The Finance Blogger

Protection from Identity Theft!

Protection from Identity Theft!Protection from Identity theft is a serious issue. This is the final series of 3 posts about real estate title fraud and identity theft. This post discusses how you can protect your self from both of these criminal activities.

Without being paranoid, take these steps today to protect yourself from identity theft. They are easy and do not take any time at all really, it just means that you need to be more careful about how you conduct your personal business and how to avoid this information from being shared with people who might take advantage of this personal information.

Protection from Identity Theft! – How to Protect Your Self

The (CAAMP) Canadian Association of Accredited Mortgage Professionals offers the following tips and suggestions to help consumers avoid becoming victims of real estate title fraud:

  • Never supply any personal information to anyone unless you know the person with whom you are dealing and only if it is necessary in your opinion
  • Carry minimal identification. Never carry your SIN card with you. Never carry your pin numbers for bank cards etc with you. Memorize them!
  • Always check  all credit and financial reports each month from your bank statements – make sure that there are no unauthorized transactions.
  • Ask credit bureaus for your credit rating and review it regularly. Check to see if there are any unusual searches or loans that you are not aware of.
  • When buying or selling a home, rely on a real estate professional for both legal and real estate services. Choose someone who can be trusted, and always ask – and contact – referrals.
  • When closing a mortgage transaction, make sure you understand what you are signing. As boring and laborious as it is, take the time to read the documentation and verify that it is doing what you expected and requested. Ask questions and check the accuracy of the documentation.
  • Although they cannot do much, nor seem willing to,  you should contact police if any identity theft has taken place to have it on record as support for potential court situations.

More Recommendations

Other recommendations and tips that consumers can use for increased protection from identity theft are:

  • Always guard your mail and promptly remove mail from your mailbox after delivery. Especially from mail boxes that are not locked
  • Ensure mail is re-routed if you are going to be away on vacation. Also if planning to move or change your mailing address. Have someone you trust pick up your mail and place it inside your home or save it for your return.
  • Shred anything with your name, address or SIN on it instead of just tossing it in the garbage such as receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, physician statements and credit offers you receive in the mail.
  • Never give your Social Insurance Number (SIN) out and only when absolutely necessary. Ask to use other types of identifiers when possible.

Privacy Issues

  • Don’t carry your SIN card or your birth certificate with you– leave them in a secure place
  • Change your passwords on a regular basis and use smart passwords. Avoid using passwords that are related to your address or other personal information. Memorize them, do not carry them with you in written form.
  • Use passwords on your credit card, bank and phone accounts that require a combination of letters and numbers. Memorize them. Do not under any circumstances carry them with you.
  • Avoid using easily identifiable information like your mother’s maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SIN or your phone number for your passwords.
  • No one really wants bills, however if one does not arrive at the usual time it could indicate something is not right, pay attention to your billing cycles. Follow up with creditors if your bills don’t arrive on time.

With a little work and paying attention to details most people can avoid identity theft and real estate fraud. Always be vigilant and never let your guard down.

Paranoia vs. Taking Precautions

There is a huge difference between being paranoid, vs. just keeping an eye on your personal details and following a few simple rules outlined in this series of blogs.

If you have suggestions or would like to leave a comment please do so. We will add them to our blog if they make sense and are not considered spam. Anyone who has experienced identity theft, are also welcome to leave comments to help others understand what can happen and protect yourself as well from being a victim to identity theft or real estate title fraud.

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