Is identity theft stopping you from buying a home in Houston?
An increasing number of people in Houston are falling victim to identity theft. Identity theft is a crime and affects its victims in many different ways. It becomes a big hurdle when you try to buy a home. The reason is that it can cause your credit score to drop. The lender will turn down your mortgage application if you have bad credit.
Many prospective Houston home buyers struggle to get approved for a mortgage after they realize that their identity has been stolen and it has damaged their credit score.
Here at Shop Owner Finance, we work with identity theft victims and help them buy homes with owner financing as this financing method doesn’t need credit check or income verification.
Let’s discuss how identity theft happens, how to prevent it and how to buy a home if it has damaged your credit score:
Reasons for identity theft
- People hand over their credit information to businesses and organizations all the time for digital money transfer and other reasons. These organizations should follow certain security protocols to protect your data. But in the event of a security breach, the criminals manage to hack into the networks and databases and steal the personally identifiable information (PII) of the company’s customers. They then sell it online or use it for fraudulent activities.
- Phishing is yet another method that criminals use to steal data. They will send you an email containing a link. The criminals can access your data after you click that link.
- If you have lost your social security card, you are prone to fall victim to identity theft. Social security cards have all the PII including social security number, full name, address and birth date. The criminals can use this information to use your identity for fraudulent activities.
- Some other reasons are mail theft, unsecure internet connection and weak data protection. The criminals even go through you trash to lay their hands on financial statements, tax documents or other information.
How to prevent identity theft
- Avoid sharing PII online as much as possible. If you absolutely need to share it, make sure that the business or organization has a reputation for data protection.
- Always use a secure personal network when making digital transactions or sharing PII.
- Using weak passwords is an investigation to the criminals for stealing your data. Make sure to create strong passwords for your emails, netbanking and other types of logins.
- Avoid sharing too much personal information on social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram or Facebook. The criminals can use your information to hack your passwords (particularly if you are using easy-to-guess passwords such as your girlfriend/boyfriend’s birth date or your marriage anniversary).
- Avoid accessing the internet and making digital transaction when you are using free Wi-Fi or other shared networks.
- After sharing our personal information with businesses and organizations, we stop using their services after a while. But we forget to close those online accounts. Even if it’s a bank account you have stopped using, you should never forget to close it.
- Before throwing your financial statements, tax documents or other important documents, you should never forget to shred them.
How can an identity theft victim in Houston buy a home?
What do the criminals do after stealing your identity? Well, they open a new credit card or take out loans in your name.
Do they make monthly payments on these loans?
Absolutely not! It beats the very purpose of stealing your identity.
When you default on these loans (through no fault of your own), your credit score will drop. And, if you are planning to buy a home in Houston with a conventional mortgage, your bad credit becomes a big hurdle.
In the event of identity theft, you should immediately get free copies of your credit report from credit bureaus apart from taking necessary legal actions. You should dispute errors on your report with the credit bureaus.
Fixing credit issues caused by identity theft may take a lot of time. You can explore alternative financing options such as owner financing to buy a home. You can refinance with a conventional mortgage when your credit situation improves (Read Also: Do monthly payments in owner financing improve your credit score?).
Owner financing is a legitimate way of buying a home in Texas. If you are interested in learning more about our program, set an appointment today.