Reducing the risk of check and financial fraud

Dear Consumer Ed:  Since the front of my personal checks show my bank’s routing number and my bank account number, what’s to stop someone from using that information to have their bills paid through an automatic draft from my account?

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Can mortgage lender charge a fee for waiving escrow requirement?

Dear Consumer Ed:  I told my mortgage lender that I would prefer to pay my property taxes in full each year instead of having a portion rolled into my monthly mortgage payments and held in escrow. Are they allowed to charge me a fee if I do that?

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Can car dealer charge fee for pre-purchase vehicle inspection by independent mechanic?

Dear Consumer Ed:  I am considering purchasing a vehicle from a rental car company. To make sure the car is in good shape, I want to have it inspected by an independent mechanic. However, the salesperson at the rental car company told me that they would charge me a $250 fee for doing that.

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How long does medical debt stay on your credit report?

Dear Consumer Ed:  How long does medical debt stay on your credit report?

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Can a dealer sell a car as "new" if it was used as a rental?

Dear Consumer Ed:  I purchased a brand new car in 2018. In cleaning out my car I found a rental agreement indicating that my car was used as a rental car for the dealership.  When I purchased the car it had about 400 miles on it.

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Protecting yourself from cell phone account fraud

Dear Consumer Ed:  I have frozen my credit with Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion to help reduce my risk of identity theft. I just heard that I could be at risk of cell phone fraud because there is another credit reporting agency that keeps data on telecommunications and utilities accounts.

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How do I know if I am really a contest winner?

Dear Consumer Ed:  After filling out a feedback form about a fast food restaurant, I received a call saying that I had won a contest. I was asked to provide a faxed form, signed and notarized, along with my Social Security number for tax purposes. Does that sound legitimate?

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Don't I have 3 days to cancel a sales contract?

Dear Consumer Ed:  We were recently talked into purchasing some expensive cookware following a very persuasive demonstration at a neighbor’s house.  We put a significant amount of money down and signed a contract to pay the rest. As soon as the cookware arrived, I realized I had made a mistake.

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Loan company not reporting all payments to credit bureau

Dear Consumer Ed:  I make loan payments, which are reflected on my credit report. I pay every month, but sometimes the loan company skips a month and does not report to the credit bureau. Isn’t that hurting my credit, and don’t they have to fix that?

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Safe disposal of cell phones

Dear Consumer Ed:  I have an old cell phone that I want to dispose of. How can I do this in a way that will not harm the environment and will prevent others from obtaining any personal information that is or was stored on the device?

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