Your Private Information is For Sale

This subject totally irks me…it is just so completely wrong. The three major credit bureaus are selling personal information to hundreds of mortgage companies throughout the country as soon as a credit report is pulled from a mortgage lender. You visit your preferred lender to get preapproved for a mortgage, and whammo…within hours you may start getting calls from other unscrupulous lenders who will even go so far as to pretend to be working with the preferred lender. You’ll also start noticing mailers appearing in your mailbox offering special rates and programs, too. You’re going to feel very popular and probably very annoyed.
Private information is being sold without your consent or knowledge. These mortgage companies buying these trigger list (also referred to as prescreening) are generally “fly by night

The Earnest Money Check

[photopress:check.jpg,thumb,alignright]The times they are a changing.

Personally, I don’t see any reason why anyone except the closing agent, should view my buyer client’s personal check.  A “qualified reperesentative” from the escrow company, picks up the check and gives me a receipt for it.  When they deposit the check at escrow, I get a second receipt showing the funds were deposited. 

When the seller’s agent wants “a copy of the Earnest Money check”, I give them a copy of the “Deposit Receipt” instead.  In my mind this is proof enough that the Earnest Money is on deposit where it needs to be, with the closing agent.  I received a fax last week from a seller’s agent saying “My company needs the buyer’s account number from the bottom of the Earnest Money check”.  Isn’t this an outdated policy?  Why do they need my client’s personal checking account number?  And why do I care about the internal policies of a company I am not associated with? 

When I represent the buyer, I don’t really care what the “policy” of the seller’s agent’s company is.  When I represent the seller, I don’t really care what the “policy” of the buyer agent’s company is.  If a “deposit receipt” that contains NO personal information of the buyer’s account is good enough for the DOL, and it is, then it should be good enough for all of the real estate companies.

Protecting my client’s information against identity theft and fraud, is my only concern, once complying with the State’s requirements.  Multiple copies of the personal check of the buyer floating around in everyone’s files, is a policy to be changed…not complied with for the sake of making someone’s little checklist, designed in the dark ages, complete.

Been Some Time — New Identity Theft Tactics

I received an e-mail from our credit resource company explaining a new tactic that people are using to steal your identity.

The scam has to do with Jury Duty. The article talks about people that are receiving calls from people that claim to be court officials or a jury coordinator and ask them why they did not show up for their jury duty. The caller than explains that an arrest warrant has been issued because you didn’t show up.

The article also says that if you protest that you never received a summons for jury duty, the scammer asks you for your Social Security number and date of birth so he or she can verify the information and cancel the arrest warrant. Sometimes they even ask for credit card numbers. Give out any of this information and bingo! Your identity just got stolen.

They have reported this activity in 11 states so far and say that this scam is particularly insidious because the callers uses intimidation and bullies people into giving them their information.