One of the ways homeowners use to obtain the best mortgage deal is to use online mortgage forms to get multiple lenders to offer their best rates. While this may be a good start, there are some pitfalls that could prove very costly.
One of the problems with shopping around is getting caught up in the lowest rate and fees game, which can prove costly in of itself. But that is not what I want to talk about here. Instead, I want to talk about the potential for Identity Theft to occur to those unsuspecting folks out there shopping around.
Has It Happened Before?
Some of you already know I am an Identity Theft specialist as well, having obtained the Certified Identity Theft Risk Management Specialist (CITRMS) designation as part of my commitment to my own clients and as many others as I can. One of the best ways to protect yourself is minimizing your exposure to the risks associated. Sounds simple enough, but using online mortgage forms to gain multiple lender offerings can, and has, proven to be a risky method.
Lending Tree was found to have had a breach of security of their database a week or so ago, highlighting the problem. Of course, they downplayed this, saying that the information was used by one or more mortgage companies to compete for borrowers loans. They provided only a minimalistic view of the impact that could have occurred, mitigating their exposure to liability.
Just How Bad Could It Be?
If you believe that this data breach couldn’t end up in a much worse case than harassing phone calls, you could be sorely mistaken. Many mortgage companies have been caught using such data for fraudulent means, including Identity Theft. Several companies in Florida had employees, even owners, taking the data and using it to secure new loans in the unsuspecting homeowners name.
The data breach included everything needed to get a loan; name, address, phone, social security number, even employment information such as salaries. Even a secure online transaction cannot be guaranteed to protect your identity unless you know the company and trust them to se that information properly. If you feel the need to complete an online application to get one or more offers, I suggest you go directly to the company’s website after ensuring they are not being brought up on charges themselves.
Using online forms to gain multiple offers is a gamble that is not worth taking. The end result could cost you much more, even destroying you financially. Take a good look at the FTC’s wording and you will see the following statement in their Identity Theft regulations (you can download the document here):
If an identity thief changed the address on your account and you didn’t receive the bill, your dispute letter still must reach the creditor within 60 days of when the creditor would have mailed the bill. (Failure to do so results in you being liable for the entire amount).
There are plenty of instances where this has held true in courts, forcing the victims to declare bankruptcy and/or lose their homes. Since most of us only check our credit report once every four months at best, you could find out you are a victim way too late.
What Should You Do?
The next time you feel the urge to shop around in your efforts to get the best deal on a mortgage, think again. At least be extremely cautious about who you give your information to or you could suffer severe consequences. Make sure you do enough research on the company to be certain your information is not going to be compromised. Every mortgage company should have safeguard procedures which is not limited to just a privacy notice, but insludes procedures for securing and properly disposing of non-public information (NPI).
Boomers retirement may be the true reason behind the labor shortage
(ECONOMY) Millennials and Gen Z were quick to be blamed for the labor shortage, citing lazy work ethic- the cause could actually be Boomers retirement.
In July, we reported on the Great Resignation. With record numbers of resignations, there’s a huge labor shortage in the United States. Although there were many speculations about the reasons why, from “lazy” millennials to the number of deaths from Covid. Just recently, CNN reported that in November another 3.6 million Americans left the labor force. It’s been suggested that the younger generations don’t want to work but retiring Boomers might be the bigger culprit.
Why Boomers are leaving the labor force
CNN Business reports that 90% of the Americans who left the workplace were over 55 years old. It’s now being suggested that many of the people who have left the labor force since the beginning of the pandemic were older Americans, not Millennials or Gen Z, as we originally thought. Here are the reasons why:
- Boomers are more concerned about catching COVID-19 than their younger counterparts, so they aren’t returning to work. Boomers are less willing to risk their health.
- The robust real estate market has benefitted Boomers, who have more equity in their homes. Boomers have more options on the table than just returning to work.
- Employers aren’t creating or posting jobs that lure people out of retirement or those near retirement age.
As Boomers retire, how does this impact the overall labor economy?
According to CNN Business, there are signs that the labor shortage is abating. Employers are starting to see record number of applicants to most posted jobs. FedEx, for example, just got 111,000 applications in one week, the highest it has ever recorded. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics projects that the pandemic-induced increase in retirement is only temporary. People who retired due to the risk of the pandemic will return to work as new strategies emerge to reduce the risk to their health. With new varients popping up, we will have to keep an eye on how the trend ultimately plays out.
Is the real estate industry endorsing Carson’s nomination to HUD?
(BUSINESS NEWS) Ben Carson’s initial appointment to HUD was controversial given his lack of experience in housing, but what is the pulse now?
NAR strongly backs Dr. Carson’s nomination
When President-Elect Donald Trump put forth Dr. Ben Carson’s name as the nominee for Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, NAR President William E. Brown said, “While we’ve made great strides in recent years, far more can be done to put the dream of homeownership in reach for more Americans.”
At the time of nomination, the National Association of Realtors (the largest trade organization in the nation) offered a positive tone regarding Dr. Carson and said the industry looks forward to working with him. But does that hold true today?
The confirmation hearings yesterday were far less controversial than one would expect, especially in light of how many initially reacted to his nomination. Given his lack of experience in housing, questions seemed to often center around protecting the LGBT community and veterans, both of which he pledged to support.
In fact, Dr. Carson said the Fair Housing Act is “one of the best pieces of legislation we’ve ever had in this country,” promising to issue a “world-class plan” for housing upon his confirmation…
Job openings hit 14-year high, signaling economic improvement
The volume of job openings is improving, but not across all industries. The overall economy is improving, but not evenly across all career paths.
Job openings hit a high point
To understand the overall business climate, the U.S. Labor Department studies employment, today releasing data specific to job vacancies. According to the department’s Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey (JOLT) for April, job openings rose to 5.38 million, the highest seen since December 2000, and a significant jump from March’s 5.11 million vacancies. Although a lagging indicator, it shows strength in the labor market.
The Labor Department reports that the number of hires in April fell to 5 million, which indicates a weak point in the strong report, and although the volume remains near recent highs, this indicates a talent gap and highlights the number of people who have left the labor market and given up on looking for a job.
Good news, bad news, depending on your profession
That said, another recent Department report notes that employers added 221,000 jobs in April and 280,000 in May, but the additions are not evenly spread across industries. Construction jobs rose in April, but dipped in professional and business services, hospitality, trade, and transportation utilities. In other words, white collar jobs are down, blue collar jobs are up, which is good or bad news depending on your profession.
Additionally, the volume of people quitting their jobs was 2.7 million in April compared to the seven-year high of 2.8 million in March. Economists follow this number as a metric for gauging employee confidence in finding their next job.
If you’re in the market for a job, there are an increasing number of openings, so your chance of getting hired is improving, but there is a caveat – not all industries are enjoying improvement.
If you’re hiring talent, you’ll still get endless resumes, but there appears to be a growing talent gap for non-labor jobs, so you’re not alone in struggling to find the right candidate.
Economists suspect the jobs market will continue to improve as a whole, but this data does not pertain to every industry.
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