Identity theft is common these days even if you’re buying securely.
Do This So Identity Theft Can’t Put You on the Street
How many times a month do you fill out a form that requests your name, address, phone number, and other identifying information? Once, twice, three times? It’s a lot, probably more than you think.
A visit to a new doctor requires giving out enough diverse information that a cunning identity thief would be able to pinpoint where you went to high school. Signing up with a new phone app usually requires giving out a cell phone number or physical address. The act of giving out personally identifiable information has become a ubiquitous part of life. Take the number of times you think you fill out a form each month and triple it. That’s more likely the real number. Even ordering a pizza opens you up to some of the worst scams.
Whether your identity is a risk, and the kind of identity theft risk, depends on several factors. If you have a lot of equity built up in your home, you have several reasons to obscure your name and address.
Identity thieves will seek out info needed to take out mortgage loans, or even sell your property while pretending to be you, making off with your wealth and possibly leaving you without a place to live. There are two vital pieces of information needed to pull off this scam: your name and address.
But you can make finding out your name and address more than a little challenging. First, try to keep important information out of databases that are for sale. Here is where ordering pizza gets tricky. The pizza company itself or the franchise owner may sell your data, and often the buyers are exclusive database operators that charge top dollar for access. The solution here is simple. Pick up your pizza and pay cash. But what about all the other services you use?
Giving a fake name to a utility company is going to be hard. But giving a fake, or alternate address, is not as hard as you may think. You should check with your utility company, but often they will keep your service address private if you give them an alternate mailing address. You should consider using a PO Box, or mailbox-store service. Using an alternative address for utilities and credit cards will add an extra layer of security.
What about the other side of the coin?
Protecting your real property by obscuring your name can be done with a trust. Trusts are like a corporation, a fictitious entity that can buy things and make legally binding contracts. You can do them yourself, but you’ll probably want to consult a lawyer to make sure everything is done right. Doing so may save you headaches when you go to sell your home.
You can name a trust anything, and lots of people do just that. A colorful trust name that’s been seen around here is the “Ben Dover A Name You Can Trust”. You could call it the “My Name is My Business Trust”. Anything but your real name will work in this case. The purpose is to throw off identity thieve. They’ll find a roadblock in their search to piece together enough information to steal your home without you even knowing it’s happened until a foreclosure notice or new owner shows up at your door.
These are just a few ways of protecting your property by protecting your identity theft. If you have more questions on how to protect yourself or recover from identity theft, reach out to us today.