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Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation

 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) - Consumers

 
  1. How do I file a complaint?
  2. What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?
  3. What is predatory lending? What assistance does the Commissioner of Financial Regulation provide for victims of predatory lending?
  4. Are prepayment penalties illegal in Maryland?
  5. What is a credit score? What factors influence my credit score?
  6. How can I obtain a copy of my credit report?
  7. Consumer Credit Publications
  8. List of Consumer Credit Licensees
  9. Mortgage and Foreclosure Information
  10. Related Links
 

How do I file a complaint?
Complaints may be filed via the Office of the Commisioner of Financial Regulation’s Complaint Page.

What should I do if I am a victim of identity theft?
Identity theft is the illegal process of stealing an individual’s personal identifiable information such as a social security number and incurring debt in the victim’s name. If you are a victim of identity theft:

  • Request copies of your credit report from Experian, Equifax and TransUnion, the larger credit reporting agencies and dispute any inaccuracies;
  • Contact the creditors to close the unauthorized accounts, change passwords or restrict access to the accounts;
  • Place fraud alerts and a victim’s statement on each of your credit files maintained with the major credit reporting agencies;
  • Request that the credit reporting agencies remove any inquiries referencing the fraudulent accounts;
  • File a report with your local police department;
  • File a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission;
  • File a complaint with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation;
  • You may place either a fraud alert or a security freeze on your consumer credit report by contacting each consumer credit reporting agency (Experian, Equifax, and TransUnion) and requesting the appropriate action;
  • See: The Office of the Commissioner of Financial Regulation’s Identity Theft Page for more information.

What is predatory lending? What assistance does the Commissioner of Financial Regulation provide for victims of predatory lending?
Predatory lending involves originating loans by deceiving the consumer on the benefits, the cost or the terms of the loan. You may file a complaint with the Commissioner of Financial Regulation if you believe that you are a victim of predatory lending.

Are prepayment penalties illegal in Maryland?
Not exactly. Prepayment penalties may be permissible under certain Maryland law and are subject to certain limitations. However, many Maryland laws do not permit prepayment penalties. The language in the contract governs and must be reviewed carefully. A prepayment penalty may be allowed depending on the contract.

What is a credit score? What factors influence my credit score?
Credit scoring is a tool creditors use to help determine to whom they will extend credit. A credit score is the total number of points awarded to each consumer based on specific factors. Creditors use many different formulas to create various credit scores. Depending on the formula used, points are assessed for many characteristics such as bill paying history, the number and type of accounts opened, late payments, collections accounts, age of accounts and bankruptcies.

You can improve your credit score by practicing creditworthy behaviors. Good creditworthy behavior includes being an informed consumer, paying bills when due and avoiding excessive credit.

Also, please see: Credit Reports - It Pays to Check Yours (Courtesy of Maryland Attorney General - Consumer Publications)

For further information, contact:
Commissioner of Financial Regulation
500 North Calvert Street, Suite 402
Baltimore, Maryland 21202
(410) 230-6100

 
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