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Acknowledgments

Acknowledgments

Credit and credit scoring can be a mysterious, complex subject, which means any journalist trying to cover this area of personal finance needs great sources. I've been extraordinarily fortunate to have found experts who not only knew their fields but who were willing to spend time helping me understand them, too.

At the top of this list is Craig Watts, spokesman for Fair Isaac Corp., who invested hours researching and carefully answering my endless questions. Several of his colleagues at the company were also generous with their time and expertise, including Ryan Sjobald and Lamont Boyd.

Allen Bond, Ginny Ferguson, and Don Scott were among the many mortgage professionals who helped me learn about the home lending game, returning my calls even as their own phones rang off the hook during the refinance boom. My credit card and insurance sources are likewise too numerous to list, but special thanks to Gerri Detweiler of UltimateCredit.com, Robert McKinley of CardWeb, Robert Hunter of the Consumer Federation of America, Gail Hillebrand at Consumers Union, Deanne Loonin and Robin Leonard at Nolo Press, and the folks at Insurance Information Institute, VISA, and Citibank. Thanks, too, to Beth Givens of the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse and Linda Foley of the Identity Theft Resource Center for their insights into credit fraud.

Sam Gerdano of the American Bankruptcy Institute and Harvard professor Elizabeth Warren, author of “The Two-Income Trap: Why Middle Class Mothers and Fathers are Going Broke,” provided their vast knowledge and perspective about the bankruptcy epidemic in America.

Then there are the cheerleaders—the people who encouraged me to take on and complete this sometimes daunting project. Leading the charge was my husband, Will Weston, who picked up a lot of slack around the house and encouraged me to return to my computer on those many nights when I would have much rather watched a rerun of Friends.

My friend and colleague, Kathy Kristof, gave a realistic assessment of what was in store when juggling family, full-time work, and book writing—but told me to go for it anyway.

My editor, Jim Boyd, instantly understood why this book needed to be written and guided me expertly along its route to completion. He and his staff at Pearson Prentice Hall have been terrific.

Finally, I'd like to thank my readers who generously shared their experiences, opinions, praise, and criticism. Your letters and emails helped shape the information in this book and inspired me to keep digging for answers that could make a real difference in your lives.

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