Victim Of Indentity Theft: Identity Theft During Mortgage Process
Identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in America and every consumer should always make sure that their personal credit information is not accessible to anyone. Anyone can be a victim of identity theft. All the thief needs is your name, social security number, and date of birth and the thief can have a field day by opening fraudulent credit accounts. The outcome on the victim can be devastating and can plummet the victim’s credit scores. Worse yet, if the identity theft victim is in the process of purchasing a home, it will delay the victim’s mortgage application process for many months or even beyond that. It is almost impossible for a mortgage loan borrower to get a mortgage loan approval if they are a victim of identity theft until the credit report has been sorted out and resolved. Mortgage underwriters do not know what is fraudulent and what is legitimate. On another note, the true credit scores of the identity theft victim cannot be determined due to the drop in credit scores from the perpetrators fraudulent use of the victim’s credit.
Discovering That You Are A Victim Of Identity Theft
Victims of identity theft do not find out that they have been victimized until weeks or months after they have been the target of the thief. Many do not find out until they apply for credit and the creditor tell them that they have not been paying their bills or that their credit scores are super low. The first thing you need to do if you find out that you are a victim of identity theft is to contact your local police department and file a police report. Make sure you make multiple copies of your police report and keep the original in a safe place because your police report will be your ticket in solving your identity theft problems. Do not expect to resolve this issue in weeks or months. Many victims of identity theft can have credit issues pop up years later and your only proof that you have been victimized will be your police report. You need to get a copy of your credit report from the three giant credit reporting agencies and review your credit . All of the fradulent credit items need to be noted and you need to write a letter to each of the three credit reporting agencies along with a copy of your credit report and tell them that those items are not yours and that you are a victim of identity theft. You also need to demand to the credit bureaus to immediately remove all the credit items that do not belong to you including the late payments. I would also strongly recommend that you request the three credit bureaus to place a fraud alert on your credit reports which notify creditors to verify the credit applicants identification prior to extending new credit.
How To Avoid Being A Victim Of Identity Theft: Safeguard Your Personal Information
To avoid being a victim of identity theft, you need to safeguard your personal information containing your name, social security number, date of birth, and address. Never give out personal information out unless it is absolutely necessary such as applying for an automobile loan or mortgage loan application. Beware of ridiculous internet offers from the internet where they offer you instant credit and need to provide your credit information. Unless it is a mortgage lender, never provide anyone copies of your tax returns, W-2s, bank statements, copies of your credit reports or pay check stubs. Never throw out paperwork containing your personal financial information unless you shred them through a shredders. You can pick up new shredders these days really cheap. Identity thieves usually go dumpster diving: Going through garbage looking for paperwork containing people’s financial papers.
Identity Theft Victim: Important Contact Information
If you have been a victim of identity theft, you need to file a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission after you get a police report from your local police department or Sheriff’s department. If you live in a rural area, contact your local state police district. Here is the Federal Trade Commission contact information:
Toll free phone at 1-877-438-4338
Identity Theft Clearinghouse
Federal Trade Commission
600 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.
Washington D.C. 20580
Credit Reporting Agencies: Experian, Equifax, Transunion
Also contact the three credit reporting agencies and request that fraud alerts be placed on your credit profile. A fraud alert will alert the creditor you are applying for credit to contact you prior to granting credit.
Experian, PO Box 1017, Allen, TX 75013; 1888-397-3742
Equifax, P.O. Box 740250, Atlanta, GA 30374; 1-800-525-6285
TransUnion, P.O. Box 6790, Fullerton, CA 92634; 1-800-680-7289
Mail the three credit reporting agencies copies of your police reports and copies of your credit report containing the fradulent credit items. Circle the items that do not belong to you and demand to have them removed.