On May 23, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) and the New York Attorney General’s Office filed a Stipulated Judgment for $4 million against a group of debt collectors who engaged in illegal collection tactics against consumers. The Complaint alleged the collectors violated the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act by threatening consumers with arrest and imprisonment if they failed to pay their debts, artificially inflating balances, and harassing debtors, their friends and families.
Under the stipulation, the collectors are permanently banned from debt collection operations and must pay $2 million to the CFPB victim relief fund and $2 million to the State of New York. In addition, the stipulation provides a $1 million penalty if the collectors fail to pay the damages.
If you are the victim of harassing or abusive debt collection calls, you should contact a Las Vegas Debt Collection Lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.
The major credit bureaus – Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union – announced they will no longer report paid medical debt on consumer credit reports, effective July 1, 2022. In addition, the bureaus stated they will increase the timeframe to begin reporting open medical collections from six months to one year. Finally, the credit bureaus announced they will not report medical collection accounts under $500 starting in 2023. The national credit bureaus estimate these changes will result in removing approximately 70% of medical collections from consumer credit reports.
If you have medical collections reporting on your credit profiles or are receiving collection calls for unpaid medical debts, you should contact a Las Vegas consumer attorney to discuss your legal rights.
On February 10, 2022, the Ninth Circuit affirmed a California District Court decision in Moran v. The Screening Pros, LLC, finding that while a credit reporting agency (CRA) must remove criminal charges and related information from a tenant screening report within seven years of the case filing (not the case dismissal), the CRA did not violate the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) because its failure was not negligent of willful.
In Moran, Plaintiff submitted a housing application in February 2010. The landlord denied his application because the background check revealed three dismissed criminal charges and a conviction. While the oldest charge was filed in 2000, it was dismissed in 2004. Plaintiff argued that the inclusion of the 2000 charge in the screening report violated the FCRA because it was more than seven years old. The CRA claimed the 2004 dismissal date was the operative date under the statute. While the Ninth Circuit found that the appropriate date to analyze when a CRA should remove criminal records is the date the DA filed the charges, the court upheld the dismissal of the case because Plaintiff failed to show the violation was negligent or willful.
If you received a lease denial from a tenant screening report showing old criminal charges or inaccurate tenant information, you should contact a Las Vegas credit attorney as soon as possible.
The CFPB recently released its annual report regarding consumer credit reporting complaints, covering January 2020 through September 2021. The report criticizes the national credit reporting agencies (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union) for failing to meet their Fair Credit Reporting Act obligations and engaging in practices that have led to increased consumer complaints.
The report details the credit bureaus’ failed attempts to correct incomplete and false credit information when receiving consumer disputes, especially those coming from credit repair companies and other third-party credit assistance programs. Such inaccurate credit information includes accounts related to identity theft, incorrect debt collection items, the effect of data breaches, and false account details.
If you are experiencing false credit reporting, you should contact a Las Vegas credit reporting lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
A Las Vegas man was sentenced yesterday to 111 months in federal prison for aggravated identity theft and the use of an unauthorized access device. The defendant, Fausto Teixeira Martins Neto, placed skimming devices on ATMs and cash-out transaction dispensing terminals in casinos on the Las Vegas Strip. He would then encode the stolen data onto forged credit cards and initiate cash advances and purchase luxury items. Through their fraud and identity theft schemes, Mr. Neto and his co-conspirators stole over $2.28 million.
Mr. Neto is the fourteenth out of twenty-one individuals charged in a 2017 indictment for their roles in the conspiracy. The remaining seven charged individuals are currently at large.
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft or credit card fraud, you should contact a Las Vegas identity theft attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.
The Nevada Legislature enacted a new law targeting medical debt collections. The new law takes effect on July 1, 2021. The law defines a “medical debt” broadly to include financing or extension of credit if the sole purpose for the credit is to purchase goods or services from a health care facility or provider.
The new law prohibits debt collectors from taking any action to collect a medical debt for the first 60 days. During this period, the collector must send the consumer a written notification by registered or certified mail that includes the name of the medical facility, the date of service, the principal amount of the debt, the collection agency’s name, and whether the agency purchased the debt or it is collecting it on behalf of the medical provider.
The collection agency may accept voluntary payments during the 60-day notice period only if the consumer initiates the contact and the collection agency tells the debtor that they are not required to pay during the notice period and that it will not report the debt to the credit agencies. The law does not provide the delivery method for this notice. If a consumer chooses to make a voluntary payment toward the medical debt, such a payment does not extend the statute of limitations, admit liability, or waive any defense to the debt.
Finally, under the new law, debt collectors may not take confessions of judgment, file civil lawsuits for less than $10,000, or charge collection fees of more than 5% of the debt.
If you face medical collections, you should discuss your legal rights with a Las Vegas debt collection lawyer to ensure you are protected.
Nevada’s Attorney General released a statement cautioning Nevada consumers against posting personal information on social media, including their vaccination cards. Vaccine cards include your full name, date of birth, and patient number, all of which identity thieves can use to steal consumers’ identities. You shouldn’t even post the location of your vaccination, according to health officials.
The announcement came as part of a broader initiative by the Nevada Attorney General’s office to reduce scams and fraud related to COVID-19 vaccination and treatment. The Attorney General emphasized that Nevada consumers should be extremely cautious regarding their personal health information, especially during these times.
If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact a Las Vegas consumer attorney as soon as possible to discuss your legal rights.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) recently fined Santander Consumer USA, Inc., an automobile lender, $4.75 million for its failure to accurately report consumer data to the major credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and Trans Union). Santander allegedly reported millions of incorrect default dates and failed to report accurately whether loans were open, paid in full, or charged-off.
According to the CFPB, Santander lacked written credit reporting policies before 2018, which is shocking considering the millions of consumer credit tradelines to which Santander reported. Without admitting fault, Santander agreed to correct the reporting errors and establish and implement written credit reporting policies.
If you are a victim of Santander’s illegal credit reporting, you should contact a Las Vegas credit attorney to discuss your rights under federal law. If you have a wrongful credit reporting claim, you may receive damages of up to $1,000 per defendant, and you do not have to pay for your attorney’s fees or costs out-of-pocket.
The federal Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) implemented new rules regarding illegal debt collection practices on October 30, 2020. The new rules concern the FDCPA, which protects consumers against abusive, deceptive, and unfair debt collection practices for consumer debts (e.g., past due credit cards, medical bills, student loans).
The new debt collection rules permit emails and text messages with consumers to collect a debt. However, if a debt collector chooses to email or text, they must follow strict guidelines. For example, a debt collector must provide a clear “opt-out notice” describing a reasonable and simple method for opting out of future emails or texts.
Regarding voicemails, the new rules allow the debt collector to leave a message without violating the law so long as it includes only the business name, a request that the consumer reply, the name(s) of a debt collection representative, and a phone number.
Regarding harassing phone calls, the new rules presume that a debt collector is compliant if it makes no more than seven calls within seven consecutive days. If the consumer answers the call and speaks to a debt collector, the collector is presumed compliant if it ceases future calls for another seven days. These limitations do not apply to texts or emails, however.
Even with these new rules in place, debt collectors will continue to abuse consumers to collect debts. If you are a victim of illegal debt collection efforts, including harassment, threats, or deception, you may have claims under the FDCPA. These claims can be brought at no out-of-pocket cost to you because the debt collector must pay your attorney’s fees and costs if you win. You may also recover up to $1,000 for a successful FDCPA claim. Contact a Las Vegas debt collection defense lawyer to discuss your legal rights.
Las Vegas resident Josiah O. Ntekume was sentenced last week to 65 months in prison for his role in an identity theft tax fraud scheme. Ntekume filed false tax returns using stolen identities. He was found with roughly 250 prepaid debit cards from victims of identity theft. These prepaid cards held over $200,000 in fraudulent tax refunds.
Ntekume pleaded guilty to aggravated identity theft, wire fraud, and theft of government property. In addition to his 65 month sentence, he will serve three years of supervised release and pay roughly $221,000 in restitution.
This case highlights the ongoing threat of identity theft to Las Vegas consumers. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you should contact a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer. Lawsuits can be filed at no out-of-pocket expense because federal law requires the creditors and credit bureaus to cover your attorney’s fees and costs if you are successful. In addition to paying for your attorney’s fees and costs, you may receive compensation for actual damages, including reimbursement for improper loan denials and loss of credit limits, and statutory damages of up to $1,000 per defendant.