Halloween is a great time to share bone-chilling tales. And when it comes to getting spooked, few things are more frightening than financial horror stories.
So, turn off the lights, light a candle and don’t look away. This could happen to you….
The abandoned credit card
It was a dark and stormy night. John and Ursula were starving and about to cook dinner when their power suddenly went out. Unwilling to wait another minute, they drove to the nearest diner and ordered a quick meal.
After paying the check, John wanted to rush home to check on the house. He was so concerned with getting home quickly that he left his credit card on the table. A man sitting nearby noticed the card, grabbed it off the table, and took it home to enjoy an online shopping spree.
What you can do
If you leave your credit card somewhere, don’t panic. Most credit card companies offer some type of fraud protection. A good course of action would be to call your credit card company, put a hold on the card and explain your situation. If any transactions have processed since you last used the account, you can dispute them right then and there.
Buried alive in debt
Suzanne, a single woman in her 20s, lived alone and worked two jobs. She made good money, but also had a taste for expensive clothing and dining out. On top of her spending, Suzanne started making late payments and incurring penalty fees.
One dreary afternoon, Suzanne sat down to do her bills. After opening her first credit card statement, she turned ghostly white. Her minimum payment had grown to over $150/month. She then looked down and to see each piece of mail had red stamps on them saying “PAYMENT DUE” or “FINAL NOTICE.” It was at this moment that Suzanne knew she was getting buried alive in debt.
What you can do
Managing debt is all about planning. To help avoid debt, find a budgeting style that works for you and build an emergency fund. If you find yourself already in debt, try these five easy ways to pay it off.
A nightmare on loan street
Dale had a cousin, Eddie, who needed a loan. However, Eddie’s credit score was dreadful so he needed Dale to cosign. Dale knew that Eddie wasn’t the sharpest guy when it came to personal finances, but he cosigned the loan anyway to help out a family member.
Three months later, Dale gets a disturbing call from the loan company. Eddie hasn’t made one payment and is not returning their calls. As the cosigner, Dale is equally responsible for the debt. If Dale can’t get in touch with Eddie, he’ll be stuck in a loan nightmare.
What you can do
To avoid this situation, there are some things to learn before you cosign. Understanding what it means to be a cosigner can help you make an educated decision. In the end, consider all possibilities, good and bad, before signing on the dotted line.
The cable bill phantom
Ricky was a huge fan of digital entertainment and had a package deal from a local cable service. Late one night, Ricky tried to use his landline phone – but it was dead. Next, he tried to turn on his cable – it was dead, too. Finally, Ricky took out his laptop and tried to get online – his Wi-Fi had flatlined.
Using his cellphone, Ricky called his provider to see what was going on. Someone had apparently charged dozens of pay-per-view movies to his account. The company said they shut down his services due to the unpaid bill and would not turn them back on until the balance was paid in full.
What you can do
Unauthorized charges can happen to anyone. If you find yourself in this situation, explain your circumstances to a company representative. Ask them for details of the charges and see if they can identify the source of the requests. By taking action, you could get the phony charges wiped off your bill.
Forgetting your credit card or cosigning a bad loan could make anyone want to scream.
Hopefully these stories shed light on some dark situations and will save you from becoming the next victim.
The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of OneMain. The information in this article is provided for education and informational purposes only, without any express or implied warranty of any kind, including warranties of accuracy, completeness or fitness for any particular purpose. The information in this article is not intended to be and does not constitute financial, legal or any other advice. The information in this article is general in nature and is not specific to you the user or anyone else. The author was compensated by OneMain for this post.
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