bookmark_borderBank Fraud Defense

banks and customers of these banks are being cheated out of large amounts of money.

This criminal offense is often times committed by “white-collar” criminals. To commit the offense without getting caught, will take initial money as well as other resources. If successful at taking money from banks, individuals engaging in this type of fraud can secure large amounts of money.

Bank fraud includes a variety of criminal activities and the charges that may be made against an individual vary. Making up a false identity may be a successful way of hiding or obtaining money, but it is also easily identified by a bank’s security team. Check fraud, embezzlement of funds, and forging someone else’s signature can lead to bank fraud accusations. Bribing bank employees or others to commit this offenses is a serious form of fraud.

If an individual participates in fraud and is convicted of the offense, they could face harsh consequences. Years of fines or jail time may be given to the offender. However, not all people that are looking at these charges are guilty or deserve the sentences.

If innocent of fraud accusations, a criminal defense attorney can greatly aid in the ability to prove the innocence of an individual. Even if the crime was committed, often times the circumstances can be misread by the courts leading to unfair sentencing.

bookmark_borderCreditors To Avoid

Problem creditors may have trouble with their mindsets or their actions. Examples of mindset problems include believing their judgment is guaranteed, or worth big cash upfront, or recovery should happen in a few weeks, or that enforcers should only keep 10% of whatever gets recovered, or that courts favor creditors. Such points of view are a waste of time that mean the creditor will probably not recover a dime.

Problem judgment creditor actions fall into two categories, the first is when the creditor is attempting to recover the judgment by themselves. Problem creditors may break one or more of the hundreds of laws protecting debtors (and privacy); and problem creditors might get sued, or denied by a court or a sheriff.

The other problem creditor category is when they outsource their judgment to a recovery expert. The rest of this article discusses creditor outsourcing problems.

The average judgment recovery is in chunks of money, and each chunk comes after months or even years. This is usually not the fault of the judgment experts. Many judgments have poor debtors, and will never be recovered.

When the debtor has some assets; usually, it takes a long time to discover those assets, perhaps a long time for the court to issue a writ, a wait for the sheriff or a process server to serve it, then a long time before the sheriff mails out a check.

The number one problem judgment recovery experts have with creditors is when they hyperactively and repetitively contact them. Examples include calling more often than once every three months or emailing more often than once per month.

Another problem is when creditors attempt to find enforcers for expired judgments, UCC liens (which are not judgments), or judgments where the debtor is unknown, has successfully went bankrupt, or a company that long ago went out of business.

Another problem is when creditors will not sign anyone’s paperwork. Because judgments are legal documents, every judgment recovery expert will require a contract, and perhaps also an assignment of judgment. Some creditors search for years, rejecting contract after contract.

bookmark_borderKeep Credit Cards Secure

Under Federal law a company must notify its customers when it learns of a credit card security breach and the extent. Many companies will provide free credit monitoring for a certain period of time if you have been compromised. If you have been notified that your credit or debit card has been stolen you should immediately call your credit card company or bank and ask them cancel that card and issue another one. Then you should set up your credit monitoring and check it often.

Above is an example of massive theft, but you should also be aware of day to day ways that your credit or debit card information can be stolen.

  • Gas stations-“skimmers” are used to steal your credit or debit card numbers
  • Restaurants-when your server takes your card for payment they will usually go somewhere outside of your sight
  • ATMs-skimmers are also used along with someone who will visually try and get pin number

Those are just a few ways to get you thinking. If your card is stolen, the bad guys can go on to compromise your identity “Identify Theft”, which is very serious. With your card, they have your name, they can go to social media and find out where you live, your address and all kinds of other information.

Shopping on-line is actually safer, because you card is never out of your control, you never give it to someone, and all your card information is encrypted from your computer to the card processor. You should also consider using a credit card instead of a debit card when shopping on line. With a debit card the merchant has your money from your account, in most cases, before you even get the product. If there is a problem you can contest it, but it might be a while before you see that money in your account again. With a credit card if you put something into dispute you don’t pay that bill until the credit card company investigates.

bookmark_borderLure of Easy Money

Society and its priorities change with the seconds of the change in time. Whereas morality and integrity were of utmost significance at a time in an obscure past, the priority of society, today, is amassing heaps of wealth. One may question, why not? If, having more zeros after a figure in your bank statement, surely, means having a greater influence and a vaster dominion over the world, then why are you playing the guilty conscience card on us?

Well, but, I say, wasn’t it us, in the first place, to form a direct proportion between wealth and influence in the world? You, seriously, cannot tell me that this is how it has been since time immemorial! About time we embarked on some insightful journey, wouldn’t you say?

If money was really directly proportional to influence, then the exemplary case of the second caliph of Islam, Umar ibn al-Khattab r. a., for instance, would be a scientific anomaly!

It was in 637 AD that after a prolonged siege of Jerusalem, the Muslims finally took the city. While Heraclius, the Byzantine Emperor, had fled, Sophronius, the Greek Orthodox patriarch, surrendered the city on the condition that no one was to be harmed. The terms were observed and the patriarch gave the key to the city to Umar ibn al-Khattab r.a.

Umar r. a. entered Jerusalem, to sign the peace treaty, with humbleness, walking in by foot alongside his servant who was comfortably being conveyed by a camel. Umar r. a. and the servant had been travelling by foot and on the camel in turns (Muir: 135).

When Sophronius met the Ameer-ul-Mo’mineen, Umar r.a., one of the most influential men in the history of Islam and the rest of the world, he was dressed in his travel-stained battle tunic, while Sophronius was attired in sumptuous robes. Sophronius was very surprised to find the Commander of the Muslim world dressed in anything but royal clothes and even questioned Umar r.a. about the simplicity of his apparel, to which he replied that Allah SWT doesn’t “demand extravagance”.

The Patriarch then explained that he did not wear all the regalia to adorn himself but to ‘check the confusion and anarchy in the world’ and he was “God’s office”. In other words, for the sake of appearances, he had to portray in his dressing that he was a representative of God. It is, indeed, the concept of appearances that has confused us as to what influence is in actuality. That confusion has, consequently, led to forgetting the reason behind the creation of lofty appearances earlier in time, even if it was a result of flawed thinking.

Sam Polk, a former hedge-fund trader and founder of a non-profit organisation, Groceryships, brilliantly scrutinized the reality of the addictive rat race of amassing money in a New York Times article saying that the money-spawning Wall Street, in reality, is “a toxic culture that encourages the grandiosity of people who are desperately trying to feel powerful”.

Thus, today, the focus of our society has been reduced merely to the goal of generating easy money. Money that is easily earned does not worry about the path or means chosen for reaping it. Every professional field has ample of evidence with this regard, in fact, every professional field has become an example of this problem.

Whether it is a doctor prescribing extra medications or recommending unnecessary laboratory tests to earn extra commission; or a judge ‘fixing’ a case with a politically influential defendant in return for a nomination to be elected to the District Court; or even a teacher passing a failing student, who goes to his/her house for private tuitions; or the role of media in selectively portraying jigsaws of a scenario that misrepresents the entire picture of truth to please governments and ruling powers of the world; the evil of easy money tempts and ensnares us with its shiny traps in every sphere and every nook and corner of our lives.

Deep down everyone knows between right and wrong. Every one of us feels a pang of guilt when we are about to board the bus leading to bribery, dishonesty, greed, et cetera. The effects of friction between our conscience and our choice are terser, initially. However, with time and continuality, the friction smoothens out and choosing a wrong, but an easier path, to our goals doesn’t seem to disconcert us.

In fact, calculated steps are taken by big businesses and governments to erase the divide between what is the right or wrong method and/or means of earning an honest livelihood, as it, ultimately, means expansion and prosperity for them in this chain reaction. So is the case with Islamic finance and the concept of Sukuk – Sharee’ah bonds.

A conventional bond is a certificate which, as per the terms set, when once bought from the issuer requires the issuer to pay the holder of the bond the face value in addition to the agreed amount of interest when it reaches maturity, or to pay other benefits, such as prizes given by drawing lots, or payment of a fixed amount, or any rebate. It is an asset-based investment, where the holder of the bond, strictly, does not have ownership of any tangible assets associated with the investment they made, save the certificate.

According to the Islamic Fiqh Council, having any kind of dealing with bonds of the above stated terms is haraam (forbidden) no matter whom it is issued by and no matter what name it is given as a disguise, according to the Sharee’ah (Islamic law), because they are riba-based loans, and riba (interest) is haraam in Islam.

The reason why Islam strictly forbids dealing in interest in any arrangement is because it is deemed an exploitation. In Islam, if a person contributes towards the capital of any business, they should be entitled to ownership of the associated assets and an equal bearer of the profits and loss of the assets they are backing.

There have been Muslims, who, despite knowing that interest is forbidden in Islam, have voluntarily dealt in it, because of the lure of easy money. However, there has been a great number of Muslims, who have consciously avoided going down this path, adhering strictly to their religious doctrines. This, evidently, was a big loss for banks and businesses that were interest-oriented. Therefore, to include that large section of the Muslim population that avoided dealing in interest-based money, the big fish in the world of finance, came up with the idea of “Islamicizing” banks and other concomitant businesses, and as a result, bonds, too.

What started off with a façade of a sincere attempt at creating Islamic banks, which was a huge success among the Muslim masses, very soon overtly degenerated into the capitalist pothole. The only difference that remains today betwixt common banks and Islamic banks is the inclusion and/or exclusion of the term Islamic. The products on offer at Islamic banks are the same that are offered by a conventional bank, barring the difference in English and Arabic terminology.

Semantics does not really qualify as a stamp of religious approval and, frankly, accounts to nothing. A spade is a spade no matter what colour it comes in. The fact is that 97% of the world’s money is intangible, created not by the governments, but by banks when loans are made. That money is only visible in our bank statements. Therefore, if banks were creating Islamic finance products, it obviously was not going to be based on tangible cash, as it only existed in electronic form.

Correspondingly, Sukuk (bonds) are also one of the concomitant features of “Islamic” banking and have been extensively endorsed by many Islamic banks. The market of Sukuk has rapidly augmented in recent years with a net worth of billions of dollars. So much so, that CNBC called the year 2014 as the year of Sukuk bonds.

Traditionally, what differentiated Sukuk (bonds) from conventional bonds was that the buyer of Sukuk became its legal owner of a portion of an/some asset sold by the issuer. The buyer is then allowed to rent that portion of the asset(s) to the issuer.

Consequently, the assets should be tangible, with physical substance rather than an intangible asset. Perceptibly, this concept is much more secure than that of the conventional bond dealing with electronic money – a substitute for hard cash.

It was not that the concept of Sukuk was drastically different than conventional bonds that made it such a hit, but, predominantly, the fact that they were backed by religious scholars that ignited its phenomenal growth. Since Sukuk issuers did not follow this traditional concept but a tweaked concept of Sukuk bonds, where the buyer does not get ownership of the assets that he/she buys. The namesake Sukuks were just as intangible as the conventional bonds, which is in violation of the Sharee’ah.

bookmark_borderAbout Retirement

That might be enough if your mortgage is paid off and you are in excellent health when you leave your employer for good. But if you plan to vacation around the world, build your dream home, or get that RV you’ve always wanted, you may need substantially more than 70% of your pre-retirement annual net salary.

It’s critical to be realistic and make realistic estimates about what kind of expenses you will have in retirement. Understand how you want to live in retirement and how much it will cost. These estimates are important when it comes time to figure out how much you need to save in order to afford your retirement.

Full retirement age had been 65 for many years. However, beginning with people born in 1938 or later, that age gradually increases until it reaches 67 for people born after 1959. By the way, the earliest a person can start receiving Social Security retirement benefits will remain at age 62 according to the Social Security Administration.

Life expectancy in the USA rose in 2012 to 78.8 years according to USA Today.

With this in mind, you will need $28,000 each year for 11.8 years (age 78.8 – age 67 = 11.8 years) in order to maintain your current lifestyle during retirement.

So, by the age of 67, you should have $330,400 in retirement savings ($28,000 * 11.8). This is considering you won’t invest your money after reaching age 67. Most people will keep their money “close to home” in a money market savings account, money market CD, or municipal bonds that are very secure. These investment vehicles offer extremely low returns but are among the safest ways to continue grow your nest egg during your retirement years.

Health care is often the biggest expense in retirement as well as the hardest expense to predict. According to a survey released by Merrill Lynch and the research firm Age Wave, health care expenses were the top financial concern in retirement for people over the age of 50. Survey respondents said they were more worried about health care costs than they were about Social Security or the risk of running out of money.

Another finding from the survey is that more than half of retirees retired earlier than they expected, and the number one reason for their early retirement was a health-related problem.

The study found that, regardless of wealth level, health care expenses rank as the most pressing financial concern in retirement (41 percent), exceeding even the fear of outliving one’s money (29 percent). In fact, people age 50+ are nearly twice as worried about the cost of retirement health care as they are about the actual quality of care they might receive.

“Health challenges can be a double threat to retirement financial security,” said David Tyrie, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Between unpredictable and costly health care expenses and unexpected early retirement due to health problems, planning ahead can be confusing and overwhelming. People are increasingly seeking guidance to help them make informed decisions, for themselves and their families.”

The majority of retirees surveyed (55 percent) retired earlier than they had expected, while 38 percent retired when they planned to, and just 7 percent later than they expected. Although early retirement has often been equated with financial success, today’s retirees age 50+ cite health problems as the top reason (37 percent).

According to the study, people are more concerned about the financial impact of a spouse’s serious illness (66 percent) than they are about their own illness (62 percent). Women, who are likely to live longer and more apt to spend down savings on their spouse’s health care, are even more concerned than men (70 percent vs. 62 percent) about the financial impact of their spouse developing a serious health problem. The study also finds that many people age 50+ anticipate they would help other family members facing health problems and health care costs. This may be one reason why people’s concerns about how to plan for health care costs include potential health problems of their children (50 percent), parents (32 percent) and siblings (29 percent).

You may want to spend some time with online retirement calculators to determine whether you are on target for your retirement goal (or what your goal should be in some cases.)

bookmark_borderOnline Bill Payment

What is the best reason to choose online bill payments? First of all, you can save time and money when paying late fees and postage. It is also actually safer than paying through mail. Personal information is at risk of falling into the wrong hands when it is printed on paper and goes through the whole postal system. Besides, you can manage your finances more easily when paying bills using your credit card. Furthermore, you can even save cash rewards and airline travel miles whenever you use it.

When you pay your bills online, you will save on the use of paper, doing your share in preserving Mother Earth.

Perhaps the greatest advantage of using online bill payments is getting rid of all the paper sent to your billing address. There will be less mail and envelopes to open and discard. Now, you can receive all your billing statements and reminders in your email inbox. Your service providers and banks will ask if you would like them to email your bills and reminders. They will gladly send your bill through electronic mail. This means less trash in your home and less paper in the landfills. With fewer paper bills, less fuel and energy will be spent on processing, printing, mailing and transporting. When it comes to environmental benefits, online bill payment is a sure winner because of the practical solutions it presents.

Another reason to go for online bill payment is to save money. Since you will no longer mail your checks, you will not spend on stamps. On the other hand, companies also save a lot on online transactions since less money will be spent on processing, printing, mailing, then transporting. This system works more to their advantage and they get more savings, which they would gladly share to their clients, in terms of lower fees.

Paying your bills online allows you to manage your finances and counter in one take. Online bill payment may be a daunting task to some individuals who are not organized or fond of high-tech gadgets. They would rather pay in check or get their paper bills inside the mailbox. However, there is nothing simpler than paying bills on the Internet. Certainly, it may take some time to set up, but afterwards, they are done. Once they get the hang of it, they will no longer go back to the old habit and get worried about late fees or losing their mail in their large pile of trash.

bookmark_borderDon’t Get Taken Advantage of With a Loan

Don’t be so focused on getting the money through poor credit installment loans that you fail to see the overall cost of it. Use free online calculators to aid you with seeing the big picture. Think about how long it is going to take for you to pay it off and what that last dollar amount will be.

Compare offers so you can get the lowest possible interest. You can compare them before you give any application. Being well informed only takes a small window of time. It can help you to get the money with the best possible terms. It can help you avoid a sticky situation where you regret ever borrowing.

As you can imagine, poor credit installment loans are going to cost you more in the end due to the risk. You may have to accept that now and then work hard to improve your credit. In the future, that could mean a loan with far less interest and costs attached to it. For now though you will need to do what you must to get that money. Find the best offer for your needs.

Always ask questions and ask for all the details of poor credit installment loans offers to be put into writing. You need to avoid predatory lenders who talk fast and twist it all around. They are often right there on that fence where the line is between being legal and being unethical. They have enough loopholes to cover themselves but enough leeway to take advantage of you.

If you don’t like the answers you get or they are evasive, find another lender. Don’t assume when you need poor credit installment loans that you only have one shot at it. There are many lenders out there willing to give you a chance to prove you are credible and you will pay back that money. This may be the only solution for you now so embrace it.

Sometimes, lenders of poor credit installment loans will offer you more money than you ask for. It can be very tempting to take that money to pay other bills or to have some fun. The problem with that though is you have to pay high interest on that money. It is best to find what you need and stick to only that amount. You will pay it off faster and get back on track.

Make sure you can pay back the money each month on time. When possible, pay extra so you can see that balance going down and down. The more you pay above your required payment, the more of it goes to the principal. This can be a great way to borrow if you do your research.

bookmark_borderRead Goal Directional Signs

You have been guilty of procrastinating on the steps in your goal plan. You write to-do lists for all your unfinished tasks, but never seem to get around to carrying them out. You keep resetting the timeline on your goal end date, making excuses why you have not moved further along.

The ‘No Parking’ sign admonishes you for wasting precious time when you should be working on your objectives. Stop deceiving yourself; your laziness is only going to kill your dreams. Revive yourself from your stupor, rev up your engine, and restart your journey immediately.

You have been travelling easily along a straight road, as the first steps in your action plan were simple and uncomplicated. However, you have reached a new point in your journey where you need to make a big decision that could determine the ultimate failure or success of your plans.

The ‘Intersection Ahead’ sign indicates that you need to take some time to make prudent choices about your next actions. You may need to seek guidance from expert sources, or carry out additional research to obtain all the information required to decide which way to turn.

You have been racing along your journey, revelling in the initial victories from your efforts. You are getting a little overconfident, boasting to everyone how easy it will be to attain your objectives. Your arrogance is leading you to make poor decisions that could potentially wreck your plans.

The ‘Reduce Speed’ sign warns you that haste makes waste when you are working on long-term goals, as there are no shortcuts to success. There are major pitfalls ahead, which your excessive speed and inexperience will prevent you from seeing. Proceed with caution in all your actions.

You have been comfortably driving a big, smooth highway, but you’re not on the most effective route to arrive at your destination. You don’t want to leave your comfort zone to traverse a road that is unknown to you, so you prefer to continue in your current direction.

The ‘Detour’ sign informs you that you need to take a different course if you eventually want to reach your objective. You have to be courageous enough to experience unfamiliar new pathways, and be willing to learn and grow from any challenges that may come your way.

Your route has taken you to a stretch of roadway that is filled with hidden dangers. Although the passage seems clear, at any point in time a major risk could appear which could severely derail your progress or even put an end to your entire journey.

The ‘Look Out for Falling Rocks’ sign alerts you to be on the lookout for probable hazards that are common to the goals that you are pursuing. You need to implement risk- mitigation strategies that will help you to avoid or recover from a negative event that comes with the territory.

bookmark_borderCredit Bureaus

Credit bureaus are privately held, billion dollar companies whose main purpose is to make money, that’s what for-profit companies do right? They store data that lenders furnish them – whether accurate or inaccurate – about our credit relationship with them and sell it. Simple right? This simple business model generates over $4 Billion a year!

One source of income for them comes from selling the information on our credit reports to other lenders, employers, insurance companies, credit card companies – and whoever else you authorize to view your credit information. Not only do they provide them with raw data; but they also sell them different ways of analyzing the data to determine the risk of extending credit to us. In addition to selling our information to lenders they also sell our information to us – credit scores, credit monitoring services, fraud protection, identity theft prevention – interestingly enough this area has quickly become one of their biggest sources of income. And those pre-approved offers in our mailbox every week; or junk mail? Yep, they got our information from the credit bureaus too. Companies subscribe to a service provided by the three credit bureaus that sell them a list of consumer’s credit information that fit a pre-determined criteria.

Now, contrary to popular belief, credit bureaus do not have any input on whether you should be approved for a loan or not; that is purely based on the credit criteria of the lender you’re working with. However, by using all of the information that has been placed on your credit report (payment history, personal information, and credit habits) and FICO’s method of scoring that data, they do provide them with how creditworthy you are.

This is why it’s so important to ensure that the information they are reporting is accurate. It would be nice if they would do their job according to the Fair Credit Reporting Act and make sure they have proof that the information they are storing is true and up-to-date – after all those inaccuracies could cost you $1,000s – but that won’t happen. Thus the burden of ensuring accuracy is on YOU. You are responsible for catching errors; they could care less if it’s wrong and they hate it even more when we challenge this inaccurate information by disputing it. Why? Because it’s time consuming and time is money. Remember, I said they’re main purpose is to make money? Credit bureaus store more than 200 million files on consumers; do you know how much money (time) it would take to ensure that everything is accurate and to store proof of accuracy?

We’ve seen the statistics; I have 2 videos that show proof of consumers having inaccurate information on their reports, the credit reporting agencies knowing this and still refusing to correct it! The latest statistic shows that more than 40,000,000 Million Americans are walking around with errors on their credit reports right now. I personally think this number is off; I’ve honestly never seen a credit report that was 100% accurate; like NEVER. Now you may say, well you work with people with bad credit so of course you see the worst of the worst, right? WRONG! I’ve been a Realtor for 12 years and I’ve seen people with great credit have errors as well. What’s my point? Hmm, how can I put this?