While they’re never any fun to talk or think about, major data breaches and identity theft issues are becoming larger and larger problems today due to the wealth of information now accessed online. Hackers regularly attempt to steal everything from basic information to credit card numbers and social security, and with this data they can heavily impact several areas of civilian finances.
At Primary Residential Mortgage in Cascade, we’re here to help you steer clear of any such identity theft issues while completing a mortgage. Credit score and other financial areas are vital to a mortgage loan – here are some basic tips we can offer on steering clear of this at all times, including while securing a home loan.
When using email or any other kind of online messaging, be careful about sending any kind of sensitive information. We’re talking account numbers, social security numbers, down payment wiring instructions, or all similar areas.
Some of the largest breaches over the last several years have been in the email or messaging realms, and these areas are not considered totally secure. We recommend using fax, in-person or a dedicated file-sharing program with encryption if you need to send this kind of information for any reason.
Another area that’s less than perfect when it comes to security is public WiFi, such as the internet you connect to at your local coffee shop. These networks make it very easy for hackers to invade your devices, grabbing passwords, account numbers and all sorts of other data you don’t want them to have. Do not use these networks for any kinds of secure transactions, or for even so much as checking your loan balance online if you can help it.
Check Statements and Reports
You should be regularly checking bank, credit and tax statements for several reasons, and avoiding identity theft is one of them. Any suspicious activity should not be allowed to fall through the cracks, as it could signal issues with your online security. Check your credit report at least once annually, as well.
Passwords and Fraud Alerts
There are a couple proactive areas of online security you can look to, first and foremost using strong passwords. Don’t use the same password across every online login you have, and mix yours up using a variety of characters and symbols. Change your passwords every so often across all major accounts.
In addition, consider adding fraud alerts to your credit accounts as an additional precaution. These are generally free and require you to provide an extra authentication step when being identified. Fraud alert keeps your credit in good shape.
Phishing and Scams
If you ever receive an email that appears to be a financial institution requesting personal information or offering links, do not provide this information or click these. Legitimate institutions will never contact you in this way, but scammers will to attempt to steal your information.
For more on avoiding identity theft, or to learn about any of our mortgage services, speak to the pros at Primary Residential Mortgage in Cascade today.