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Here are 7 Coronavirus-Related Scams to be Aware of

Here are 7 Coronavirus-Related Scams to be Aware of

By Tracy L. Hirsch

Millions of Americans are losing money to financial scams related to COVID-19. Here’s how to protect yourself from becoming part of that statistic.

As we navigate these unprecedented times, it’s important to be aware of what’s going on around us. While many people are doing good things, such as raising funds for families affected by COVID-19 or collecting food donations, there are unfortunately others who are taking this opportunity to be deceptive.

There are multiple ways in which scammers are capitalizing on the pandemic, and some of them may seem legitimate if you don’t examine them closely. Here are 7 ways that scammers are trying to steal your information to hack into your bank account, and even worse, steal your identity.

1.) Emails that contain links to ‘COVID-19 relief money.’ If you receive an email that says you’ve been selected to receive relief funds from the government, do not click on the link that’s attached to that email.

The federal government has only sent out one stimulus check, and if another gets passed by Congress, it will once again be automatically deposited into your account or mailed to you directly.

If you have any issues or concerns with stimulus checks, taxes, and so on, it’s imperative that you go directly to the correlating government website yourself. The federal government does not send out links via email to obtain personal and financial information.

If you’re ever in doubt, go to your web browser and find the government website that pertains to your financial questions (i.e. tax payments, stimulus money, etc.), then call one of the numbers that are listed on that site.

2.) Emails that claim you have been in contact with someone who was diagnosed with COVID-19. If you have truly been in contact with someone who has or had the virus, a contact tracer will contact you by phone. If you do happen to get an email from a real contact tracer, it will only be to inform you that they are planning on calling you or texting you.

If you receive an email, text, or phone call from a supposed contact tracer, here’s how you know there legit — they will never ask for financial information or personal information, such as your social security number or bank account number. If they do, that’s a major red flag, and proves that they aren’t a real contract tracer.

Unfortunately, financial scams are more prevalent than ever due to living in a digital world.

3.) A group or individual on social media who asks for a COVID-19 donation. If someone you don’t know sends you a private message asking you to donate money to a fund, don’t do it. Many people claim that they are raising money for ‘COVID relief,’ and are pocketing the donations and/or stealing credit card numbers.

If you personally know someone who has been impacted by the coronavirus, or you are a member of a trustworthy organization or church that is collected donations, then that’s different.

Unfortunately, we can’t always trust strangers, and if you do want to donate to a general fund, make sure that you have verified its legitimacy in multiple ways.

4.) Letters, emails, or DMs regarding ‘investment opportunities.’ If you receive any type of correspondence that tells you to invest in Bitcoin (or other products and companies) in order to take advantage of the economic downturn related to COVID, don’t fall for it. There are many social media advertisements and emails that look legitimate, but aren’t.

If you choose to get into investments at any time, it’s important to contact a local, trustworthy financial adviser who can guide you in that process.

5.) Phone calls and texts stating that you’re eligible for free services due to the pandemic. If someone contacts you and says that you’re being given six months of ‘Direct TV’ for free or an extended warranty on your car due to financial hardships from COVID, don’t respond to it.

While some companies are offering flexible payments, you have to contact them in order to set that up. Additionally, legitimate car-related services, phone and internet providers, and insurance companies don’ t give out services for free in exchange for personal information.

If you have any doubts, it’s important to go to that company’s website directly or to call them yourself to verify what you’ve been told.

6.) Letters or emails that state you can receive a COVID-19 ‘At-home testing kit’ for a discounted price. If you receive an email with a link to a website that provides do-it-yourself COVID testing, don’t click on the link. If you’re truly concerned that you are ill, you should contact your physician and/or get tested at their office or at a local pharmacy.

Websites that sell DIY testing kits may steal your credit or debit information, and on top of that, they may never send you the product that you purchased.

7.) Emails that state you have been selected to receive special products in a subscription program that are designed to treat COVID-19. If you get an email that says you’ve been chosen to be on a VIP list where you’ll receive information and products (such as supplements) that prevent or cure coronavirus, there are multiple reasons not to sign up.

First, you’ll be billed monthly, and if you ever try to cancel your subscription, you can guarantee that it’ll basically be impossible to do so. Second, you may never receive any products. Third, if you do receive products, they could be unsafe. Always do your research!

As you can see, there are (unfortunately) many ways in which scam artists are trying to take advantage of consumers during the pandemic. If you’re ever in doubt, go with your gut. If something seems off or doesn’t seem real, either ignore it or do careful research to verify whether or not what you’re being told is legitimate and true.

If you have elderly parents or grandparents, be sure to make them aware of this too. Together, we can help protect one another from danger, while focusing on the good in the world. And while it seems like the ‘good’ is hard to find these days, it’s still there — I promise.

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch, Louisville Bankruptcy Attorney

Need a free consultation? Text or call me at (502) 435-2593!

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4 Important Reasons to Check Your Credit Report

4 Important Reasons to Check Your Credit Report

By Tracy L. Hirsch

Checking your credit report may not seem like a necessity, but here’s why you should take the time to do it.

In today’s world, it seems like our to-do lists as adults are never-ending, so the thought of adding one more thing to the list feels daunting (especially if it’s money related).

It’s important to note though, that just as we go to the doctor for an annual physical to make sure that we maintain good physical health, it’s vital to do a financial checkup to make sure that we have ideal financial health.

One of the best ways to achieve that is by checking your credit report annually. Once a year, you can go to www.annualcreditreport.com to see your report. Since you’re only allowed to check it once a year, it’s important that you save it as a PDF file so that you have it for future reference.

(As an aside, it’s important to note that most major credit reporting companies are allowing consumers to check their credit report on a weekly basis during COVID-19 to prevent fraud and to assess their financial situation.)

Here are four good reasons to check it:

1.) To be on the lookout for identity theft.

In a matter of minutes, someone can turn your whole world upside down by stealing your credit card number, social security number, or routing and checking account number. Hacking into online accounts and stealing mail are the most common ways that financial information is stolen.

One way to know if this has happened is to check your credit scores regularly. If they have dropped significantly, it’s important to look at your detailed report to see if credit cards or even mortgages have been open under your name.

If that’s the case, it’s imperative to immediately call the those companies to alert them of fraud. One way to catch this right away is to hire a company that specializes in detecting identity theft.

Accurate credit reports are vital to your financial health.

2.) To see why you were denied a loan or a line of credit.

If you go to your bank to apply for a mortgage, personal loan, or credit card, and are then denied, you are allowed to request a copy of your credit report that the bank originally requested from the credit bureau. Seeing the details on your report can help you pinpoint why you were denied.

If your debt-to-credit ratios on your other cards are too high, if you have applied for multiple lines of credit in a short period of time, or if you have had multiple late payments, those are grounds for denial.

3.) To make sure there aren’t any mistakes on your report.

Yes, large credit bureaus makes mistakes! It’s important to look at each account on your report with a fine-tooth comb to make sure that each one of your creditors or lenders has not put incorrect information about your account.

For example, if you know that you have never made a late payment on your car loan, and you see that your lender has reported two late payments or even missing payments, it’s vital to get that rectified immediately.

If you don’t, your credit scores will be negatively impacted, and possibly prevent you from getting approved for a much-needed loan, such as a mortgage. It’s also important to make sure that your account balances are accurate.

If you have an account that has been paid off in full, but your report shows that you still owe, it’s important to make sure that is rectified as well.

You can do this by reporting the incorrect information to the credit reporting company, as well as the lender on that account. It’s good to have your bank statements ready so that you can prove that you made your payment in full and on time.

4.) To understand why you received a judgment or collection letter from a creditor.

If you’re unsure why you are getting a letter from one of your creditors, or if you’re behind on your payments, but you think you owe less than they’re stating, it’s important to review your credit report.

When you do that, be sure to save it so that you can show it to your financial advisor or bankruptcy attorney, as those professionals will need a copy in order to see your entire financial picture.

Checking your credit report may seem like something that’s not important, but if you plan on applying for a line of credit or even renting an apartment, it’s vital to make sure that there aren’t any mistakes on your report and that no one has fraudulently opened accounts under your name.

If your credit report is less than perfect, and it’s due to owing a large amount of money to your creditors that you can’t afford to pay, contact me for a free consultation. I’ll help you determine if you can settle your debts or if a bankruptcy would be in your best interest.

My cell phone number is (502) 425-2593, and you can call me or text me 7 days a week!

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch


Need a free consultation? Text or call me at (502) 435-2593!

grocery delivery Louisville KY

Top 5 Grocery Delivery Options in Louisville

Top 5 Grocery Delivery Options in Louisville

By Tracy L. Hirsch

Are you looking for a way to get your groceries without having to leave your couch? Here are the best options!

As we try to navigate the pandemic by balancing work, online schooling, and multiple video calls per day, it’s helpful to find ways to eliminate unnecessary stress. If you feel like you don’t have time for errands and you also want to avoid large crowds, having your groceries delivered helps you achieve both of those goals.

Not only does delivery help save time, but it can help save on gas money too. During a time when finances and budgeting are of vital importance, saving money (and time) when you can is a big deal!

We’ve compiled a list of grocery delivery options with all of the details that you need, such as delivery fees, store choices, and more. Each of these options can be used online on your computer or through an app on your smartphone.

Grocery delivery can be a time saver for you, as well as a great way to promote local jobs.

Here are five ways that you can get groceries delivered straight to your doorstep:

1.) InstaCart – This option has the most store choices, and provides grocery delivery from both large membership warehouses as well as smaller grocery stores.

If you use Instacart in Louisville, KY, you can have items such as food, personal care items, and office supplies delivered from Costco, Sam’s Club, The Fresh Market, Kroger, Aldi, CVS, Staples, Petco, Big Lots, and more.

The delivery fee ranges from $3.99 to $7.99, along with a $2.00 to $4.00 service fee for one grocery order drop off (the fees are higher on the weekend and in the evenings, so if you choose a weekday morning, for example, you’ll most like only pay around $6.00 total for delivery and service fees).

Membership subscription is optional, but if you sign up for a membership, it’s $9.99 billed monthly or $99.00 a year (billed immediately) for unlimited deliveries.

With Instacart, you’re able to choose replacement items for things that are out of stock, and you can add a note to individual items in your shopping cart. For example, if you prefer green bananas instead of ripe ones, you can a note to the banana order asking your shopper to choose green ones.

You can also send messages to your shopper as they’re shopping, and you receive text updates when your shopper is at the store, checking out, and on their way to your house!

2.) Kroger Delivery and Kroger Click ListKroger grocery delivery is $9.95, and you can order additional items such as cookware, office supplies, pet food, and more.

If you opt for Kroger’s ‘Click List,’ you can order from your local store and drive there for pickup, where a Kroger employee will load up your car, and that service is free!

3.) Shipt – In Louisville, Shipt delivers items from Target, Meijer, CVS, Office Depot, and Petco. Shipt requires a membership of $14.00 billed month or $99.00 a year (billed immediately), and is very similar to Instacart (except Instacart doesn’t require a membership subscription).

If you’re particular about your order or want to be able to tell your shopper that you accidentally left some things off of your list, Shipt gives you direct communication with them (just like Instacart).

That way, if you need to replace certain items that are out of stock or add extra ingredients for your dinner recipe, you can do that even after you’ve submitted your order (as long as your shopper is still at the store).

You’ll receive text messages regarding updates on your order, item replacement, and the ETA for when your shopper will arrive at your house.

4.) Amazon Prime – If you have Amazon Prime, you can get some of your favorite treats from Whole Foods delivered within two hours. Since you’re already signed up for a subscription plan (Amazon Prime), one of the perks is that you can have your groceries delivered for free!

Don’t feel like cooking? You can order entrees, sushi, soups, salads, cakes, breads, and other freshly-made items from Whole Foods. Every once in a while, you need to toss the recipe book aside and treat yourself!

5.) WalmartWalmart grocery delivery is similar to the Instacart setup ~ a membership is not required, and you can get groceries brought to your front door $7.95 to $9.95 per order. If you want a monthly membership, it costs $12.95, and an annual membership costs $98.

This could be a great option if you need a one-stop-shop that also provides a wide variety of school supplies, sunscreen, pool toys, art supplies, and other seasonal items.

We’re living in unprecedented times, and juggling the stresses of our modern era has gotten all the more complicated during the pandemic. While we always recommend finding ways to cut out unnecessary spending, paying a grocery delivery fee seems like a legitimate exception.

If spending a few extra dollars allows you to avoid crowded stores and to devote more time to your job and/or family, then why not do it? If it helps you keep your sanity, you can’t really put a price on that. Also, you’ll be boosting the local economy by supporting the grocery shoppers who serve you.

It’s a win-win for all involved!

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch


Need a free consultation? Text or call me at (502) 435-2593!

eviction Louisville KY

Are You Facing Eviction Due to COVID? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Are You Facing Eviction Due to COVID-19? Here’s What You Need to Know.

By Tracy L. Hirsch

The federal eviction moratorium expired over the weekend, and it’s important to know how that may affect you and your family.

Over 12 million renters across the U.S. are currently at risk of eviction as the federal eviction moratorium that was protecting them has now expired after four months. The moratorium protected renters from being forced to move out due to unpaid rent in relation to the coronavirus.

The federal moratorium has specifically protected renters who live in homes that were purchased (by the landlord) with a federal mortgage loan, as it prohibited landlords from filing evictions.

While some renters were able to keep paying rent due to expanded unemployment benefits, those benefits are being drastically reduced just as the moratorium is being lifted. The expiration of both the eviction protection and sizable unemployment checks has the potential to wreak havoc on millions of families.

About 110 million Americans are renters, and about 20 percent of them could be facing eviction at the end of September. If you’re one of those people, it’s important to set a plan in place to protect yourself from being sued by your landlord.

Many Americans are facing the threat of homelessness due to an impending influx of eviction filings this coming fall.

1.) Create a financial plan. First, it’s important to note that even if you were protected from eviction over the past four months, you still owe your landlord the rent that wasn’t paid for the months of April, May, June, and July.

The moratorium was set so that landlords weren’t allowed to evict tenants due to unpaid rent (due to the economic impact of the pandemic), but the total unpaid amount has to be paid back.

It’s crucial to have that money set aside in order to avoid being evicted at the end of this month.

2.) Find out when the back rent is due. Even though the federal eviction ban expired this past Friday (July 31st, 2020), the landlords who are part of that eviction ban have an obligation to give 30 days’ notice to their renters before officially going to the local court to file an eviction.

So at the very least, you have until the end of August to pay your past due rent.

In addition to that, there are different eviction bans in each state, which may give people more time. Unfortunately for Kentuckians, the statewide eviction moratorium that was set in place by Governor Andy Beshear has now expired alongside the federal one.

On July 27th, the Kentucky Supreme Court officially gave Kentucky courts permission to recommence the acceptance of eviction filings. Bottom line? If you owe past due rent in Louisville, it’s due this month.

3.) Can’t pay your back rent? Weigh your options. The first thing that you should do is contact your landlord, and let them know that you can’t pay the lump sum at once. In Additionally, inquire about setting up a repayment plan.

For example, if your rent is $800 a month, and you owe four months’ worth ($3,200), ask if you can make payments toward that with your regular rent check moving forward. If you can afford to pay $1,000 a month for rent, ask your landlord if you can put the extra $200 a month toward your past due rent.

It’s worth it to ask because most landlords would rather keep a renter who is responsible and making an effort to repay as opposed to filing an eviction and trying to find a new renter.

If a repayment plan isn’t feasible at this point or if your landlord won’t agree to that, you could file for bankruptcy, especially if you have other debts that you can’t pay back.

If you want to stay in your rental, you could put your past due rent in a Chapter 13 plan. As soon as you file a Chapter 13, it will stop the eviction proceedings, and prevent your landlord from suing you. You’ll list your landlord as a creditor, and pay all of your back rent (plus any other unpaid debts) over a five-year period.

As long as you make your Chapter 13 payments on time every month and pay them in full, and also stay current on your rent payments (outside of the Chapter 13 plan), your landlord can’t evict you.

If you’re already being evicted and have to move, you can file a Chapter 7 to discharge the balance that you owe on a past due eviction, as well as any other debts.

For most Louisville residents, things are stressful right now financially, and I want you to know that I’m here to help. If you have questions about unpaid debt and past due rent, or you’re facing foreclosure or car repossession due to COVID, bankruptcy could be a viable option for you.

I am more than happy to discuss your options with you during a free consultation. You can text me or call me at (502) 435-2593, or email me at tracy@hirschbklaw.com.

We can get through this together!

All the best,

Tracy L. Hirsch


Need a free consultation? Text or call me at (502) 435-2593!