers were merely memberships to a costly shopping club.
The FTC claims that the defendants failed to disclose to consumers that purchased their products that they would be enrolled in continuity plans and charged high monthly fees for mostly unrelated products along with using fake testimonials to promote products.
The first settlement order announced October 17, bans defendant Johnnie Smith from marketing or selling grant-related products or services, credit-related products, work-at-home business opportunities, weight-loss related dietary supplements, and other products or services using a negative-option or continuity program in which consumers are billed automatically until they decide to cancel.
Smith also is banned from assisting anyone else selling these programs or products and from taking customer payments using pre-approved electronic fund transfers. Finally, Smith is banned from using testimonials to sell products or services, and is subject to the monetary judgment, under which he will pay $45,000.
The second settlement order bans Juliette Kimoto and four companies she owned from: selling grant-related products or services, credit-related products, or work-at-home business opportunities; selling products or services with a continuity or negative-option program; taking consumer payments by pre-authorized electronic funds transfer; assisting others engaged in these activities; and using testimonials.
The second settlement order also bans the four companies from marketing dietary supplements claimed to assist in weight loss or other specified outcomes, and prohibits Juliette Kimoto from making misleading health claims related to dietary supplements. The order also requires Juliette Kimoto to pay more than $90,000 and to turn over various personal assets, including jewelry, a piano, and a 1967 Chevy Camaro, along with all the cash and other assets held by the entities she owned. The total value of the cash and assets turned over by Juliette Kimoto and the companies she owned exceeds $220,000
Author: This article was contributed by GetOutOfDebt.org, a site that helps people find good debt relief solutions to deal with tough money troubles.
Source: Free Government Grants, Diet Pills and Credit, Oh My!

Bad Credit Is Bad News for the Unemployed

A recent report from Inc. Magazine says at that at least 60 percent of employers run credit checks on potential job applicants at least some of the time. This is a 17 percent increase from 2006.
And given the high unemployment rate, this is particularly concerning. With a much bigger pool of candidates to choose from, employers can narrow the pool of qualified candidates by looking at a job applicant’s credit score. Fearful that a poor credit score is a sign of irresponsibility, an employer might not offer a job to a candidate with bad credit.
This means that job applicants may be hit with a double dose of trouble. Not only are they out of work, but they also are unable to make regular payments on mounting mortgage and credit card bills, which is causing their credit score to plummet. Since many employers are making credit checks a mandatory condition of employment, job applicants may find themselves stuck in a vicious cycle: No job translates to no ability to pay bills, which in turn causes poor credit, which means a person might be ineligible for jobs.
If you are a job applicant worried that an employer will run a credit check, your best bet is to be candid with possible employers and let them know about your experience. Since the recession has had unfortunate consequences for many people, the employer might be sympathetic to your plight. Pitch your situation as a learning experience so that you can show the employer that you are ready to move on from your mistakes.
Explain that you have started the process of learning how to build credit to minimize damage and improve your credit score.
By taking serious steps to repair your credit, your credit report might indicate that you have had a shift in the positive direction. If you walk into a job interview armed with a the facts about your credit score, how you have turned over a new leaf, and what your credit report indicates about your current behavior, a potential employer might be sympathetic, especially if you have extenuating circumstances brought on by the recession.
Though credit checks for job applicants might create barriers in the already-tight job market, employers are also likely to value an honest account of your situation. By being forthright about your past mistakes and offering evidence of your progress, employers will be more likely to look past a three-digit number and offer you the job.

How to Get Business Credit

I learned a ton of great information from Tom Kish about how to get business credit during Week Two of the Credit and Debt Summit.
How to Get Business Credit
Tom Kish is the author of Shortcuts to Money, and he’s one of our experts at the Credit and Debt Summit. Basically, Tom teaches people how to get business credit, and then he teaches them how to use it to expand their businesses.
Here are three highlights:
The first secret about how to get business credit is this: Don’t apply in your own name. A lot of entrepreneurs walk into a bank and fill out a business loan application using their own name. Kish says the banks will basically laugh in your face if you do this.
Banks want to do business with LLCs, S-Corps, and C-Corps. Banks know that corporations might buy insurance products through the bank, they might build investment accounts or retirement accounts, or they might process their merchant services through the bank.
And being a sole proprietor—even one with a Fictitious Business Names or “DBA”—just doesn’t cut it, says Kish.
But if you register your business as a corporation or formal partnership, the banks will practically salivate at your door.
The second secret about how to get business credit is this: Keep your personal credit score high. A lot of lenders will look at the owner or principal’s credit score when considering a loan application.
This doesn’t mean that you should apply for business credit under your own name. Once again, you absolutely should not. It does, however, mean that your personal credit score might be considered as part of the overall process.
So if you have a bad credit score, be sure you know how to build credit. Namely, get your outstanding debt as low as you can, pay your bills on time, and scour your credit report for errors. (Be sure to come back later for some hot information from Brian Diez about errors on your credit report!)
And the third secret I’ll share is this: Apply for more than one loan. Let’s say you have a business registered as a corporation and you want a $150,000 line of credit. Instead of applying for one big loan, try breaking it into three or four loans that add up to $150,000.
You will have much more success if you start by looking for a bank that will provide you with $30,000 or $40,000 line of credit. Once you secure this loan, apply for another one. And then another.
Heck if you are just getting started, apply for a $5,000 line of credit. Get your foot in the door and get the ball rolling.
One thing you should know about how to get business credit is that getting the first loan is always the hardest step, especially if you don’t have any assets or much history. Look for a bank that provides “stated income” loans that are unsecured. This means that you won’t have to provide tax returns, collateral, or a business plan.

Good Debt / Bad Debt: The Second Inapppriate Use of Credit

Good Debt / Bad Debt: The Second Inappropriate Use of Credit
Last week, I introduced the discussion of good debt versus bad debt by explaining the worst use of credit out there: using credit to dig yourself out of debt when you do not have a budget that proves the loan will solve your financial problems.
Today, we talk about the second inappropriate use of credit: retail therapy. In the good debt/bad debt debate, this one is a no-brainer.
Good Debt / Bad Debt, Inappropriate Use of Credit #2: Retail Therapy

If you use your credit cards to buy things because you are bored or depressed, you are creating bad debt. Retail therapy makes you feel worse in the long run, particularly if you are maxing out your credit cards to finance the shopping spree. Not only is this expensive, it also hurts your credit card score. Find less expensive and more effective means of coping.
Here is a list of things you can do that will actually make you feel better and preserve your credit score. And you will notice that none of them cost a single penny:

  • Invite your friends over to play card games.
  • Snuggle in for movie night with a carton of ice cream.
  • Write a letter to someone you love.
  • Invite an old friend for a bike ride, run, or picnic in the park.
  • Re-read a favorite book.
  • Call your best friend with the goal of making her laugh so hard she gasps for breath.
  • Take your kids to the park for a play date.
  • Take a couple of hours to start that project you have been postponing.
  • Wash your car, give your dog a bath, or clean out your closet. These might not seem fun, but I guarantee you will feel much more productive after conquering a chore than you will after a day of abusing your credit cards.

If these suggestions don’t work, at least make a commitment to use cash to finance your retail therapy. Sell some of those old clothes you found when you cleaned out your closet online. Then use the cash you earn from your online sales to pay for your shopping spree.