Roughly 143 million Americans were affected by the recent Equifax hack. If you’re like many of these people, you might be concerned enough about your personal data to have already taken steps to limit the damage.
But what if you’re entering the home buying process or, worse yet, have already signed a contract or applied for a loan?
If this is the case, the fallout could be extensive. For example, if you’ve signed a contract to buy a house and have applied for a mortgage and a fraudulent account starts to add a significant amount of debt in your name, that could negatively affect your credit score, delay your settlement, or cancel the loan altogether.
There are three possible steps you can take to ensure your financial security if you’re considering buying a home now or you’re in the home buying process:
1. Check your information. Even if you never used Equifax directly, they could still have your personal information. You can visit this website to see if you’ve been affected. You also have the option to enroll in their TrustedID Premier credit monitoring service.
2. Call your lender right away and let them know you may have been affected.
3. Consider doing a “credit freeze.” This is the most extreme method of preventing your information from getting stolen, but it’s also the most effective. If you don’t want to lock out all creditors, you can place a 90-day fraud alert on your credit that tells creditors to verify your identity before issuing any credit in your name.
If you have any questions about this or any other real estate topic, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We’d love to help you.