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Protect Your House

How to keep your financial info private when buying a house

Recently, more than 800 million mortgage-related files were leaked by title insurance company First American Financial Corporation. The data — which included consumers’ bank-account numbers, Social Security numbers and more — was exposed due to an error in the company’s site. This massive mistake serves as a good reminder that you should be cautious about your financial data when going through the house-buying process. Here’s some tips on how to do just that.

Update Your Passwords

As Marketwatch reports, there will be lots of sensitive information shared when buying a house. Before you start that process, change all of your passwords and enable two-factor authentication if it’s an option.

Ask About Security

Ask every mortgage lender about their cybersecurity policies. If they don’t have a good answer — at the very least, they should be keeping all info in encrypted databases — you should go with someone else.

Avoid Email

If you receive an email from a bank, mortgage or real-estate agent asking for important documents, don’t reply. Instead, call the agent and verify the request came from them. Many scams involve someone posing as an agent and requesting emailed information. If possible, always opt to bring the data to the agent in person or via a phone call.

Chris O'Shea

Chris O'Shea