Title Company Fails To Protect Credit Information

Q: Two weeks ago I refinanced my house. The title company gave me a CD with all the signed documents. Two days ago I looked at it for the first time and discovered the disc did not contain my documents but those of another couple who closed on the same day. I saw their full names, address, incomes, SSNs, DOBs, all their credit card information and other personal financial information.

I contacted the title company immediately because I feared that the title company had given my information to someone else. They claim my information was not given to anybody else. I have since destroyed the disc I received. My concern is that the title company doesn’t seem to think it’s as big a deal as I do. Any suggestions?

A: At best, the title company owes you an apology for giving you the wrong information and they should thank you for being honest enough and bringing this information to their attention. The title company should alert the other couple of their mistake and may have a legal obligation to notify them.

While mistakes do occur, the title is responsible for that mistake. It’s too bad the company left you feeling that the mistake was no big deal. What you might want to do is send them a letter that explains to them what occurred and when you notified them and that you feel that they did not take the issue seriously. At the same time, you should send a copy of that letter to the corporate headquarters of the title company’s underwriter to the attention of the legal department.

While I don’t expect them to necessarily respond to you on the issue, at least you will put that specific title company office, as well as that company’s headquarters, on notice that you think it’s a major breach of someone’s confidential information.

If you really wanted to take it to the next level, you might also be able to file a complaint with the state regulators that oversee title insurance companies and agencies. After all, if this happened to you, it’s quite likely it has happened before with perhaps more serious consequences.

What you decide to do on this issue is really a judgment call on your part. You can only hope that your information was not sent to a different person. We’re not sure what kind of assurances the title company can give you for that issue.

If they honestly didn’t give your information to someone else and your receipt of the disk was an isolated incident, you might leave things as they are. However, if this title company has a pattern of making these mistakes and does not take the issue seriously, someone may have to take it to the next level.

There’s no way for you to determine whether the mistake was an isolated incident or not. You can monitor your credit and can even place a fraud alert on your credit history if you suspect that the information you have received from the title company is not truthful. While the information that flows in a residential real estate loan closing contains lots of details, you would be wise to check your credit history for any changes from time to time.

[ad#in_content_1500]Many credit reporting agencies have services to alert you of changes in your credit history and credit score. You could pay for one of those services for a couple of months or a year for peace of mind.

Otherwise, you can obtain a copy of your credit history for free from each one of the three major credit reporting bureaus (Equifax, Experian and Trans-Union) once per year. Go to AnnualCreditReport.com, which is the only site that the Federal Trade Commission requires the three credit reporting bureaus to maintain.

Using AnnualCreditReport.com, you can obtain one credit history now from one of them, then another from the second company in about four months and a last one from the third company in about eight months.

If you want more protection, consider purchasing a credit monitoring service provided by one of the three credit reporting bureaus or the one available at myfico.com.


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