EMPLOYMENT CREDIT CHECK IS LIKE A SCHOOL BULLY

credit, credit check, credit score, credit risk, credit report, credit rating, employment credit check, starting over starting now, trusteeCan the employment credit check beat you up?  We previously discussed whether bad credit could hurt your job search. Now we know that an employment credit check certainly can. Even though a credit score was designed to predict whether or not you’re a good credit risk when you apply for a loan, a credit card, mortgage, a car lease, etc., more often than not you now have to submit to an employment credit check when applying for a job. But, should a potential employer be allowed to check your credit score and not offer you a job if you have a low one?

It sounds punitive, doesn’t it? After all, how can anyone improve their credit score without a good paying job? “There’s a certain irony that the people who are most vulnerable and who most require access to jobs could be discriminated against because they have poor credit ratings,” said Murray Rowe Jr., president of Forrest Green, a Richmond Hill-based credit advisory group.

Several states in the U.S. agree. California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington have enacted measures limiting the use of credit reports and the employment credit check when determining whether a person is the right fit for a job. New York City recently announced that lawmakers are expected to pass a bill prohibiting employers from reviewing the credit histories of prospective workers. And, according to a New York-based think tank, the application of credit reports has moved far beyond their intended purpose.

The federal government of Canada doesn’t agree. In fact it recently introduced mandatory credit checks as part of a new security screening procedure for public servants. Two unions representing federal employees object to the employment credit check policy and call it an unnecessary invasion of privacy.

Regardless of where you stand on the issue of employment credit check, the one thing that we can all agree on is that serious financial issues can jeopardize more than your bank account. It’s very important to deal with your financial problems as soon as possible with the help of a professional trustee and to not let them bully you. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. today. Starting Over, Starting Now you can live a debt free life and have the confidence to apply for the job of your dreams.

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PAYDAY LOAN COMPANIES: ARE YOU INTO PAWN?

payday lenders, payday loan companies, payday loans, payday loan, pawn, starting over starting nowPayday loan companies are an industry that should be put out of business. We’ve discussed their unscrupulous operations in several of our previous blogs.

Governments in Canada and the United States have passed legislations aimed at cracking down on the industry, yet payday lenders continue to operate. In its latest move the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau in the U.S. has proposed new regulations designed to put payday loan companies out of business. The most damaging to the industry is the proposal to limit the number of loans per customer to six per year which is expected to hurt lending volumes and revenue by as much as 75%.

Payday loan companies that have substantial pawn operations are positioned to weather the storm and survive the new U.S. regulations while the smaller payday lenders will most likely disappear from the landscape. Is this better for the consumer? Absolutely! Payday loan companies take advantage of people who are seriously strapped for cash. They see a catchy ad and have no idea that their loan could be costing them almost 600% in annual interest. The consumer gets trapped into borrowing money they can’t hope to repay. A pawnbroker lends money against valuables. If you have something to pawn (typically jewelry), then you can walk away with some cash. At least the consumer isn’t being sucked in a borrowing cycle that will eat him alive.

If you’re considering a payday loan from one of the payday loan companies or a pawn shop, stop! You need professional financial help, not more debt. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. today. Starting Over, Starting Now you could be well on the road to financial health.

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CREDIT SCORE RATING: YOU HAVE A GREAT ONE BUT YOU WERE STILL REJECTED

credit score rating, credit score, credit scores, debt, credit, debt service ratio, small business loan, personal bankruptcy, bankruptcy, bankruptcy alternatives, starting over starting now

Credit score rating is an important part of what lenders look at when you apply for a loan, but it is not the only thing.  We all know that credit score rating  is used to determine your credit worthiness, but what you may not know is that your credit score rating is not the only factor used. Even with a great credit score rating, you may still be rejected when applying for credit. How is this possible?

In order to have a good credit score rating you must be able to show that you have the means to repay credit. However, your ability to repay credit may change depending on your income and your debt load. Using mathematical formulas, something called a debt service ratio (DSR) is calculated. Your DSR shows what percentage of your monthly income goes toward paying off debt. You may be managing your debt today, but if your DSR shows that with additional credit responsibilities you may have trouble meeting or managing your existing expenses, your credit application may be rejected. The same applies to an entrepreneur who’s looking to finance his/her small business with a small business loan. The credit worthiness of the individual has to be taken into account, as that’s who the lender is really loaning the money to, either directly or by way of a personal guarantee.

If you offer collateral as security in exchange for credit, the value of your collateral must be established. An asset that you think has great value may not be worth what you think it is in the eyes of the lender. Typically real estate and guaranteed investments are better forms of collateral than your jewelry, car, machinery or equipment.

Unfortunately many people are carrying too much debt but are fearful of the bankruptcy process, so they attempt to borrow more money in order to either consolidate their loans or for a specific need. Adding more debt is not the answer. Personal bankruptcy is an option, but not one to be feared. And, there are bankruptcy alternatives to be considered as well. Don’t run away from debt. Contact the Ira Smith team. We can help you deal with debt and Starting Over, Starting Now you can be well on your way to a debt free life

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ALTERNATIVES TO PERSONAL BANKRUPTCY: DON’T AVOID THE BANKRUPTCY DISCUSSION

bankruptcy, alternatives to personal bankruptcy, bankrupt, Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada, insolvent, lines of credit, credit score, trustee, starting over starting nowThankfully, there are alternatives to personal bankruptcy.  Say the word bankruptcy and people naturally recoil. I don’t know if there is more stigma attached to another word in the English language. In reality bankruptcy is not something to be ashamed of, it should not be avoided at all costs and it’s not a deep dark hole; it can be the light at the end of the tunnel. As with other alternatives to personal bankruptcy, it is an option. Let’s explore why avoiding bankruptcy can do more harm than good.

What is bankruptcy? Bankruptcy is incredibly misunderstood. According to the Office of the Superintendent of Bankruptcy Canada Bankruptcy is a legal process designed to relieve honest but unfortunate debtors of their debts. At the end of the process, the bankrupt is released from the obligation to repay the debts they had when the bankruptcy was filed (with some exceptions).

Why avoiding bankruptcy can do more harm than good: Although there are alternatives to personal bankruptcy which merit review, bankruptcy is often a good thing. A recent report by the Federal Reserve Bank of New York states:

  • People who filed bankruptcy had access to more new lines of credit than those who limped along in a poor financial state which clearly puts to rest the misconception that filing bankruptcy closes the door to new credit.
  • Those who didn’t file bankruptcy were described as insolvent.
  • The individuals who go bankrupt experience a sharp boost in their credit score after bankruptcy, whereas the recovery in credit score is much lower for individuals who do not go bankrupt
  • Insolvent individuals who do not go bankrupt exhibit more financial stress than those who do.

Are you insolvent and looking for solutions? The Ira Smith Team is here to offer alternatives to personal bankruptcy and bankruptcy help in Vaughan and throughout the GTA. Starting Over, Starting Now, Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. can help you overcome your financially difficulties. Contact us today.

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VICTIM OF IDENTITY THEFT: TAKE QUICK ACTION

identity theft, victim of identity theft, credit report, Equifax, TransUnion, credit bureaus, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, CAFC, starting over starting nowIn our last blog we discussed How to Prevent Identity Theft – Recognize if You’re a Victim. This week we’ll be discussing what to do if you are a victim of identity theft.

If you believe that you are a victim of identity theft, speed is of the essence. Take immediate action and keep a paper or electronic trail of your conversations and correspondence. Here is a check list of things that every victim of identity theft must do:

  • Review all of your bank and credit card statements with a fine tooth comb: Note all suspicious transactions and notify the bank and/or credit card company immediately. Close all compromised accounts. Have new bank cards/credit cards issued. Change all PIN numbers.
  • Review your credit report: Be on the lookout for any accounts that you didn’t open and for creditors who have made inquiries on your credit report when you didn’t ask for credit.
  • Close any accounts you didn’t open and decline any new accounts you didn’t request: Contact each of the creditors individually and explain that you’ve been a victim of identity theft.
  • Contact both major credit bureaus: Let them know you have been a victim of identity fraud and request that a Fraud Warning be placed on your credit file instructing creditors to contact you personally before opening new accounts in your name.
  • Equifax Canada
    1-800-465-7166
  • TransUnion Canada
    1-877-525-3823
  • Contact the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre (CAFC): Report your identity theft to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Center on their website or by calling 1-888-495-8501.The CACF is the central agency in Canada that collects information and criminal intelligence on all forms of mass marketing fraud, including advance fee fraud letters (e.g. West African fraud letters), Internet fraud, identity theft complaints and others.
  • Contact your local police: Report your identity theft to your local police. Be sure to advise them of any suspicious activity on your credit report. Make sure that you get a police report number.
  • Contact Canada Post: If you’re not receiving your usual mail, someone may have had your mail re-directed. Notify Canada Post of your identity fraud.
  • Contact your service providers: Report your identity theft to your service providers – Internet, cable, telephone, mobile phone, electricity, gas, water, etc.

If you are a victim of identity theft, debts have been incurred in your name and you are looking at your options in dealing with debt in general, you must now take that action too.  The Ira Smith Team is here to help. With immediate action and a solid financial plan you can be well on your way to Starting Over, Starting Now. Don’t delay! Contact us today!

 

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HOW TO PREVENT IDENTITY THEFT: RECOGNIZE IF YOU’RE A VICTIM

how to prevent identity theft, identity theft, credit report, collection agencies, data breach, trustee, insolvency, starting over starting now, Vaughan bankruptcy trusteeHow to prevent identity theft.  In our last blog we discussed Identity Theft: Are You at Risk? This week we’ll be discussing how to recognize if you’re a victim of identity theft.

The best way to know how to prevent identity theft, or at least minimize the impact of identity theft, is to recognize the signs early. Monitor your hard copy or online financial accounts frequently.  Check your credit report on a regular basis because unexpected changes to your credit information are often the first signs that you’ve been victimized by identity theft.

Knowing what to look for is how to prevent identity theft.  These are the signs that you are a victim of identity theft:

  • There are withdrawals from your bank account that you didn’t make.
  • Your regular bank or credit card statements fail to appear.
  • You notice that other mail is missing.
  • You receive credit card statements or other bills in your name, which you did not apply for.
  • Telephone calls or letters state that you have been approved or denied by a creditor that you never applied to.
  • Collection agencies call you about debts that aren’t yours.
  • A company that you have an account with had a data breach and your information was compromised.
  • You find accounts and/or charges on your credit report that aren’t yours.
  • You are denied a loan even though you believe that you have an excellent credit report.

How to prevent identity theft requires constant monitoring of the signs listed above.  If you’ve been a victim of identity theft, sadly we can’t turn back the clock; but if you’re in financial jeopardy as a result and you have collection agencies hounding you, we can help.

Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. is an insolvency and financial restructuring practice for individuals and companies in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) facing financial crisis. Our approach for every file is to create an outcome where Starting Over, Starting Now becomes a reality, beginning the moment you walk in the door. Contact us today, your Vaughan bankruptcy trustee, and put your financial problems behind you.

Watch for our next blog when we’ll be discussing Identity Theft – What To Do If You’re A Victim.

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IDENTITY THEFT: ARE YOU AT RISK?

identity theft, Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, Home Depot, Target, Canada Revenue Agency, malware, spyware, viruses, phishing, spear fishing, hackingIdentity theft is a hot topic these days and whether you realize it or not, you are at risk. Identify theft is on the rise and it can happen to anyone.

What is Identity Theft? According to the Canadian Anti-Fraud Centre, identity theft refers to the preparatory stage of acquiring and collecting someone else’s personal information for criminal purposes. As of January 8, 2010, Senate Bill S-4 became law, making it illegal to possess another person’s identity information for criminal purposes.

Who is at risk? In short, everyone is at risk. Identity theft is a threat to anyone who has a credit card, owns real estate, pays taxes, owns insurance… In the last year alone major retailers have had their payment systems hacked, compromising the personal information of millions of customers. Home Depot had 56 million cards compromised; Target had 40 million. Global News reported that there have been nearly 4,000 privacy and data breaches in federal departments over the last year or so. The worst offender was the Canada Revenue Agency.

How do thieves acquire someone else’s personal information? In addition to widespread data breaches, the classic examples of identity theft techniques are rummaging through people’s garbage and/or stealing their mail in order to obtain bank statements, credit card statements, driver’s license or healthcare card renewals – any piece of mail with personal information. Of course the Internet has allowed for much more sophisticated and elaborate forms of identity theft – malware, spyware, viruses, phishing, spear fishing and hacking are effective ways to collect personal information.

If you’re a victim of identity theft then no doubt you’re in the midst of some serious financial issues right now that require the help of a professional trustee. Contact the Ira Smith team as soon as possible. Financial problems can be solved given immediate action and the right plan. Starting Over, Starting Now you can be on the road to getting your old life back.

Watch for our next blog when we’ll be discussing Identity Theft – How to Recognize if You’re a Victim.

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40 PARK LANE CIRCLE, 44 PARK LANE CIRCLE TORONTO FOR SALE: ARE FINANCIAL PROBLEMS CONTAGIOUS?

40 Park Lane Circle, 44 Park Lane Circle Toronto for sale, 44 Park Lane Circle, 40 Park Lane Circle, debt, budget, collection agencies, trustee, financial plan, starting over starting now40 Park Lane Circle, 44 Park Lane Circle Toronto for sale: it seems that life in Toronto’s very exclusive Bridal Path is not always what it appears to be. We tend to categorize the people who own these properties as “the rich and famous” while in reality some of them are “not so rich and infamous”. Two Bridal Path properties have garnered quite a bit of attention – 40 Park Lane Circle which used to be owned by Mahvash Lechcier-Kimel and 44 Park Lane Circle which used to be owned by Norma Walton and Ronauld Walton.

Are financial problems contagious between 40 Park Lane Circle, 44 Park Lane Circle Toronto for sale or just the entire street? Of course not; but when you get caught up in a high flying Bridal Path lifestyle and have to support a massive property like 40 Park Lane Circle, 44 Park Lane Circle Toronto for sale, or any other property that the average person would describe as a mansion, it’s very easy to accumulate enormous amounts of debt, leaving you house rich and cash poor. And, if the spending is not controlled and the debts keep piling up it can be easy to lose everything.

A realistic and proper budget should be an important part of your life. It will keep you from overextending yourself while trying to keep up with your next door neighbours. Without a proper budget it’s very easy to get caught up in a cycle of overspending – bigger houses, faster cars, and exotic vacations. The lure of luxury is intoxicating, especially in the low interest rate environment we currently live in; but what happens when you wake up and find letters from creditors in the mail demanding payment?  How many of those demand letters do you think found their way to the mailboxes of 40 Park Lane Circle, 44 Park Lane Circle Toronto for sale?

So whether you are in over your head with debt due to the ownership of a massive property like 40 Park Lane Circle, 44 Park Lane Circle Toronto for sale or for other reasons, such as you’re living a lifestyle that you can’t afford and are being hounded by creditors and collection agencies, now’s the time to contact a professional trustee today. The Ira Smith team can set you back on a path to financial health with immediate action and a solid financial plan. Starting Over, Starting Now you can live a debt free life.

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DEATH OF A DEBTOR: WHO’S RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEBTS?

death of a debtor, paycheque to paycheque, debt, debts, trustee, student loans, financial disaster, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, Starting Over Starting NowWhen you think of death of a debtor, you can’t help but be reminded of Death of a Salesman, Arthur Miller’s Pulitzer Prize winning play written in 1949 and still timely today. The play was essentially an attack on the American dream of materialism as embodied by the central character, Willy Loman. His entire life he lived paycheque to paycheque, waiting for his big break that never came. All the while the debts kept piling up. One day Willy Loman was fired and as a result he took his own life leaving his family to deal with the death of a debtor.

From time to time, we are consulted regarding insolvent estates of deceased persons.

When the death of a debtor occurs, who is responsible for the debts?

  • Although some creditors may try to collect from the spouse or other family members, debts do not transfer by virtue of marriage or death unless the debt is “joint” in which case the survivor will be required to pay the balance of the account.
  • Debts are normally paid out of the assets of the estate of the deceased before distributions are made to heirs (before any money can be distributed to heirs, all the proven debts must be paid).
  • If the estate is insolvent (the assets of the estate are not sufficient to pay the debts), then the order of payment is normally prescribed by provincial legislation.
  • If warranted, the executors can make application to Bankruptcy Court for an order allowing them to assign the deceased’s estate into bankruptcy. In that event, then the Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act (Canada), the federal legislation, will prescribe the order of payment.
  • If there is no money in the estate to pay the debt and if the debt is only in the name of the deceased person, the credit grantor will be left with no option but to write off the debt as uncollectible.

Some debts may be extinguished upon the death of the debtor:

  • Insured mortgages
  • Insured loans
  • The Canada Student Financial Assistance Act provides for some student loans to be repaid by the federal government in the event of the student’s death or permanent disability.

Make sure you know and understand the state of your finances before you have to deal with death of a debtor. If you’re living from paycheque to paycheque and on the edge of financial disaster, contact a professional trustee today. The Ira Smith team can help you solve your financial problems with immediate action and the right plan so that Starting Over, Starting Now you can enjoy financial freedom.

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CANADIAN PARENTS PAYING STUDENT LOANS

Canadian parents paying student loans, student loans, bankruptcy, debt, trustee, starting over starting nowCanadian parents paying student loans is much more common than you’d think. That was never the plan. Your child was supposed to get a university degree with the help of student loans, graduate, land a good paying job and pay off their student loans. The reality of the situation is quite different. Firstly it’s a misconception that student loans cover the costs of a university degree. Student loans may cover a portion of tuition costs. Statistics Canada says undergraduate students paid an average of $5,772 in tuition fees in 2013 to 2014. But that average rises, depending on the field of study: law studies cost an average of $10,039 while undergraduate studies in dentistry cost $17,324 during that same year. This may seem manageable, but this only tells a small part of the story. When you factor in the costs of books, living expenses and transportation, according to a recent Bank of Montreal study the total current cost for an undergraduate university degree can exceed $80,000 and is expected to surpass $140,000 by the time a child born in 2014 is old enough to enroll.

The second misconception is that a university degree is a guarantee of a good paying job. The reality is that it’s a very competitive market out there and many students aren’t making enough to repay student loans. Instead Canadian parents paying student loans is becoming an all too common story. In addition they’re paying for books and living expenses, even if it means sacrificing their financial stability. They’re delaying retirement, working more and borrowing money, potentially putting themselves in financial jeopardy.

There appears to be very few options when it comes to repaying student loans and that is another reason that leads to Canadian parents paying student loans. Even bankruptcy doesn’t discharge student loans until seven years after you’ve left school. In exceptional cases after five years you can apply to the court for special consideration (e.g. a disability which prevents you from working).

Canadian parents paying student loans may be in a financial danger zone. If you’re experiencing serious debt issues as a result of student loans or any other reason, you need professional help today. Contact Ira Smith Trustee & Receiver Inc. With a cumulative 50+ years of experience dealing with diverse issues and complex files, the Ira Smith team delivers the highest quality of professional service. Starting Over, Starting Now we can help you solve your financial problems.

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