The real estate industry handles billions of dollars every year. It is not a surprise that fraudsters target players in the industry every year. For example, criminals can steal your financial and personal information and use them to steal your money or identity. Below are a few tips to help you avoid such a misfortune while shopping for a house.
It's always a good idea to ask about something if you are worried during a home purchase. The more you know about the process, the better, and you can never have too much information. Talk to your real estate agent, mortgage broker, and everyone else who will be handling your sensitive information. Let them tell you how they will protect your data, how they plan to store the data, and who they will share the data with.
You don't have much to worry about if you are dealing with trusted professionals. If you don't know any professionals personally, ask for referrals from your trusted friends or family members. The broker who helped your friend negotiate their mortgage last year can come in handy. Your real estate agent can also connect you to other professionals whom they have dealt with successfully in the past.
Freeze Your Credit
Most fraudsters are all about financial gain. Fraudsters can steal your credit card information and use it to shop for purchases. A good way to prevent that from happening is to freeze your credit until you make an offer on a home. That way, no one will be able to open new lines of credit on your name or even access your credit report until you unfreeze it.
Use Theft Protection and Monitoring
If freezing your credit is too much of a bother to you, then you can take the next best step of contracting a monitoring service for identity theft and credit. The service will notify you of any suspicious activities associated with your account. For example, the service will notify you if someone opens a line of credit on your name. That way, you can take prompt action and prevent further damage in case someone uses your identity.
Be Wary of Unsolicited Offers
You might receive unsolicited offers during this period, especially if fraudsters know that you are looking for a home. Be wary of such offers because they are likely to be fraudulent. You should especially watch out for deals that look too good to be true. Run everything by your agent first; the agent is more likely to be experienced in real estate fraud than you.