October 26, 2017

Be Wicked Smart About Identity Theft

We're wrapping up our "Be Wicked Smart" series with a focus on identity theft. Our previous posts touched on scams specific to homebuyers and renters, but identity theft can affect anyone. So, join us in our final National Cyber Security Awareness Month post to learn how to keep yourself and your information secure.

image of a person standing in a field wearing a pumpkin on their head

Your mortgage or rental application is a gold mine for identity thieves. It contains sensitive information about your bank accounts, employer, income, credit card accounts and your social security number. Here's how to keep your mortgage or rental application information safe from prying eyes.

Never fill out an application in a coffee shop, diner, restaurant, mall food court or even a work cubicle. (We've seen brokers and clients meet in such places to prepare sensitive paperwork.) Identity thieves armed only with smartphone cameras can quietly capture data from such documents without your knowledge. The best way to keep this information out of the wrong hands is to fill out the application in your own home or a secure office.

Bonus tip: thoroughly shred any "practice" applications where sensitive information was penciled in.

Read our last Be Wicked Smart blog post on online rental scams and visit My Home by Freddie Macâ„  for more information about renting, buying or owning a home.