Ones FICO score is a very important determinant of the ability to finance the purchase or refinance of a home. The FICO score is determined by a formula developed by Experian and takes into account many different factors. In today's lending environment, automated underwriting has taken a predominant position in the processing of loan applications. It has become more cumbersome to address issues that do not easily fit into the formula. It is of extremely high importance, therefore, to protect ones credit by guarding against identity theft. Once an item is shown as a negative on ones credit report, it is very difficult and very time consuming to get it taken off. Also, while an item of bad credit is being investigated and attempts are being made to rectify the problem, the result is that the overall FICO score is reduced, and therefore reflects a greater credit risk than it should.
The protection of your identity is one of the most important functions in maintaining your financial health. Identity theft can cause many a myriad of problems. One major problem could be the inability to achieve the "American Dream" of homeownership. Even if you already own a home, identity theft could cause you thousands and thousands of dollars due to higher interest rates. In trying to refinance a home in order to remodel, for example, the interest rate could easily be 2% higher than the current market interest rate just because someone else used your credit and negatively impacted it.
There are Ten Top Tips for Identity Theft Protection published by the Office of Privacy Protection, California Department of Consumer Affairs, www.dca.ca.gov. If one follows these guidelines for protection, one will be far ahead of the average person in safeguarding their identity, although no one is fully guaranteed complete immunity.
The following is a short, abbreviated list of these top ten pointers:
Tip # 1. Protect your social security number. (Dont carry your social security card with you)
Tip # 2. Fight Phishing-dont take the bait. (Dont respond online to credit information requests).
Tip # 3. Keep your identity from getting trashed. (Shred information when throwing away).
Tip # 4. Control your personal financial information.
Tip # 5. Shield your computer from viruses and spyware.
Tip # 6 Click with caution! When shopping on line, check out the website before entering your credit card number or other personal information.
Tip #7 Check your bills and bank statements right away.
Tip #8 Stop pre-approved credit offers.
Tip #9 Ask questions of anyone before giving personal information.
Tip #10 Check your credit reports-for free.
Identity theft can be devastating to a persons finances. It often leaves its victims credit and financial lives in shambles, but by practicing these simple tips you can stay one step ahead of the identity thieves, and be the only one who uses your identity.
For more information on protecting your identity, financial health, and real estate visit Diamond Bar Real Estate where you can also pick up free copies of foreclosure lists.
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