Consumer Protection Week FACTS: ‘F’ Is For Finances

Attorney General Hector Balderas
 
AG News:
 
ALBUQUERQUE  During National Consumer Protection Week, Attorney General Hector Balderas urges New Mexico consumers to get the FACTS about their finances.
 
The New Mexico Office of Attorney General receives frequent complaints of finance-related problems—that is, problems with debt collectors, banks and credit unions, and also the payment of loans, including student loans and mortgages.
 
Attorney General Balderas advises, “Educating yourself on your own financial strengths and weaknesses is the first step to controlling your financial well-being. However, if you’re already in debt and struggling to pay all you owe, remember your rights.”
 
Debt Collection
 
Debt Collectors cannot:
  • misrepresent how much you owe;
  • make harassing telephone calls (repeated, continuous or at inconvenient times);
  • use obscene, profane or abusive language;
  • use or threaten to use violence or action that they cannot or will not take;
  • inform others (like your boss or your friends) about your debt without permission; or
  • call your work if you tell them not to.
 
Debt Collectors must:
  • send written debt validation notices that you can dispute;
  • stop trying to collect a debt, until they provide written verification of the debt; and
  • stop trying to collect if you make a written request for them to stop.
 
Student Loans
  • If you have federal student loans, you may qualify for a reduced payment. The application for a reduced payment is free and you can do it yourself. Visit https://studentloans.gov/ for more information.
  • If you have questions about your payments or your debt, contact your loan servicer. This is the company from whom you receive your monthly bill.  If you cannot tell who your loan servicer is, contact https://studentaid.ed.gov.
  • Never stop communicating with your lender.
Mortgages
  • Review your mortgage statement every month. If you see any errors or you have questions, contact your mortgage lender right away.
  • Review your annual escrow statement to ensure the taxes and escrow match what you expect to be paying. Compare the amounts on your statement to your tax bill and insurance bill.
  • If you can, make one extra mortgage payment a year. That way you’ll pay down your mortgage in 16 years instead of 30 and save thousands of dollars of interest.
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