HLF Blog

Mistakes to Avoid When Filing for Bankruptcy

Filing for bankruptcy can be an emotional experience. If you are already stressing about losing your assets or a debt that you find hard to pay, you do not want to get stressed further with the law by trying to be malicious. An instance of malice is when you try to hide some property. If you get caught hiding any assets, you will face consequences that include fines of up to $500,000 and a jail term of up to five years. Below are some mistakes to completely avoid when you are filing for bankruptcy. Adding Debt to Your Credit Card The moment you decide to file for bankruptcy, you should cease to use your credit card. The reason for this is that your credit card company will get a notification that you are filing for bankruptcy when you decide to file for one.   If you know you will file for bankruptcy, avoid adding debt to your credit cards two to three months before filing for bankruptcy. The consequences may be that the creditor could refuse to reduce or eliminate what you owe them. The creditor may also ask you to pay the debts of your purchases, or they could file for lawsuits to prevent the debt from getting discharged or accuse you of fraud. Changing Ownership of Your Assets Chapter 7 bankruptcy requires an individual's non-exempted assets to get liquidated, and the trustees should use the money to pay off debts. People who file for this type of bankruptcy may get tempted to change or transfer ownership of their assets to their friends or relatives. Such a move is dishonest, and the bankruptcy trustee can consider it fraudulent and cause you more trouble. Chapter 7 bankruptcy can exempt those assets you want to transfer or change ownership. If the assets get...
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Everything You Need to Know About Telemarketing Abuse

Phones are a great way to connect people, but they can also be used by telemarketers. One telemarketing call here or there may not be a problem, but some people experience telemarketing abuse. If you would like to know more, so you can better protect yourself from unwanted calls, keep reading.  What Protects You From Telemarketing Abuse? The government has created acts and rules to help protect people from telemarketing abuse. The FTC passed the Telemarketing Sales Rule (TSR), which was enacted in 1995. According to the TSR, telemarketers must be open and honest about who they are, why they work for, and why they are calling. It also set up other rules, such as when telemarketers can and cannot call. The FCC also has its own rules for telemarketers. They passed the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) in 1991. This act includes much of the same rules that are included in the TSR. Both the TSR and TCPA also prohibit telemarketers from giving vague answers about prizes, or being misleading about the real cost of goods and services. Is Anyone Excluded From the TSR and TCPA? Some businesses are excluded from the TSR and TCPA, including banks, federal credit unions, common carriers (like long-distance phone companies), and non-profit organizations. However, any company or individual who contacts with one of these organizations must follow the TSR and TCPA. In other words, if someone from the bank keeps calling you, you may not have much recourse, but if the bank hires a company to provide telemarketing services, that company must follow the TSR or TCPA. Therefore, if they don't follow the rules, you can take action. What if the Unwanted Calls Don't Stop? You can do a few things to stop unwanted calls. Add your number to the Do Not Call...
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7 Steps for Managing Debt Collection Calls

Unexpected events happen to everyone, and sometimes those events can cause financial strain. Debt can cause uncertainty and fear when it becomes unmanageable. The situation only becomes worse when aggressive debt collectors get involved. The law protects consumers against some collection tactics. Understanding your rights is vital.  Step One: Demand Detailed Information Always get the name of the collection agency, their contact information, and the details of the debt they want to collect. Debt collectors do not always have accurate information and can sometimes contact the wrong person with the same name as the debtor. Some collection calls are also fraudulent, so ensure the debt is legitimate. Step Two: Research the Agency Do not promise the debt collector anything during an initial conversation. Begin by researching the agency first to learn more about them. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) provides consumers with a searchable online list of banned debt collectors. The agencies and individuals listed by the FTC have been found guilty of breaking debt collection laws and cannot participate in the business of collections. Step Three: Protect Your Privacy Debt collectors cannot discuss your debt with any third party without your permission. Collectors cannot contact employers, mail postcards with visible information about the debt, or mark the exterior of collection letters with information related to the money owed. Refuse to work with any collector that performs these tactics and immediately seek legal advice. Step Four: Keep a Record Consumers are protected against harassment from debt collectors through the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act. The debtor may need to file a lawsuit or a complaint about a collector that uses illegal methods to collect debts. Keep records of their behavior for this purpose. Note the date and time of every phone call you receive from them, even if you do...
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Dos and Don’ts When Dealing With a Telemarketer

Telemarketing is an old tactic, but many businesses still use it for cold calls. With the rise of robocalls, more and more telemarketers can call you, and even scammers are getting involved. If you would like to know more to protect yourself in the event of telemarketing abuse, check out these four dos and don'ts when dealing with a telemarketer. 1. Do: Ask Them to Stop Calling Telemarketers do have some rules they must follow. First, they are supposed to crosscheck target phone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry. If you added your number to this list, telemarketers are not supposed to call you. Of course, some telemarketers ignore this list, forget to check, or miss your number. If you listed your number but a telemarketer keeps calling you, ask them to stop calling. You may need to send a request in writing so they have a copy in their system. However, once you tell a company you no longer want calls, they are supposed to stop calling. If they continue to ignore it, they may be a scammer rather than a legitimate business. 2. Do: Track All Calls Regardless of whether the caller is a scammer or an employee with a reputable company, you should track all the calls. If a company keeps calling you after you've added your number to the Do Not Call Registry, you may be able to file a complaint or even sue them for every call. In fact, you can get up to $500 for each time a telemarketer called you if your number is on the Do Not Call Registry. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) also offers protection. This act limits when telemarketers can call and requires they provide contact information and employer information. You can recover up to $500 per phone...
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3 Ways to Reduce Telemarketing Calls

If you own or have access to a telephone, you have probably experienced an increase in telemarketing calls during the last few years. These unsolicited calls are often from telemarketers or automated telephone dialers called robocalls. Legally for appointment setting, surveying, tele-sales, and calls to action, they have provided a vehicle now used for nefarious means. Not only are most of these calls unwelcome and intrusive, but they can also be the source of scams or other types of fraud. The good news is, you can reduce or eliminate these calls from your life. Discover three ways to try. 1.  Sign Up With the National Do Not Call Registry Register all of your telephone numbers with the National Do Not Call Registry by going to DoNotCall.gov or by calling 1-888-382-1222 (TTY: 1-866-290-4236). While your numbers will be immediately in the system, you often will have to wait about a month for the sales calls to slow down or come to a stop. Any number is eligible to add. These include your cell phone, home phone, and business phone. Unfortunately, registering your phones may not provide the relief you seek. While this should reduce the number of calls you receive from legitimate businesses, scammers and businesses you have previously done business with may continue to call. Other types of calls you may continue to receive even if you are on the registry include: Informational callsPolitical callsCharitable callsDebt collection calls You also have the right to request these agencies do not call you, but you have no way to do so nationally.  2.  Block the Calls If you continue to receive unwanted calls, these are usually from scammers. Many of them use spoofing technology to make these calls appear to come from a number you know and trust or from a familiar area code. This...
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Are You Experiencing Telemarketer Abuse?

Phones provide a great way for telemarketers to abuse you, and with the rise of cellphones, they can reach you from anywhere. If you would like to learn more to better protect yourself against fraud and abuse, keep reading. What is Telemarketing Abuse? Telemarking abuse comes in many forms. Telemarketers have a lot of rules to follow, such as not calling at specific times and not calling once you've asked them to stop calling you. Breaking these rules can constitute telemarketing abuse. For instance, some aggressive companies may keep calling you to try and sell you the same product again and again, refusing to take no for an answer. Additionally, telemarketing abuse is often associated with scams. Many scams claim you won a free prize or vacation, but you have to pay fees before you can get the prize. This can be incredibly dangerous if you give the scammer your credit card or bank account information to pay for the fees. Some scammers may even record you saying "yes," to a seemingly harmless question like, "Can you hear me?" They then use that to try and prove you verified a purchase or charge. You can often spot scammers easily because they usually want to be paid in ways that are hard to trace such as gift cards or cryptocurrency. How Do Robocalls Work? Robocalls are highly associated with scams because they are so easy to send en masse. Scammers buy a list of leads that provides phone numbers. They then usually use computer software to send out the calls to everyone on the list. The computer software can also change the phone number, so the caller thinks the call is local. If you fall for the initial scam, you will likely be transferred to a real person who will then...
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4 Examples of Telemarketer Abuse

Many people pray on others to try and steal their money or identity. Telemarketer scams have been around for a long time, and they don’t seem to be going away any time soon. Therefore, if you would like to better protect yourself, check out these four examples of telemarketing scams. 1. Paying for a Prize Many scams are built on a so-called free prize. The prize may be a free trial or a trip/timeshare. However, when you get down to the nitty-gritty, the prize isn't free at all. With free trials, in many cases, the scammer signs you up for lots of other products that you must pay for each month. With travel scams and timeshare scams, you often have to pay upfront only to find out there is no trip or timeshare. 2. Imposters Imposter scams include a wide range of scenarios, but they all have one thing in common: the person calling you is an imposter. Older people may get calls from fake family members who need financial help. They rely on the fact that an older person may not know all their nieces, nephews, and grandchildren, but they will still want to help any struggling family members. However, imposters can pose as anyone. Some pose as actual government representatives like an IRS agent. If they can fool you, they may be able to get your Social Security number and other personal information so they can steal your identity. In some cases, these scammers use technology to make it look like they are calling from a reputable company. 3. Debt Relief and Credit Repair Scams Many Americans struggle with debt. Unfortunately, that has created a whole group of scammers who pretend they can help reduce your debt. Typically, you pay the debt relief company, and they work with...
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With the rise of technology, unwanted calls are more and more common thanks to robocalls and other telemarketing tactics. These calls are often bothersome, and many are linked to scams. If you are sick of getting unwanted telemarketing calls, check out these four commonly asked questions to learn about what you can to do to protect yourself. 1. Why Was the Registry Created? The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) created the National Do Not Call Registry in 2003. This registry was incorporated into the already established Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) of 1991, which already listed rules to limit pre-recorded messages and automatic-dial calls from telemarketers. Consumers can add their number to the registry, and telemarketers can cross-check this list. According to the TCPA, telemarketers should not call these numbers. Unfortunately, many ignore these laws, especially scammers. However, the TCPA allows you to seek financial retribution if a telemarketer contacts you after your name is on the registry. 2. What Should You Do If Someone Keeps Calling? If a telemarketer keeps calling you, add your name to the Do Not Call Registry. Additionally, keep all relevant information. This information often includes the name of the caller, the name of the business, how often they call, and when they call. Make sure to save all voicemails, text messages, and any written communication. If you continue to get calls after adding your name to the registry, report the number to the registry. You usually won't hear back from the FTC due to the large number of reports they receive, but they will still us the information to trace the call and identify trends. They also release the reported numbers to phone providers. If telemarketers continue to harass you, you can sue them thanks to the TCPA. You can receive up to $500 each...


If you receive robocalls on a regular basis, you may be wondering if there is anything you can do to prevent them. The Telephone Consumer Protection Act TCPA, however, was designed to do just that. If you are sick of receiving constant unwanted calls from telemarketers or debt collectors, keep reading to learn more about the TCPA. What Types of Calls Are Included in the Act? The types of calls included in the TCPA are telemarking calls, auto-dialed calls, pre-recorded calls, and text messages. This act also created the National Do Not Call Registry. In general, the act is designed to give you an option to block robocalls, and it puts strict limitations on robocalls, especially robocalls to cellphones. This act even protects you in the event of unwanted credit collection calls. However, it only covers calls to your cellphone, and you must have never given oral or written consent that the lender could call you. Calls that are exempt from the act include robocalls to wireless phones, calls made for research purposes, and calls designed to alert you of fraud. What Are the Other Rules of the Act? The act also created a few more rules to protect people from robocalls and potential scams. First, it prohibits callers from calling before 8 am and after 9 pm. Telemarketers are also prohibited from sending unsolicited fax messages. If you do answer the call, however, the act protects you further. If a telemarketer or debt collector calls, they cannot refuse to give you their name, organization for which they are calling, and the contact information. In fact, they are supposed to give you their name and the business for which they are calling at the start of the call, and they must provide the address and phone number of the company...

What You Should Know About Debt Collector Harassment

As the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on people's personal finances and employment, some 51 million Americans found themselves accumulating extra debt in their efforts to weather the storm. If you count yourself among them, you may have struggled to repay the debt or even make minimum payments. After a debt goes unpaid for a certain length of time, you can expect debt collectors to contact you and request payment. However, these debt collectors must adhere to certain rules of conduct. If you feel abused by constant threatening calls, you should understand the following key points about debt collector harassment. What Debt Collectors Can Legally Do Debt collectors and creditors have certain rights, just as debtors do. These agents can request payment on an overdue debt via phone, text, or email. If you refuse to respond, they can sell your debt to another organization. Agents for this organization may then pick up with their requests where the previous agent left off. Even if you feel harassed by what feels like a flood of phone calls and letters, these repeated requests and reminders may fall completely within the debt collector's legal rights. As a last-ditch attempt to get the money owed, a debt collector may file a lawsuit, possibly resulting in bank levies or wage garnishment. What Debt Collectors Can't Legally Do Although debt collectors may try to reach you on a daily basis if they so choose, they can't call you any time of the day or night. According to the Federal Trade Commission, these agents can only call you between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. local time. Calling outside of those hours constitutes debt collector harassment. Debt collectors can't use threats, verbal abuse, or other scare tactics to intimidate you into a response, although they may objectively...
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HLF helps people recover financial compensation for their injuries.  Whether you were injured in an auto accident, experienced a workplace accident, or a slip and fall, our attorneys will review your case and determine if you have grounds to file a personal injury lawsuit. Negligence occurs when a person or a company or corporation fails to act in a safe manner, resulting in the harm to a person.  For example, if a driver fails to follow the speed limit, or sends text messages while driving, and causes a car accident, he or she may be held financially liable in court for any injuries caused to other drivers or pedestrians. Doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals must maintain a higher standard of care than the average person – because they are tending to the physical needs of their patients.  These professionals are required to provide medical care that adheres to accepted standards of medical practices.  When they fail to act responsibly, resulting in injuries to a patient, medical malpractice may have occurred. If you were injured due to negligent or reckless behavior involving someone else, HLF’s personal injury attorneys may be able to help you receive compensation for medical bills, pain and suffering, and other losses.  Call HLF at 1-202-234-2727 or fill out HLF’s FREE CONSULTATION form.


Persons who received telemarketing calls on behalf of Birch Communications may qualify for payments under a recent anti-telemarketing settlement. This robocall class action lawsuit was brought by plaintiff Abante Rooter and Plumbing, a California-based plumbing business owned by Fred Heidarpour. Abante alleged that defendant Birch Communications, a firm that provides technology and telecommunications services to businesses, placed a telemarketing call to an Abante-owned mobile phone in September 2015. The Abante representative who took the call allegedly heard a click and a long pause before hearing a response. The click and pause were evidence that the call was placed using an automatic telephone dialing system, the plaintiff claimed. Abante said it never gave Birch Communications its consent to be contacted in this manner. By making such automatically-dialed and unconsented calls, Birch Communications was allegedly in violation of the federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA. Generally, the TCPA forbids callers from using certain automated equipment or prerecorded messages to place calls to persons who have not previously and expressly consented to being called that way. The TCPA also provided legal authority to set up the National Do Not Call Registry. Telemarketers that call numbers listed on that registry may be in violation of the TCPA. Persons who receive calls that violate the TCPA may be able to bring a civil TCPA lawsuit against the caller. Plaintiffs may be able to take advantage of the TCPA’s statutory damages provisions, which provide for $500 to $1,500 in damages for each violating call. Before filing this TCPA lawsuit, Abante wrote to Birch Communications asking if Birch had Abante’s prior express consent to place robocalls to Abante. Birch responded – incorrectly – that the TCPA does not apply to business numbers. Under terms of this TCPA class action settlement, Birch Communications has agreed to set up a...


BY KATHRYN RATTIGAN ON MAY 11, 2017POSTED IN ENFORCEMENT & LITIGATION, TELEPHONE CONSUMER PROTECTION ACT Last week, Georgia federal judge, U.S. District Judge Clay D. Land, approved the final order and judgment to settle class action claims that Central Payment Co. LLC (Central Payment) violated the Telephone Consumer Protection Act (TCPA) for $6.5 million. Lead plaintiff, Fred Heidarpour, claimed that Central Payment violated the TCPA by hiring third parties to ‘cold call’ prospective clients using prerecorded telemarketing calls without the required prior consent. This class action was filed back in August 2015. Discovery in this case revealed that more than 27 million attempted prerecorded calls had been made on behalf of Central Payment during the proposed class period. Judge Land approved the settlement, and dismissed the case with prejudice, after no objections were received from over 310,000 proposed settlement class members. He found that the settlement was fair, adequate, reasonable and in the best interests of the settlement class. Members of the settlement class have been defined as any individual or entity who, at any time between August 18, 2011, to the date of the settlement agreement, received one or more telemarketing calls from Korthals LLC on behalf of Central Payment. It also includes individuals who received these calls, but were on the national do-not-call registry. All settlement class members will receive equal shares after payments for notice, administration, attorneys’ fees and costs, and plaintiff’s service payments are distributed. Counsel for plaintiff is permitted to collect a maximum of $2,166,666 in attorneys’ fees along with out-of-pocket expenses of up to $44,000. Heidarpour will be awarded an incentive of $25,000 “in light of the service performed by plaintiff for the class.”


By Paul TassinJuly 6, 2017 Persons who received telemarketing calls from New York Life may be entitled to compensation under terms of a TCPA class action settlement. Plaintiff Abante Rooter and Plumbing Inc. filed this anti-telemarketing class action lawsuit in May 2016. The company alleged defendant New York Life unlawfully placed calls to mobile phone numbers that had been listed on the National Do Not Call Registry. Abante Rooter also claimed New York Life placed calls using automatic dialing equipment or prerecorded announcements to persons who had not consented to receiving such calls. In filing this action against New York Life, Abante Rooter took advantage of the civil suit provisions of the Telephone Consumer Protection Act, or TCPA. Originally passed in 1991, the TCPA established the National Do Not Call Registry. Persons who do not want to receive unsolicited telemarketing calls may list their phone numbers on this registry to let telemarketers know their calls are not welcome at that number. The TCPA also requires companies to maintain their own records of persons who have opted out of receiving telemarketing calls. Another provision of the TCPA restricts callers from using automated dialing equipment and artificial or prerecorded voices when calling persons who have not expressly consented to being called that way. The TCPA has been updated to apply this prohibition to calls and text messages placed to mobile phone numbers. Persons who receive contacts that violate the TCPA may be able to sue for statutory damages of $500 to $1,500 per violation. Abante Rooter and New York Life agreed to the current TCPA class action settlement following an October 2016 mediation session. Under terms of the settlement, New York Life has agreed to put up a settlement fund totaling $3.35 million. This fund will cover payments to qualifying Class Members after...


Law360, New York (February 24, 2015, 3:35 PM EST) — A Florida federal judge on Monday finally approved a $6 million settlement and certified a nationwide class of consumers who received autodialed or pre-recorded calls from Vivint Inc. or affiliate marketers, ending a suit that accused the home automation and security company of violating the Telephone Consumer Protection Act. U.S. District Judge William J. Zloch certified a nationwide class of consumers who, beginning in September 2008, had received a telemarketing call from Vivint or its marketing affiliates that used a pre-recorded message or was made with