Here are some steps you should take if you suspect credit fraud or identity theft with an elderly relative. Q: I have the power of attorney for my grandmother who lives in Texas. I, however, live in Atlanta. I’ve input …
Identity theft scams are taking the form of HUD home sales. Don’t let the promise of a great deal on HUD home lure you into falling for ID theft. Even with a HUD home, which is just a home with an FHA loan that has gone into foreclosure, you still need to perform your due diligence as a home buyer. Use a real estate agent who is licensed to sell FHA loans and have a real estate attorney check on the validity of the sale and the real estate agent. As always, be very careful of giving your Social Security number or any other personal information to anyone you haven’t fully checked out for security.
The average identity theft case takes 26 hours to resolve, but you may be dealing with the effects of identity theft for several years. If someone has used your social security number or other personal information to create a synthetic or false identity, chances are they have used your personal information to create multiple identities. A sophisticated identity thief may have created a very messy situation that could take you a very long time to unravel. Watch this Expert Real Estate Tips video and others on Identity Theft to learn how to protect yourself and your personal information.
A proactive way to prevent identity theft is to freeze your credit file with the three credit reporting bureaus, Equifax, TransUnion and Experian. Freezing your credit file means no one can open a new account. It does not close your exisitng lines of credit, but it means that no one can open a new credit account or line of credit. If you’re young and trying to open lines of credit to establish your credit history you probably don’t want to freeze your credit file. However, seniors who don’t need to open more lines of credit and maybe have paid off their mortgage can consider freezing their credit to prevent possible identity theft. Also, consider freezing your credit if you think your personal information was compromised and you’re at risk for identity theft.
Do you know what is on your credit report? One of the first signs of identity theft is false information or mistakes on your credit report. Get a free copy of your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com from each of the three credit reporting bureaus once a year. Check your credit report for accuracy, and look for suspicious information that can suggest identity theft. Consider using a credit monitoring service to protect yourself against identity theft. This will help keep an eye on your credit history all the time, rather than only once a year by pulling your credit report from AnnualCreditReport.com.
Who is responsible for protecting your identity and credit history? Only you are responsible for making sure your personal information is safe. The best way to protect your credit is to check your credit regularly through AnnualCreditReport.com. If you discover any errors or mistakes, report the errors immediately so the banks and credit reporting bureaus can help resolve your credit disputes. If you do want to hire a credit monitoring service, make sure you use a service that will help prevent fraud, protect your personal information, and resolve any disputes.
Guarding your personal information is the key to protecting yourself against identity theft. Don’t carry unused credit cards and your social security card in your wallet. Don’t give out your social security number to doctors. Ask your employer what they do to keep your personal information safe. If you are careful about protecting information like your social security number and mother’s maiden name, you can reduce your risk for identity theft. Watch this Expert Real Estate Tips video for more identity theft solutions.
Identity theft can happen when your personal information is stolen to open up new lines of credit. Identity thieves commonly use your name, address, social security number and mother’s maiden name to create fake identities. Eventually, you will be held responsible for these accounts that you didn’t know existed. The long-term damage to your credit history from identity theft can be more damaging than the short-term effects. Watch this Expert Real Estate Tips video on Identity Theft for more information on how to protect yourself from identity theft.
What can your company do to prevent identity theft? What steps can companies take to achieve identity theft protection and prevention? Learn about preventing identity theft here.