Identity Theft

I have a favorite joke about identity theft. I'll tell people I got my identity stolen, but it GOT RETURNED! (I wrote that one myself) For millions of people, identity theft is no joke. When I was in the mortgage business, I encountered many people who had been victimized by identity theft. It stressed them out and it made qualifying for a mortgage an arduous process.

There are many things folks can do to protect themselves from identity theft. Some of them involve common sense, like not handing out your social security number willy nilly or not getting credit cards stolen. Unfortunately, identity thieves are a pretty savvy bunch, so even people who are very careful can be victimized.

There are new weapons in the war against identity theft. There's a service called Life lock that has a comprehensive identity theft protection program. What they do, once you enroll is immediately order your credit report, set a credit "lock" that requires any new credit issuer to contact you by phone directly, take you off all junk mail lists, and block all "pre-approved credit" offers in your name. They renew this information on your behalf every 90 days. If your wallet is lost or stolen, they'll contact all your credit issuers on your behalf, cancel all your credit cards and arrange for new ones. You can call them 24/7 for this service from anywhere in the world.

Life lock is so confident in their service, the founder of the company publishes his social security number prominently on the site AND they offer a ONE MILLION DOLLAR GUARANTEE! That's a pretty bold statement about their comfort with their service.

I think companies like Life lock will proliferate in the future and if they work as advertised, they'll prosper. Never again will someone seeking a mortgage be blindsided by identity theft.

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