Unfortunately, the failure to protect personal data and financial information is all too common. As identity theft continues to rise, taking proactive steps to safeguard the records that can put us most at risk is essential.
While the possibility is always present, the depth and sensitivity of information requested during the mortgage application process warrant added vigilance. While data integrity may not be a typical priority for prospective homebuyers, a few simple precautions along the way can prove well worth the effort.
One of the easiest ways to find out if your lender is taking care of your data is to ask. Before you share your social security number or other personal information, find out what steps are in place to keep it secure. At Open Mortgage, we use email filters and secure systems for email content, including attachments that prevent employees from sending any emails with social security numbers or other secure information. We have a secure portal that protects the attachments with passwords.
Answers to these questions along with confirming that the company is appropriately licensed in your state and reviewing their standing with the Better Business Bureau can reassure you that your lending partner values your privacy as much as you do.
Buying a home can be stressful, especially with the added pressure of a deadline or competitive market. But don’t let your sense of urgency force you into making bad decisions.
Stay conscious of the type of information you’re sending via email and ask for a more secure option if you’re concerned. Of course, we’ve all heard the person on the cell phone giving out a little too much information. Don’t make the same mistake in the name of expediency.
Applying for a mortgage can also attract the attention of companies who are monitoring your credit activity. Make sure you know your lender’s preferred means of communication so you can avoid being duped by someone with bad intentions. You can also cut down on unwanted solicitations by contacting the credit bureaus to opt-out of pre-screened offers in advance; the toll-free Consumer Reporting Agency opt-in and opt-out phone number is 1(888)-567-8688.
Before, during and after buying a home, it’s a good idea to keep an eye on your credit report. Each of the three major credit bureaus provides free annual reports that allow you to review your status. Not only will this give you insight into your creditworthiness and a path to improving it, but it will also offer an opportunity to spot fraud early on and report it.
If a mortgage is in your future, trust the professionals at Open Mortgage to lead the way. Call me today!