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  1. I recently spoke to someone who is a discharged bankrupt who managed to get broadband with Virgin Media. Just to clarify, they got broardband with Virgin after they were discharged from bankruptcy. According to the moneysavingexpert website, Virgin Media is one of the companies you can haggle with.
  2. Halifax is part of the HBOS group which is owned by Lloyds TSB and 43% of that is owned by us tax payers. As far as I'm aware the HBOS group also owns: Bank of Scotland AA Savings Intelligent Finance Sainsbury's Bank (50%) Blair, Oliver & Scott (Debt recovery) Birmingham Midshires I don't know anything about HSBC or Barclays. I recommend the Cashminder account with the Co-Operative. They don't seem to be connected to a larger group, the account can be opened on the phone and you can pay in cheques etc at any post office so you don't need a Co-Operative branch in your town.
  3. Regarding your 3 points above, if your brother was on benefits, for example, and a creditor took him to court a judge would not make him pay more than £1 per month. It maybe worth writing to each creditor explaining the situation and asking them to freeze interest and offer £1 per month per creditor. One thing I know for sure is if nothing is done the interest will continue to spiral out of control. It can't hurt to ask.
  4. Any income your brother does get needs to be paid into a bank account that is not associated with Halifax. I suggest the cashminder account with the Co-Operative bank.
  5. You do need to avoid getting an account with a bank that you owe money to. I recommend the cashminder account with the Co-Operative bank. You can open that account on the phone and pay in cheques and cash into your account at the post office therefore you don't need to have a Co-Operative branch in your town. Click here >>> Cashminder As for a mobile phone I think you will need Pay As You Go and I think you'll be ok with any of them. I don't know about broadband.
  6. I suggest the first thing you do is open an account with a bank that doesn't have a connection with lloyds. Beware of the right to offset.
  7. I forgot to add, good for you wanting to negotiate with the creditors rather than goto payplan or CCCS. It's the way I've done with help from this site. Sending the template letter to ask them to hold the account may be worth while in gaining some breathing space, I can't see how it would hurt.
  8. First priority. I personally will only pay non-priority debts via standing order. The creditor can increase a direct debit at their end without telling you in advance which would leave you overdrawn. CCA's. The decision to CCA your debt's is your decision only. People here can advise on how to do it and where to go from there. The advantage of CCA requests would be that it would give you some breathing space.
  9. As for your negotiation letters I think you have the upper hand. Because you're on JSA a court wouldn't make you pay more than £1 per month, per creditor. Creditors already know this which means it is unlikely any court action would take place while receiving JSA. Keep in mind that creditors have no right to information about your redundancy money. You need to keep that aside to cover priority bills. If your situation doesn't improve in a year or two your creditor's may be open to offers of full and final settlements. If that occurs it is very important that you come back to this forum for guidance on how to do this properly. War of attrition I have learnt from dealing with my own debt that it is a war of attrition. At first I wanted the problem to disappear as quickly as possible but soon got used to the reality that I'm in this for the long game. Definition A war of attrition is a protracted conflict in which one side attempts to wear down its enemy by continuously engaging in battle. Which side are you going to be?
  10. I don't know about consumer direct but as for the OFT and trading standards they are not there to offer help. They are more to do with enforcement of rules and laws.
  11. Is that the Cashminder account? What exactly do they report to credit reference agencies?
  12. As you own a property they might go for a charging order to settle the debt. Bankruptcy could also put the property at risk. I'm not speaking from experience, just an observation.
  13. Voicemail hacking After reading about the voicemail hacking it occurred to me that it could happen to anyone, not just celebrities. Your voicemail could be hacked if you have not changed the pin from the default and if someone calls your mobile number and you don't pick up they can enter the default pin and listen to your messages. BBC story below Can my mobile phone be hacked? A question a lot of us have been asking over recent days, for obvious reasons. So I set about finding out about the threats to your phone and mine. I called the network I've been using recently, O2, in search of reassurance. They told me that the original hacking technique which made the phones of anyone who used voicemail insecure does now appear to be obsolete. It involved exploiting the fact that mobile phone operators gave customers default pin numbers - 0000 or 1234 - to access their voicemail from another phone. O2 say that when they investigated back in 2006, 40 customers were identified as having had their voicemail accessed without authorisation by the News of The World's Clive Goodman and Glenn Mulcaire. After that the network changed its system. "A customer is now required to personalise their PIN number from their mobile phone if they wish to access their voicemails from another phone. If a customer does not choose a PIN, they will not be able to remotely access any of their voicemails." But there are other threats out there - just look at this post on the technology site CNET. The security consultant Kevin Mitnick describes another technique that could allow someone to access your voicemail if they knew your phone number. Caller ID spoofing allows anyone with a modicum of technical know-how to get access to your voicemail by convincing the system that it's you calling. According to CNET, the technique has been used in the past to hack celebrities' messages. But rest easy - both O2 and Vodafone told me their systems were designed to make this technique impossible in the UK. Beyond voicemail Don't be too relaxed, though, if you are the owner of a smartphone. The fact that these mini-computers now store vastly more data - from e-mails to calendar appointments to photos - means that any intrusion can be all the more damaging. Last year a security firm called Vigilante Bespoke, which works to protect its clients' phones and computers from hacking, showed me just how vulnerable a modern smartphone might be. Techniques such as text message spoofing and fake wi-fi hotspots that can capture your phone are now available to those bent on mischief with your mobile. I checked in with Vigilante Bespoke this week and was told that new techniques are popping up all the time, when they examine their customers' mobiles for signs of vulnerability. On one client's phone they found a piece of software, a legitimate product, used by businesses and parents to monitor everything that happens on a mobile phone - from voicemail, to e-mails to web use. But in this case it had been installed without the client's knowledge, possibly when he put it down in a public place for a few minutes. Other threats to your mobile security - from scanners to tracking devices - involve a lot of technical knowledge and in some cases a great deal of investment of time and money from those bent on invading your security. But, as we've seen, for some journalists and private detectives backed by organisations with deep pockets, that's feasible if the target is deemed sufficiently valuable. Clueless users The security blogger Graham Cluley told me it was shocking how ignorant most of us were about the threat to our phones. "As devices become more complex and we store more of our lives on our cellphone it will become increasingly important to properly protect them," he says. "The mobile phone operators can't afford to ignore security, and should build in defences and guide users about how best to protect themselves." And even if your phone itself is perfectly secure, what about your computer? On Twitter yesterday George Michael made a series of allegations about the invasion of his privacy by journalists and the police. "In recent years it's gone way further than phone hacking," he said. Others who have been the target of newspaper investigations are suggesting that they were sent Trojans - e-mail attachments that allow someone to gain access to your computer. We still need to see more evidence on that , but a Panorama investigation earlier this year found that this technique had been used in at least one case. So the question to ask is not so much is my phone safe, but is all of my personal data, wherever it is stored, secure from the hacker? Luckily, most of us lead lives so mundane that we are unlikely to find ourselves targeted by the tabloids. That does not mean we can relax - our data may not be valuable to journalists, but for fraudsters it's a potential goldmine. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-14118995
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