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DebtSmart® Email Newsletter
March 7, 2007: Issue #145

Tools for financial success! A Free Email Newsletter from DebtSmart Online and Press One Publishing.



" There's a fine line between, 'oh, that's cute' and 'I have to have that now.'"--Larissa S. Bilker
Quotes from all previous newsletters


Letter from the publisher
Cool Quote
DebtSmart® Recommended Products and Services
Where did that fee come from?
DebtSmart® Amazon aStore
Identity Theft by State
"That's $107.00 a month saving for 4 months!"
Credit Secrets Bible
Household Math™: Fast Pay Mortgage
Stop Debt Collectors Cold!
The Credit Repair Kit plus bonus CD!
Cleaning House: Improving and Removing Debt
More credit, more options!
Free DebtSmart® Column for in-print publication, ezine, or web site
Books, software, in-print and downloads
Archive of Email Newsletters online
Update-Subscribe-Unsubscribe-Disclaimer Information
Publisher: Scott Bilker
Editor: Larissa S. Bilker
Assistant Editor: Denise Troy

ISSN 1538-6740

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Identity Theft by State

The ten states with the highest rates of identity fraud are: (1) New York; (2) California; (3) Nevada; (4) Arizona; (5) Illinois; (6) Hawaii; (7) Oregon; (8) Michigan; (9) Washington; (10) Texas

The ten states with the lowest rates of identity fraud are: (1) Wyoming; (2) Vermont; (3) Montana; (4) North Dakota; (5) New Hampshire; (6) Ohio; (7) Maine; (8) Iowa; (9) West Virginia; (10) South Dakota

When examined at a 3-digit zip code level, the ten metropolitan areas with the highest identity fraud rates are: (1) New York, NY; (2) Detroit, MI; (3) Los Angeles, CA; (4) Little Rock, AR; (5) Greenville, MS; (6) Atlanta, GA; (7) Phoenix, AZ; (8) Portland, OR; (9) Dallas, TX; (10) Springfield, IL

Read more credit card and debt statistics

DebtSmart® Recommended

Credit Secrets Bible

Raise your credit score! Learn how to fight back against those who are making your life difficult--and holding you back!

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Letter from the Publisher
by Scott Bilker


Okay, so do you watch American Idol? I do. Great show!

There are certainly benefits to being on the show, but there can be downsides to instant fame. Diana DeGarmo, unfortunately, found this out when her identity was stolen! Yes, it can happen to anyone. However, when you go from regular human to celebrity in one season, you may be caught off guard.

In DeGarmo's case, it wasn't that bad. The thief was captured, and the incident didn't appear to damage her credit rating. Just remember to always be on alert. This can happen to you! You can read more details about Diana's story here.

In marketing it's said that you shouldn't ask, "who do you know" but instead, "who do you know who knows." You will find that you're only a few people away from anyone. So basically, everyone has a story about knowing someone.

Here are my two stories about American Idol...

If you've been watching this season, then you have seen Antonella Barba.

She's my dentist's (Dr. Cannis') associate's daughter (Dr. Valerie Barba). Small world. I think Antonella looks just like her mother--see for yourself.

Okay, here's one more. My Aunt Judy (Garcia), a music teacher--now retired, was Tamyra Gray's sole music teacher. Tamyra was an American Idol finalist (4th) from Season 1. Tamyra mentions this in her bio, "Her first music mentor at Watkins Mill Elementary School was her chorus teacher Mrs. Garcia. 'She taught me how to breathe, and taught me the foundations. That's the only structured training that I've ever had,' adds Tamyra."


Where did that fee come from?
by Scott Bilker

Howdy Scott:

I am writing to you about a unique situation that occurred about two weeks ago, and I was wondering if anyone else you know of, and/or subscribes to your newsletter, might have had this happen to them.

I currently carry a VISA card from Compass Bank, which is based in the southeastern portion of the US. I have had the card for a number of years and rarely carry any sort of a continuing balance.

I decided I wanted to payoff the balance, which at the time was approximately $48.03. I had not received my statement yet, so I went ahead, typed up a letter, enclosed a check for the balance-in-full, and mailed it off to Compass Bankcard's payment address in Decatur, AL.

When I checked the Compass Bank website 10 days later, I noticed that the outstanding balance on the card was $1.00. The first thought that came to my head was that I misfigured the amount of the payment for balance-in-full. Upon further examination, the dollar had been billed to my account as a payment processing fee.

I immediately contacted Compass customer service and asked them exactly what the fee was for. The representative told me that, since I had not enclosed the remittance portion of my statement, there was an added $1.00 fee for processing the payment. I told the rep I was ready to close the account, since I considered this a money grab. She went ahead and waived the fee. I asked her to pass along a message to her supervisor that there should never be a transaction fee for processing a payment.

Any thoughts?

The Twin Cities of Minnesota

Finish Reading Article

"That's $107.00 a month saving for 4 months!"

"Your books arrived and I didn't even get to read them all before I called my first credit card company. I just briefly glanced at the variety of scripts under calling credit card companies and then I called. I mentioned to the first operator that I received an offer for 5.9% and that I would like to have my interest rate lowered. She came back with 'the only special I have right now is 0% for 4 months.' I said, 'I'll take it.' That's $107.00 a month saving for 4 months!

My second call I was transferred to the 'Account Specialist' (it helped knowing from the scripts in your book this could happen!). This gentleman was a very fast, smooth talker. I told him about the 5.9% offer and he came back with yes I paid promptly, on time, but I hadn't used the account often enough so I only got 2 out of 3--not enough to get the interest lowered. He did offer to reimburse the annual fee of $49.00, which I did take. He said I would now be included for upcoming special offers. Not bad for a 1/2 hours work!

Thanks Scott. I look forward to reading the rest of the books for more great ideas."

—Judy Davidson, Ontario

Read about special offer for all three of Scott Bilker's best-selling books

Credit Secrets Bible

I've been reviewing this program, The Credit Secrets Bible, and I am confident at this point, that the information is good. Better than good actually! The author recommends specific details about improving your credit score. I have learned some new techniques that I'm testing right now, so I'm sure there is something here for everyone!

I highly recommend you pick up a copy of this info! They even threw in audio bonuses and much more!

Here is some of their info:

The Credit Secrets Bible contains more step-by-step, easy-to-learn, easy-to-use insider consumer credit secrets than any other home study course on the market. In fact, the information in the Credit Secrets Bible is so powerful, we have to disclose to you upfront that it is sold for informational purposes only.

If you don't already know, I'll be the first to tell you... banks, finance companies, bill collectors and credit card companies are some of the BIGGEST crooks in the world. If you don't know the secrets contained in the Credit Secrets Bible, you will pay tens of thousands of hard-earned dollars in extra bills, interest and fees, etc. Your money will be wasted (down the drain) for no reason other than you don't own the Credit Secrets Bible home study course.

Banks and other institutions who take your money, ruin your credit or deny you the money you need are very powerful. They make a business out of hurting people like you to make more money for themselves. And, the more they hurt you financially, the more powerful they become. But they won't be able to hurt you anymore! With the Credit Secrets Bible, I'll show you how to stop them dead in their tracks!

Click here to learn more about the Credit Secrets Bible

Household Math™: Fast Pay Mortgage
by Scott Bilker

You have a $100,000 mortgage at 6% APR for 15 years. How many extra monthly payments must you send each year to be able to pay off this loan in exactly 5 years? Note: All the extra payments are sent along with the year's last monthly payment.

Answer this problem

Stop Debt Collectors Cold!
Stop Debt Collectors Cold! Plus, for a limited time, 4 bonus reports:
  --> How to Get Collection Accounts Off Your Credit Report
  --> How to Avoid Losing Your Home In A Foreclosure
  --> What to Do if You Are Behind on Your Car Payments
  --> Confidential Interview With A Former Debt Collector

Read about stopping debt collectors

Cleaning House: Improving and Removing Debt
by Damien DelRusso

Over the last year or so, I did a bit of financial reorganization. Without getting too far into the details, I'd like to recount the steps, as one or more may be helpful for others.

First, let me stipulate that I had lots and lots of debt. Suffice it to say that the amount far exceeded the value of my assets. My debts consisted of student loans, credit cards, a car loan, personal loans and a house loan.

First, whatever the reasons for getting into debt, the goal should be to minimize the cost. Over both the short and long term, that means eliminating fees, lowering APRs, and eventually eliminating the debts.

Finish Reading Article

More credit, more options!

Credit options are your weapon against the banks! The key to success is using your credit lines to save money--not to go crazy spending!

The Credit Repair Kit plus bonus CD!
by Joe Sainz

What do you think of when you hear the words "credit repair"? I think of scam! That's because many companies have made promises to "fix" people's credit but then simply stole their money. However, there are still reputable sources for people to learn how to straighten out their credit reports.

Your credit report is your financial résumé and everyone, from lenders to insurance agents, reviews it. It's vital that there are no mistakes shown, and if there are, that they're removed!

There are many books on the subject, but my personal favorite is The Credit Repair Kit. That's because Joe Sainz offers great practical advice for correcting errors. Plus, he includes a Credit Booster CD-ROM with the book!

If you're having trouble getting the rates you deserve because of your credit report, then you must read this book!

Read more about The Credit Repair Kit plus bonus CD...

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The author(s), Press One Publishing, and DebtSmart.com shall have neither liability nor responsibility to any person or entity with respect to any loss or damage caused, or alleged to be caused, directly or indirectly by the information contained in this email newsletter and/or at the DebtSmart.com web site. The information, methods and techniques described may not work for you and no recommendation is made to follow the same course of action. Every effort has been made to verify the accuracy of all content contained herein. However, there may be mistakes; typographical, mathematical, or in content. This email newsletter and the DebtSmart.com web site have been created for your entertainment only. You must always seek the proper professional advice before taking any financial or legal action. You have been warned.

Copyright ©2007 Press One Publishing. All rights reserved. Please do not reprint, or host on your web site, without explicit permission. However, if you found this newsletter helpful, we grant you permission, and strongly encourage you, to e-mail it to a business associate or a friend. Thank you.


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