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Identity Protection for Homebuyers

There are a lot of factors that go into purchasing a home besides finding the right location and the right house. A homebuyer must have an established credit history and generally a minimum credit score of 620 to be considered for a mortgage. Banks use this information to establish the borrower’s ability to repay the loaned amount.

However, many people do not check their credit scores unless they are applying for a line of credit. Which is when some people realize they are a victim of identity theft. When trying to purchase a home it can be devastating to find out you are not only not qualified for a home loan but also your personal information has been stolen. This could delay the home buying process while trying to get everything fixed.

What is identity theft?

Identity theft is when a person unlawfully uses someone else’s personal information for financial gain or to commit fraud.

What can Identity thieves do with your personal information?

  • Open new credit cards in your name
  • Make fraudulent purchases
  • Access personal accounts
  • Open utility and accounts in your name
  • Duplicate your bank cards
  • Change your billing address
  • Committing Criminal acts under your identity

Are you susceptible to identity theft or fraud?

Dumpster Diving
It is not beneath a thief to go through trash. To most, it may seem gross but the payoff for a criminal can be great by finding credit card bills, bank statements, medical insurance, and other personal information while rummaging. To better protect yourself from identity theft, invest in a paper shredder, preferably one that has cross-cutting to dispose of anything with personal information on it.

Mail theft
Mail is generally dropped off during the day before you get home, leaving bills and other personal information accessible to the thieves. It is recommended to use a lock on the mailbox. Another good deterrent is video surveillance.

Stolen or Lost Wallet
Once you realize your wallet is gone it is best to cancel your credit cards. However, thieves can cause a lot of damage with your state-issued ID or social security card. With their new identity, they could obtain employment which later messes with your taxes, rake up criminal activity on your record, and possibly even steal your retirement benefits.

Shoulder Surfing
When in public and people tend to leave themselves exposed to onlookers. If you are accessing an ATM cover the keypad and screen if possible, also ask anyone standing too close to step back. With so much technology this includes smart devices that you do banking on or log in to other accounts. Be aware of your surroundings and if someone is standing too close or interested in your activity.

 Wireless Hacking
Hackers can connect to unsecured public wireless networks to gain personal information. Once penetrated they can track the websites and login information to access accounts. Protect yourself by making sure your home network is safeguarded. Also, do not log into accounts on an unsecured public WIFI.

When criminals get a hold of personal information, they typically start using the information in less than 10 minutes. If you’re not even aware that your identity has been stolen, they can wreak havoc. Do not make yourself an easy target, protect yourself with the tips above. As an added layer of security, you can also sign up for Identity IQ an identity protection service. Receive special pricing when signing up through

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