Each year, millions of Americans have their identity stolen. ENG Lending wants you to have the information you need to protect yourself against identity theft. While there are no guarantees about avoiding identity theft, it's important for you to know:
We will never initiate a request for sensitive information from you (such as, social security number, personal login ID, password, PIN or account number) nor ask you to verify account information via email.
We strongly suggest that you do not share your personal login ID, password, PIN or account number with anyone, under any circumstances.
If you receive an email that requests this type of action, you should be suspicious of it and contact us immediately at 866-878-2265. We also suggest you report suspicious emails or calls to the Federal Trade Commission through the Internet at www.consumer.gov/idtheft, or by calling 1-877-IDTHEFT.
What is Identity Theft?
Identity theft involves the unlawful acquisition and use of someone's identifying information, such as:
-Date of Birth
-Social Security Number
-Mother's Maiden Name
-Bank or Credit Card Account Number
Thieves then use the information to repeatedly commit fraud in an attempt to duplicate your identity which may include opening new accounts, purchasing automobiles, applying for loans, credit cards, and social security benefits, renting apartments and establishing services with utility and telephone companies. It can have a negative effect on your credit and create a serious financial hassle for you.
How do they get my personal information?
-Lost or stolen personal items: They may obtain your personal information by finding or stealing your checkbooks, credit cards, driver license or Social Security cards.
-Mail: They may steal your mail, including bank and credit card statements, credit card offer, new checks, and tax information. They may also complete a "change of address form" to divert your mail to another location.
-Onlookers: They will watch and/or listen to you conduct personal business such as entering your PIN when you use your ATM or debit card or when you are talking on the telephone.
-Dumpster diving: They may rummage through your trash, the trash of businesses, or public trash dumps in a practice known as "dumpster diving."
-Internet: They use the Internet to look for personal pages that contain information like genealogical data with your mother's maiden name that can be used to set up a credit card account or possibly access existing accounts.
-Phishing: They may obtain personal information from you through the use of "pop-ups" or emails. These emails have Internet links to deceive you into disclosing sensitive information such as bank account numbers and social security numbers. Oftentimes the email appears as if it comes from a trusted source. It directs you to a "spoof" website that encourages you to divulge sensitive information.
-Pretexting: They may obtain your personal information on the phone by posing as a legitimate company and claiming that you have a problem with your account.
-Skimming: They may steal your credit or debit card numbers by capturing the information in a data storage device in a practice known as "skimming." They may swipe your card for an actual purchase, or attach the device to an ATM machine where you may enter or swipe your card.
Should your credit score be less than ideal, there is still some good news. Instead of being rejected, you will still probably qualify for many good quality mortgage loans. You will, of course, be offered a higher interest rate, but you can still receive the loan you want and complete your purchase or refinance.
The importance of keeping your credit score as high as possible need not be over emphasized. However, always know what information is in your credit report BEFORE you apply for a mortgage loan to keep you safe from unplanned negative surprises. You are permitted to receive one free credit report per year. You can also get one at no cost anytime you are refused credit, even if it happens with a credit card or personal loan. Take advantage of these offers before you apply for a mortgage loan and immediately correct any errors you see.
How Do I Protect my Identity?
-Report lost or stolen checks or credit cards immediately.
-Shred all documents containing personal information, like bank statements, unused checks, deposit slips, credit card statements, pay stubs, medical billings, and invoices.
-Don't put your trash out until shortly before it will be picked up.
-Pay bills online or mail bill payments and other items that contain personal information at a U.S. Postal Service drop box rather than in your curb side mailbox. Don't put any mail in your curb side mailbox until shortly before it will be picked up daily.
-Take your mail out of your curb side mailbox as soon as possible after it has been delivered. If you are traveling, have the U.S. Postal Service hold your mail or have someone you trust pick it up daily.
-Limit the information on your checks (for example, don't include driver's license number, social security number, or telephone number), and don't carry around any more cards than necessary.
-Don't give any of your personal information in person, over the telephone, or over the Internet to anyone-unless you have a very good reason to trust them.
-Don't give any of your personal information to any web sites that do not use encryption or other secure methods to protect it.
-Use a firewall if you have a high-speed Internet connection. This software can be purchased on-line or from most software retailers.