Top Consumer Tips to Prevent Mortgage Fraud
- Read all Documents before you sign. Do not sign any documents you do not understand, if uncertain consult a lawyer to review before you sign.
- Never sign a blank document or a document that contains blanks.
- Ensure the professionals you are dealing with (i.e. Broker, Lawyer, Realtor etc…) are licensed in accordance with the corresponding regulatory body. Do your research to ensure they are reputable and trustworthy.
- Never accept a fee for the use of your name, social insurance number, date or birth etc…
- Never provide false information on a mortgage or loan application.
- Always inspect the property you are going to purchase (seeking the advice of a qualified home inspector may also be a good idea)
- BE VERY cautious about giving out personal details over the phone (especially if you were not the one to initiate the call).
- Never provide personal details on Social Media sites. For example:
- DO NOT provide personal details (i.e. date of birth, address etc…) for others to see. The more information a fraudster can gather on you the easier it is for him/her to steal your Identity.
- DO NOT leave messages on Social Media sites that could make you a victim, for example “I am leaving tomorrow for a two week vacation in Mexico” this alerts criminals that your home will be vacant for two weeks.
- NEVER give out your Bank Personal Identification Number (PIN) to anyone (remember your bank will never ask you for this information). Be very careful when using your bank card for debt transactions ALWAYS use your hand to cover your PIN number as you enter it into the keypad. When selecting a PIN, avoid using your sequential numbers (1234), dates of birth etc…
- Review your bank, credit card, investment statements regularly to ensure there are no irregularities. Notify your financial institution immediately should you notice a transaction you did not make. Know when your statements are to arrive and notify your bank immediately if not received.
- Be aware of suspicious emails. Avoid clicking on links you are not familiar with. If you receive an email from what appears to be a source you do know (for example your bank) but the information being requested is personal information contact the source directly first to confirm they did in fact send you the email. Do not call the phone numbers contained in the email, call the phone number you have for your source.
- To protect your Real Estate investment from possible Title Theft it may be wise to look at obtaining Title Insurance. There are a number of different companies that offer Title Insurance for Title Theft protection and most only require a one-time premium. Be sure to inquire with your lawyer or Title Insurance Company about the various types of protection they can offer.
- Shred all documentation containing personal information prior to discarding.
- NEVER carry your Social Insurance Number (SIN) in your wallet. Keep your SIN card in a safe place at home.
- Check your credit report every year to make sure the information is correct. Look to see if there are any inquiries from companies that you have not authorized to pull your report. Look for discrepancies in your personal information of to see if there are any credit cards or loans you have not requested. Report any inconsistencies immediately to the credit reporting agency.
Source: Genworth Canada