Having a good credit score is an important part of the mortgage process, and it can save you you thousands of dollars over the life of your loan.
While you can build a good credit score with a range of strategies, including paying your bills on time and using a secured credit card, all Americans are at risk of something that severely damages credit scores: identity theft.
Identity theft levels reached an all-time high in 2016, with 15.4 million people impacted (up from from 13.1 million in 2015). This took place in spite of greater identity theft awareness amongst consumers, and efforts from the financial industry to lower consumer risks.
Reduce your chances of identity theft happening to you
Fortunately, there are eight steps you can take to lower your risk of identity theft and help preserve your credit score:
Remain aware of warning signs that your information was stolen
Because identity theft can happen to anyone, including individuals trying to prevent it, it’s critical to stay aware of signs that your information was stolen. These can include:
Prevention is the best strategy
Identity theft can’t be completely prevented, but you can greatly lower your risks by following the steps in this blog.
Should you learn you’re an identity theft victim, immediately report it through the IdentityTheft.Gov website and follow their checklist of steps to limit and repair the damage.
Some good news: identity theft doesn’t have to ruin your chances of becoming a homeowner. This blog post provides steps on becoming a homeowner if you’re an identity theft victim. If you have further questions on this subject, contact one of Open Mortgage’s friendly loan officers.
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