Credit Bureaus Change How Medical Collections Are Reported

Experian, Equifax and Trans Union have agreed to change the way that collections for medical debt is reported on consumers’ credit reports.  Medical collections have always been considered by many not to be a very good indication of how well a consumer manages his or her money.  Medical debt is often unexpected and therefore hard to prepare for.  And, because insurance companies act the way that they do, often times medical debt goes to collection before the consumer even knows what he or she actually owes.

The new changes are:

•   Paid medical collection debt will no longer be included on consumer credit reports, as of July 1, 2022.

•   The time period before unpaid medical collection debt will appear on a consumer’s report will be increased from six months to one year, also effective July 1, 2022. This change gives consumers more time to work with insurance and/or healthcare providers to address medical collection debt before it appears on credit reports.

•   Medical debt collection accounts under at least $500 will no longer be included on consumer credit reports. This goes into effect the first half of 2023.

These are welcome changes in my opinion.

Trans Union database hacked

Trans Union’s TLO database was hacked recently and its contents posted elsewhere on the internet.  TLO is a massive database of personal information used by private investigators and law enforcement that Trans Union has collected.  Trans Union, in case you didn’t know, is one of the three national consumer reporting agencies (aka credit bureaus).  The Kittell Law Firm often sues Trans Union on behalf of clients for violations of the Fair Credit Reporting Act.

A complete article about the recent hack of Trans Union’s TLO database can be found here –   The personal information of consumers exposed by the hack included physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and the contact details of their relatives.

Home security company Vivint fined for using the credit histories of unwitting victims to obtain financing for prospective customers

Smart home security and monitoring company Vivint Smart Homes Inc. has agreed to pay $20 million to settle Federal Trade Commission allegations that the Utah-based firm misused credit reports to help unqualified customers obtain financing for the company’s products and services.

Under the settlement, Vivint will pay a $15 million civil penalty and an additional $5 million to compensate injured consumers.

In a complaint filed by the Department of Justice on behalf of the FTC, the Commission alleged that Vivint violated the Fair Credit Reporting Act (FCRA) by improperly obtaining credit reports in order to qualify potential customers for financing for its smart home monitoring and security products. The FTC also alleged that Vivint violated the FTC’s Red Flags Rule by failing to implement an identity theft prevention program, which is required of certain companies that regularly use or obtain credit reports.

“Vivint’s sales staff stole people’s personal information to approve others for loans,” said Daniel Kaufman, Acting Director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection. “For misusing consumer credit reports and other sensitive data, and harming people’s credit, this company will pay $20 million.”

Vivint uses door-to-door sales representatives working on a commission-only basis to sell the company’s home security devices and monitoring services, according to the FTC complaint.

The FTC alleged that some Vivint sales representatives used a process known as “white paging,” which involved finding another consumer with the same or a similar name on the White Pages app and using that consumer’s credit history to qualify the prospective unqualified customer. Vivint sales representatives also sometimes asked customers to provide the name of someone they knew who had better credit, such as a relative, then added that innocent third-party as a co-signer to the account without their permission, and used their credit history to qualify the prospective customer, according to the complaint.

If customers qualified using these deceptive tactics later defaulted on their loans, Vivint referred the innocent third party to its debt buyer, potentially harming that consumer’s credit and subjecting them to debt collectors, the FTC alleged. Many consumers whose credit reports were misused by Vivint sales representatives complained to the FTC that they were victims of identity theft after being contacted by Vivint’s debt collectors.

The FTC alleged that Vivint was aware of the problem, and in fact terminated many sales representatives for misconduct only to rehire some of them shortly thereafter.

In addition to the monetary judgment—the largest to date for an FTC FCRA case—the settlement requires Vivint to implement an employee monitoring and training program, as well as an identity theft prevention program. The company must also establish a customer service task force to verify that accounts belong to the right customer before referring any account to a debt collector, and must assist consumers who were improperly referred to debt collectors.

In addition, Vivint must obtain biennial assessments by an independent third party to ensure the company is complying with the FCRA. Vivint is also prohibited from engaging in the types of improper conduct detailed in the complaint.

The Kittell Law Firm has previously sued Vivint for impermissibly accessing our client’s credit report without his permission.  If you did not sign up for Vivint’s services but were contacted by debt collectors or found Vivint accounts or inquiries improperly listed on your credit reports, please contact the Kittell Law Firm as soon as possible to determine if you have a claim under the Fair Credit Reporting Act or as part of the FTC settlement.

Free Credit Reports a week for the next year

Due to the financial strain caused to consumers due to the coronavirus pandemic, the national credit bureaus are each offering a free credit report once a week (instead of just once a year) via  The free weekly reports will last through April 2021.

Just like the free annual reports, the free weekly credit reports do not include your credit score.

Be sure to take advantage of this limited time opportunity and, if you find any errors on your credit reports, please contact the Kittell Law Firm for assistance.

Hernando Business CEO Charged After Allegedly Installing Hidden Camera in Women’s Restroom

David Hunter Moore, 23, CEO of Moore Advanced, was arrested by Hernando police after female employees of Moore Advanced noticed a hidden camera in the bathroom used exclusively by female employees.  Moore has been charged with photographing and filming without permission.

Moore Advanced is a temp agency located on Highway 51 in Hernando, Mississippi.  David Hunter Moore is listed as the President and CEO of Moore Advanced.

The hidden camera was disguised as a phone charger and looked like this:

It is unclear how the long the hidden camera was in place in the women’s bathroom.  One female employee indicated that she had seen the charger off and on for a period of months but did not think anything of it at first.  This past Wednesday, the employee pulled the charger out of the socket and discovered a blinking light.  She took a photo of the device and then researched the device online.  At that point, she learned that the device also contained a hidden camera.

She alerted the Hernando police, who obtained a search warrant and, upon searching the premises, located two additional recording devices, as well as a body worn camera, which was allegedly found in David Hunter Moore’s desk.  Investigators will now review the captured footage and photographs for additional evidence and/or charges, particularly if the hidden camera was used to record any minors using the restroom.

In addition to contacting the Hernando police to assist with the criminal charges, any persons videotaped or photographed by the hidden camera should also contact an attorney to discuss a possible civil lawsuit against David Hunter Moore and/or Moore Advanced for invasion of privacy.  The Kittell Law Firm would certainly be interested in discussing a possible civil claim with any of the victims of this crime.

Act NOW to Help Deployed Servicemembers Receive Free Credit Reports While Actively Deployed

Active duty servicemembers are often at greater risk of identity theft and fraud because they may be deployed overseas or away from home for weeks or months at a time. In 2018, Congress passed a law to give active duty servicemembers the right to free credit monitoring services from the Big Three credit bureaus (Equifax, Experian, and TransUnion).

Unfortunately, the new law only requires the credit bureaus to provide “electronic notifications” of material changes in a servicemember’s credit report, i.e., email, text, or other electronic alerts. The law does not provide servicemembers with full free access to their credit reports when they receive an alert that something has changed.

While notification is good, its just not enough. Its like telling someone your family member was sent to the hospital but only telling you why if you pay them. Our actively deployed men and women deserve better. As the law currently stands, they can only find out the details of the changes that they are notified about if they buy a credit report or use their one free annual credit report. The credit bureaus should not be allowed to make the deployment of our military as a way to make money, by sending notifications of changes but not providing free access to see what has changed.

Fortunately, Congress gave the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) the power to mandate free credit reports as part of new requirements for free credit monitoring. The FTC has issued a proposed rule on credit monitoring but did not include free reports.

But we can do something about this oversight. Please use this link to go to the FTC website and tell the FTC that active duty servicemembers should get free online access to their credit reports when they get an alert that something has changed in their credit reports. Deadline to submit comments is Monday, January 7.

While there may be some delay to the FTC acting on the proposed rule due to the FTC currently being closed thanks to the government shutdown, you can still leave comments about the proposed rule via the above link.

What To Do If You Are Involved in a Car Wreck

Experienced car wreck attorney Christopher E. Kittell has several tips for steps to take if you are involved in a car wreck that is not your fault:

First, Call 911 and Report the Car Wreck

Even if the car wreck did little damage, call 911. Reporting the car accident to 911 will result in the police being called to the scene to investigate and, if there are serious injuries, an ambulance also being dispatched to help the injured.  The police report will be an important part of any lawsuit or insurance claimed filed as a result of the car wreck.

Exchange Information With the Other Driver

While you are waiting on the police officer to arrive, exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver.  If possible, take a picture of his or her insurance card and driver’s license.  Be sure to confirm that the address listed on the driver’s license is current and, if not, get the other driver’s current address.

Also, when talking to the other driver, take note of their condition and, in particular, if they are in any way impaired by alcohol or anything else.  If you smell alcohol or notice any other form of impairment, relay that information to the investigating officer when he or she arrives.

And, even though it may be the “polite” thing to do, do not say you are sorry or otherwise say anything that could be construed as admitting fault for the car wreck.

Talk to Witnesses to the Car Wreck

If there are any independent witnesses to the car wreck, be sure to talk to them and find out if they agree that the car wreck was not your fault.  If what they have to say is favorable to you, get their names, addresses and phone number.  And ask them to stay at the accident scene long enough to provide their statement to the investigating officer.

Take Photos and/or Video

Be sure to take photographs or video (or both) of the accident scene.  And the damage to your vehicle, inside and out.  And the other vehicle, including their license plate and, if possible, VIN number.

Talk to the Police Officer When He or She Arrives

When the car wreck is not your fault, it is important to convey your side of what happened to the police officer.  In Mississippi, the police officer typically obtains information from both drivers and, usually, any witnesses.  The officer then uses that information to make a determination as to who was at fault and creates a summary of how the officer thinks the car wreck occurred, including drawing a diagram of the car accident.

Get Checked Out by a Health Care Provider

If you have a serious injury, obviously, you should be taken by ambulance to an emergency room.  But, even if your injury is not serious, you should be checked out at either an emergency room or your  primary care physician.  The closer in time to the car wreck that you seek treatment, the better, as any delay in having your injuries treated could potentially be used to claim that the injuries are not related to the car wreck or were less serious than they are.

Contact Experienced Car Wreck Attorney Christopher E. Kittell and the Kittell Law Firm to Represent You

Last but not least, contact experienced car wreck attorney Christopher E. Kittell to represent you.  The Kittell Law Firm represents those injured in car wrecks anywhere in Mississippi.

Data Breach at Blue Cross Blue Shield

BCBS Data Breach

A potential data breach at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan may have exposed the personal information of approximately 15,000 of its “Medicare Advantage” customers.  The potential data breach occurred when a laptop of an employee of a vendor contracted by a Blue Cross Blue Shield subsidiary was stolen.

The laptop theft potentially exposed the names, addresses, dates of birth, genders, medications, medical diagnoses and provider information of the Medicare Advantage customers.  Fortunately, Social Security numbers and financial account information were not on the stolen laptop.

Blue Cross officials also claimed that there has been no indication to date that the stolen information has been accessed by any unauthorized person.  Hopefully, it stays that way.

Alleged Credit Card Fraud Culprit on the Run in Hernando

The Hernando Police Department is searching for a man who allegedly committed credit card fraud.

According to Hernando Police, the man has scammed people out of more than $13,000.

He may be driving a newer model gray Dodge Journey.

If you recognize him, call the Hernando Police Department at (662) 429-9096.

And, if you are one of his victims and need legal representation or assistance correcting the damage caused by the credit card fraud, please contact the Kittell Law Firm at (662) 298-3456.  The Kittell Law Firm is located in Hernando, Mississippi and is the only law firm in Mississippi who specializes in representing victims of identity theft and other financial fraud.

Don’t Be Fooled By Offers of “Free” Credit Reports

As I have blogged about previously, there are a lot of companies that offer “free” credit reports … that aren’t really free.  There’s always a catch.  You’ll even from time to time see their ads pop up on my other FCRA blog.  I do my best to block them but, unfortunately like the multi headed hydra of mythology, as soon as I cut off one website, two more pop up to take their place.

The moral of the story is that there is only one place where you can go to get your truly free credit report directly from the credit bureaus.  That place is    But you can only get one free credit report per year from each of Equifax, Trans Union and Experian.  You can also get a free credit report when you are denied credit but only from the credit bureau(s) whose credit report was used in the denial decision.

You can get a simplified version of your Equifax and Trans Union credit reports once a week by using but these reports often do not match what Equifax and Trans Union are really reporting about you, either because the information is old or is not classified in the same way that Trans Union and Equifax do.

If you use any other option to get a “free” credit report, you need to watch out and read the fine print, as you are probably signing up for something you may not want.

Here is a link to an informative article that underscores what I just said and regarding efforts to eliminate the confusion about which credit reports are truly free and which have strings attached –  Happy reading.