Recently I attended a seminar by an FBI representative on various types of fraud affecting the mortgage and real estate industries, and of course, our buyers and sellers. Then I had an enlightening conversation with a business associate whose focus is consumer protection and education.
Did you know that identity theft is America’s fastest growing white collar crime? The average dollar amount charged in identity theft is $92,893 and only 1 out of 700 thieves are ever prosecuted. And,the identity theft victim spends on average up to 600 hours restoring their identity. Identity theft is to knowingly transfer, possess, or use without lawful authority another person’s personal information to secure services or products, or to commit crimes in that person’s name.
The mortgage industry has stringent rules and oversights in place to safeguard our business from accepting applications using fraudently obtained information. A new national Red Flags Rule was implemented recently, further enhancing safety practices. At InSight Mortgage Group we have policies and procedures in place providing for the identification, detection, and response to “red flags” that could indicate identity theft.
There are five types of Identity Theft:
1. Financial – your information to obtain money, goods, or services leaving you
with the bill
2. Drivers License – an identity thief could obtain a drivers license in your name and accumulate traffic tickets in your name
3. Social Security – your social security numbers could be used for employment purposes and you could get the tax bill
4. Medical – your personal medical information could be used to obtain
prescriptions or medical health which could affect your health or reduce your
5. Criminal – your information could be used to escape fines or jail time. You
could actually end up in jail.
Military personnel are at risk too. Social Security numbers are the basis of personal and medical administration. In our era of Internet, credit cards, and computer file-sharing, the element of risk increases. The prime target is the deployed military person who most likely will not view his/her credit report for a year or more according to a public affairs officer with Army Human Resources Command. He said contractors, soldiers, and civilians should be aware of the dangers of identity theft and know how to protect themselves from unauthorized release of personally identifiable information.
Everyone should review their credit reports and financial statements regularly for any fraudulent charges. The Federal Trade Commission also suggests being alert to signs such as bills not arriving as expected, denials of credit for no apparent reason, or calls or letters about purchases never made.
Everyone is facing challenging economic times. Finances are a concern for each and every one of us, and identity theft is a potential threat to us all. Please don’t shake it off as a “it can’t happen to me” attitude. I’ve become aware of a valuable service provided by a company with integrity. Adell Associates of Pre-Paid Legal Services offers a comprehensive service you can use right now to help with the tough decisions all families and businesses must make. Everyone needs a will/living will but puts it off, maybe you’re thinking of bankruptcy, everyone signs contracts, and everyone needs to be concerned about their credit score and identity. These are some of the important benefits this service provides. For more information and personal assistance contact Adell Associates at 913-780-2375 or visit www.adellassociates.com.
Any of us at InSight Mortgage Group would be happy to discuss how we protect your identity through the loan process, or answer questions you may have. Call us at 913-642-3334 or please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a blessed day.