Identity theft is becoming a growing concern. Protectyourtitle.com reported that the average fraudulent Real Estate transaction cost $300,000. Compare that to the average cost of a Fruadulent credit card transaction which is $1200, you can see why Real Estate title fraud is becoming a growing concern.
Home Owners have had there identity stolen and then find that they are no longer on the title of the property they thought they owned. Mortgages have been drawn against properties unbeknownst to the homeowners. As consumers we need to be educated about Title fraud and its various implications on the likely the largest investment we will make in our lifetime.
Here are several tips to help protect you from identity theft.
- Before you give out any personal information find out how it will be used. If possible get this in the form of a written document.
- Watch were your money is going. View what is being spent on your credit cards, and other bills so you can see if there are purchases that you can not account for.
- Make sure that you protect your mail. Empty your mailbox regularly and deposit outgoing mail at the post office or collection boxes. If you are moving make sure that your mail is forwarded to your new address and promptly change your billing information with your service providers.
- Take advantage of passwords and key codes with bank cards, credit cards phone accounts.
- Don’t carry to much personal information or to many cards. The more you carry the higher the risk is that you will loss some valuable piece of personal information.
- Do not give personal information to people over the phone or internet that you didn’t initiate contact with. If you feel compelled to supply personal information than ask for contact information and contact them to verify there intentions.
- Shred your reciepts and credit applications. Or at the very least tear them. Believe it or not identity thiefs will go through your trash to obtain these documents.
- Avoid giving out your Social Insurance Number (SIN) unless it is absolutely necessary.
Following these simple tips will reduce your risk for identity theft. It will also reduce the risk that you will loose personal information that could result in Real Estate Title fraud as well.