The Sandoval Signpost

An Independent Monthly Newspaper Serving the Community since 1988

Community Bits

Recent scams and frauds reported to Attorney General King’s office

An early reminder came into the Attorney General’s office last month. A New Mexico resident received a phone call at his home from a “Midland Credit Management” representative attempting to collect a $2,000 Fingerhut debt from his wife. The “representative” gave the wife’s maiden name, also stating he had the last four digits of the wife’s social security number. The husband refused to verify any other information that was requested. Prompted by the suspicious phone call, the wife reviewed her own credit report and discovered she had no outstanding debt to Fingerhut.

New Mexicans facing foreclosures and seeking bankruptcy relief are being victimized by unscrupulous companies that are making their money problems worse, not better. Consumers are being contacted by companies that promise to save their houses for a fee, but do nothing to protect the homeowner. When it is too late, the company refers the homeowner into bankruptcy and may even find someone to fill out their bankruptcy petition. But, that person is usually not a lawyer and cannot represent the homeowner in the bankruptcy proceeding. A homeowner who files bankruptcy and represents himself may not fully know how to protect his home and may still lose it in the bankruptcy proceeding.

Attorney General Gary King’s office says there is potential trouble on the horizon for a significant number of New Mexico homeowners who have adjustable rate mortgages (ARMs). Recent national trends show nearly one out of five sub-prime mortgages of this type will end in foreclosure in the next couple of years.

The Attorney General’s office says the expected increased costs for the ARM loans when interest rates reset upward could make it difficult, if not impossible, for some homeowners to make their monthly mortgage payment.

Consumers may report scams and frauds they experience by forwarding suspicious emails to: publicinformationoff@ago.state.nm.us.

Rail Runner and RoadRunner fill barrels to feed thousands

In nearly a month since the effort started, the New Mexico Rail Runner Express collected enough food in its food drive to feed more than 120-families of four—or nearly 4,000 individuals. This is the second year the Rail Runner has teamed up with the RoadRunner Food Bank of New Mexico for the holiday season collecting non-perishable food items on the train. All eight collection barrels remained on Rail Runner trains through December 28th.

Rail Runner passengers were encouraged to bring a non-perishable food item on the train and deposit it into one of the collection barrels. RoadRunner Food bank collected the items and distributed them through their network of almost 700 agencies statewide that help feed approximately 240 thousand New Mexicans each year.

The New Mexico Rail Runner Express will continue running special Saturday service through the holiday season through January 5th.

For information–go to www.nmrailrunner.com or call 245-RAIL

Regifting: It’s time to ask, “Why not?”

—CONSUMER CREDIT COUNSELING SERVICES

Regifting has arrived. According to a recent survey by Money Management International (MMI), if you haven’t regifted, you are in the minority.

What was once a shameful secret is now a mainstream practice that receives increased attention during the holidays, when consumers are inspired or guilted into buying for everyone from family members to the dog-walker. MMI’s holiday site, www.regiftable.com, is a forum for all things regifting, including more than seven hundred consumer stories, running the gamut from the heartwarming to the horrifying.

This year, there are more reasons than ever to regift:

Everyone is doing it. Well, nearly. Fifty-eight percent of respondents in MMI’s 2007 holiday survey say they regift, or are considering doing so.

Times are tough. Rising gas and energy prices, home foreclosure rates, rising credit card minimum payments—the list goes on. Forty-two percent of MMI’s survey respondents regift to save money. With consumers expected to spend an average of $900 this holiday season (according to the National Retail Federation), many will accrue credit card debt that lingers well into the New Year.

Go green. For the first time in history, consumers are considering the impact of the holidays not only on their pocketbook, but on the environment. The good news is that “going green” doesn’t mean forgoing all gift-giving and decorating. Regifting is a small step towards reducing this holiday’s environmental impact.

It’s the thought that counts. MMI’s survey found that regifters have good intentions. Sixty-two percent regift because they think it is something the recipient would really like.

“Whatever reason you choose, being a savvy regifter is key. When people say, ‘really, you shouldn’t have,’ you don’t want them to mean it,” said Bran Wallin, spokesperson for Consumer Credit Counseling Services Southwest. “With a little care and common sense, you can help keep your holiday spending under control, and participate in the holiday tradition of gift-giving.”

For regifting dos and don’ts, interesting facts and figures, games, and more, visit www.regiftable.com. You can also share your regifting stories for a chance to win a prize.

 

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