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.
The U.S. Justice Department has charged four members of the Chinese military in connection with the Equifax data breach, in which about 145 million Americans had their personal information stolen. The data stolen includes Social Security and driver’s license numbers, names, and addresses from Equifax, a national consumer credit reporting agency. The accused hackers are based in China and none are in custody. U.S. officials hope the criminal charges will act as a deterrent to foreign hackers.
To protect yourself from possible identity theft, make sure to pull your most recent credit reports from www.annualcreditreport.com and review the reports carefully for any inaccuracies or fraudulent credit information. If the banks and credit bureaus fail to update the inaccurate information, you should hire a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer to represent you. You should also initiate fraud alerts on your reports and to notify the appropriate governmental entities.
Lawsuits related to identity theft and credit inaccuracies can be brought at no out-of-pocket expense because federal law requires the banks and credit bureaus to cover your attorney’s fees and costs if you are successful. You may also receive compensation for actual damages (loan denials, loss of credit limits, etc.) and statutory damages of up to $1,000 per defendant.
About 40 million Americans are likely to see their credit scores drop at least 20 points as Fair Isaac Corporation (FICO) announced an updated scoring model. The biggest change concerns how FICO treats personal loans. These loans are now treated as their own category. In the past, when consumers took out personal loans to pay off credit card debt, their scores would improve. This will end under the new model. On the other hand, many Americans will see improvements to their scores under this new model if their finances are in good shape.
With these new changes, Nevada consumers should monitor credit reports using www.annualcreditreport.com to make sure the information is accurate and up-to-date. If you find any incorrect information in your credit report, you should speak with a Las Vegas credit attorney to discuss your rights under federal law.
Las Vegas Man Pleads Guilty to Identity Theft Scheme Targeting Veterans and Active Duty Service Members
The Department of Justice announced today that a Las Vegas resident, Fredrick Brown, pleaded guilty to his role in a multi-million dollar wire fraud and identity theft scheme. While working as a civilian medical records administrator for the U.S. Army, Mr. Brown stole personal and identifying information from thousands of military service members. The data stolen includes Social Security numbers, dates of birth, and contact information.
Mr. Brown admitted taking pictures of his computer screen while logged into the military’s online medical record system from July 2014 to September 2015. He then took the photos to a co-defendant to use the information to gain access to the Department of Defense and Veterans Affairs benefits sites to steal millions of dollars. Mr. Brown faces up to 20 years in federal prison for each charge.
Identity theft continues to be a major concern for all Americans, especially our veterans and active-duty military service members. If you believe you are a victim of identity theft, you should obtain a police report and contact the national credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) and demand a credit freeze or fraud alert immediately. Consumers should also check their bank and credit card statements for fraudulent activity and report this activity to the bank. You should also speak to a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer about your rights under federal law against the credit bureaus and creditors if they fail to remove fraudulent or inaccurate information from your reports.
Equifax has agreed to pay $650 million to resolve multiple state and federal investigations related to the 2017 data breach in which it exposed the personal information of 147 million Americans. At least $300 million will go to consumers with an additional $125 million of the settlement available if the initial fund is exhausted.
Those who can prove they have been fraud victims will be entitled to relief if the settlement administrator finds that the losses are fairly traceable to the data breach. Individual victims may obtain up to $20,000 in compensation if they can prove actual harm. Consumers may obtain $25 per hour for up to 20 hours spent taking preventative measures or dealing with identity theft. Equifax has also agreed to provide 10 years of free credit monitoring services to victims.
Once approved by the court, a new website will be created to handle claims. In the meantime, consumers can visit ftc.gov/equifax for more information about the process.
Quest Diagnostics confirmed today that its third-party billing company (American Medical Collection Agency) was hit by a major data breach, which has affected at least 11.9 million patients. The identity thief stole credit card numbers, private medical data, and personal information from Quest patients. Based on Quest’s report to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the breach dated back to August 1, 2018, and continued through May 31, 2019.
If you believe you are a victim of this data breach or any other form of identity theft, you should contact the credit bureaus (Experian, Equifax, and Trans Union) and demand a credit freeze or fraud alert immediately. Consumers should also check their bank and credit card statements for fraudulent activity and report this activity to the bank immediately. You should also speak to a Las Vegas identity theft lawyer about your rights under federal law against the credit bureaus and creditors if they fail to remove fraudulent or inaccurate information from your reports.