Protect Your Identity While Hunting for Good Deals on Mortgages
Scam artists and hackers know that one of the best ways to get people’s financial information is to target individuals who are looking for financial advice or solutions. This means that you need to be particularly on guard when you are looking for a mortgage or a refinancing option. Here are some of the best ways to protect your financial interests.
Research Each Institution Before Giving Out Information
Your first step must be to investigate every single lending institution before you give out any of your financial information. Banks and credit unions that have an established reputation online are less likely to be phishing expeditions or scams. Be cautious of giving out financial or personal information to any business you have never heard of. Also, avoid giving out information to banks or lending institutions overseas, particularly if they promise unbelievably good rates. Remember that often times when something appears to be too good to be true, it probably is.
Do Not Click on Links in Emails
A common scam from phishing expeditions, hackers, and identity thieves involves sending what looks to be official emails with links to mirror sites. These sites look quite similar to the official one, but they aren’t actually affiliated with the lending institution. In fact, their sole purpose is to get the money out of your hands and potentially steal your identity as well. Often times, the email itself will promise to get you hooked up with the best mortgage rates when you click the link or something similar.
If you do receive a link from the lending institution, confirm that it is actually from them before you click on it. Do not respond to the email with contact information or financial information. Otherwise, you run the risk of the email being intercepted.
Only Give Information on Secure Lines
It’s important that you don’t give out your financial information on any unsecured web page. Even if the page is from the legitimate lending institution, you run the risk of the page’s information being intercepted. Look for the https: rather than just http:, never send that information through email, and be cautious of even giving it out over the phone. While it’s less likely that hackers and identity thieves will target your phone lines when they are on a general information hunt, you never know when you will be overheard.
Be Cautious of Extra Undisclosed Fees
Be cautious whenever the lending institution keeps adding undisclosed fees that require you release your bank account information. A good lending institution will disclose all of the fees and let you know what each fee is for ahead of time. Avoid little known businesses that require these fees, even if they seem to be the only ones who are willing to help you with your mortgage.
Hackers and identity thieves know that they can get a great deal of information for people who are looking to get mortgages or other financial assistance. Make sure that you are cautious in how you handle your financial information. You will want to research each institution before giving out any information. Look for good reputations and track records. Do not click on links in emails, and only give out information on secure lines. Also, avoid businesses that keep charging undisclosed fees without telling you what else is required.