Protect Yourself from Real Estate Identity Theft

By Molly Miller | July 15, 2019
mountainside props real estate identity theft

Buying a new home is an exhilarating time in your life. It’s the beginning of a new chapter, a crucial structure to the future you’re building for yourself. To deal with identity fraud during such a milestone period in your life is damaging— we’re here to help you prevent that.

If you’re in the market for a new home, read on. You’ll learn some new tips about keeping your identity secure and avoiding fraudulent scams— and feel safe and excited as you take the steps towards homeownership.

  1. Protect your Details

Whether you’re buying a house, selling it, or both, one thing remains consistent: you’re going to be filling out a lot of paperwork. These filings will have a lot of your sensitive information in it— and if they get into the wrong hands, it means trouble. If any of your papers are digital, it’s wise to encrypt, lock, and password-protect them.

  1. Be Password Smart

There’s no point in locking all your information down with a password if it’s easy to hack. Never, ever give your password out digitally—that means no texts or emails. We also recommend using a password generator to keep it harder to guess—numbers or words (like birthdays or names of loved ones) are not the best choices.

  1. Understand your Paperwork

Be sure that you are up to speed with everything happening in this transaction. Sometimes, real estate paperwork can be overwhelming— and in those cases, some buyers begin to dive in without checking what they’re signing. If you don’t know what part of your paperwork means, or don’t understand why you need to provide a certain document, speak to your realtor. That’s what they’re here for.

  1. Be Wary of Public WiFi

Free train or cafe internet may be great for working, but it’s not ideal for filing sensitive documents. Third parties can easily mine your information this way! If you’re working on your real estate paperwork in a public space, ensure that no personal details (such as your SSN) are being shared while you’re logged in to that network.

  1. Face-to-Face Meetings are Important!

It’s tempting to do everything over the phone and computer these days, but when it comes to working with a realtor or lender, we recommend making these meetings face-to-face— especially when you’re handing over paperwork.

  1. Keep up to Date with Scams

Stay informed. Money wiring scams are rampant right now, and potential homebuyers are an easy victim. Read up on how these scammers get your information and stay vigilant, and remember:  if you get an email from your “realtor,” but something seems off, it might not be them.

  1. Find out Where your Information is Being Stored

Talk to your realtor about where your paperwork and sensitive information is being stored. Ensure that it’s been safely secured and that you know exactly who has access.

  1. Hold Off on Posting Those Pics

It can be tempting to share your home buying process with your social media followers, but there’s a nasty catch—scammers can easily mine your information this way. It’s best to keep those posts in a private setting— or hold off until the application process is complete.

  1. Stay Sharp

Trust your instincts. If something seems suspicious, it very well could be. Listen to your gut:  never give your information to anybody you aren’t 100% sure you trust.

  1. Work with a Realtor you can Trust

The right realtor will make this process everything you need it to be: secure, straightforward, and exciting. Before you dive into your application process, meet your potential realtor and get to know them. When you know you can trust them, it’s time to forge ahead.

 

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