Were you potentially hacked from the massive Equifax breach?

Equifax announced yesterday that they’ve were hacked on a scale unlike any we’ve seen potentially impacting half of our population.

From Equifax: “…a cybersecurity incident potentially impacting approximately 143 million U.S. consumers. Criminals exploited a U.S. website application vulnerability to gain access to certain files. Based on the company’s investigation, the unauthorized access occurred from mid-May through July 2017.” [Read more…]

What May Impact Mortgage Rates this Week: April 7, 2014

mortgageporter-economyThis week’s calendar may seem on the lighter side with regards to economic indicators scheduled to be released. There are no economic indicator scheduled to be released this week. On Wednesday, the FOMC Minutes are scheduled to be released and this probably has the potential to influence the direction of mortgage interest rates. Remember, mortgage rates are based on bonds (mortgage backed securities) and often move in the opposite direction of stocks.

[Read more…]

This is sure to trigger your anger

I just received this email:

Dear Mortgage Brokers,

This notice is to inform you that our 24 Hour Mortgage Trigger Database has recently been updated. This means that we are able to offer you data from either:

Equifax, Experian or Trans Union

Our leads come with:

FICO, Name, Address, Phone Number, Amount of Aggregated Revolving Debt, Mortgage Loan Amount, Lender Name, Loan to Value, Monthly Payment on Mortgage – Credit Cards – Automobile

We can target all 50 states by: County, Zipcode, Zipcode Radius, City & Major Metropolitan Area.

Response within 24 hours is required to guarantee this price.

Give me a call and I can have you setup to get leads the same day."

When  you visit their website (I’m not promoting here), they offer:

"… specific credit information on consumers based on actual credit records. This database covers 50 states and over 300 million people. From this database, selections can be made on credit score, amount of debt, late payments, mortgage type and monthly payments. This data is primarily used to identify individuals based on their current credit situation and purchase indicators."

If President Bush really wants to stop predatory lending , or as he said last week regarding Loan Originators “if you’ve been cheatin’ somebody, we’re gonna find you.”   Perhaps he could start by not allowing the major credit bureaus from reselling the (currently not so) private information of consumers.   

In the meantime, I highly encourage you to write to your elected officials to tell them to stop "trigger lists".   There is NOTHING good about this practice.

Week in Review on Rain City Guide

I am an Active Contributor on Seattle’s Rain City Guide blog.   This site is packed full of information about real estate, homes, our local area, finance as well as industry and blogging tips and great interviews with fellow professionals.    Here are a few  recent post that may be of interest to you, the consumer.

  • Your Private Information Is For Sale.  I have mentioned this before on The Mortgage Porter and I feel it’s worth reposting.   Credit bureaus are reselling your information when you have your credit report pulled. 

  • Who’s Client Is It Anyway is a post from Eileen Tefft regarding what can happen with site agents when a buyer looks at new constuction.

  • Too Close to Home is another post by yours truly about borrowers trying to buy investment property as owner occupied to get a better interest rate.

  • Buyer’s Remorse by real estate attorney Craig Blackmon addresses when a buyer may need the help of legal council.

As I said…there are many other great post…these are just a few of the highlights!

The “R” Word

Resolutions.  I was not going to post New Years resolutions since they are everywhere.J0309664_1..however, I can’t pass up this opportunity.  Beyond the perennial lose 10 pounds, start excising, or stop smoking; here are a few goals to consider for your financial health.   I plan on revisiting these goals more indepth on future blogs…so I’ll try to be brief for now.

  1. Have an emergency fund established with at least 3 months of living expenses in an accessible account.   You can also use a HELOC for an emergency fund account IF you have the discipline to leave it alone.   A HELOC can be an excellent tool and should be applied for before you have an emergency situation (loss of employment, medical, or a tree landing on your house from sweet Mother Nature) and may not be able to obtain one.   In the event of an emergency, do you have your finances organized?   A recent article I read from the Financial Planning Association recommends having copies of all your pertinent financial documents in a binder that you can find quickly in the event you need to evacuate your home.

  1. Know your score, or at least what is being reported on your credit history currently.  Credit scores are not only used for determining what mortgage programs and rates you qualify for.   They also impact insurance, credit card rates and auto loans to name a few.  In addition, reviewing your credit will help determine if you credit is being used without your knowledge (identity theft).   You can visit www.annualcreditreport.com for a free credit report.   This is provided by the “big 3 bureaus” and it may not provide your score without paying an additional fee.  As you are allowed one report from each bureau annually, I would recommend that you pull your report from one bureau every four months to keep a constant monitor on your credit activity.  There may be simple ways to improve your credit score that you can determine once you have the information available.

  1. Create or review your Will.  I had a pretty cheesy will until I married last year.   My husband and I spent quite a bit of time with an attorney to make sure we have everything set up as we wish it to be instead of letting the government have it.   You would be surprised how easy, with home values, a retirement account, etc. that your net worth can grow.  Whether you have children or not, a will is a must.   After you have a will, it’s a good idea to have your information organized for your loved ones.   A great website to check out is www.readyornot.biz.

  1. Get a mortgage check-up.   If your mortgage has an adjustable rate (ARM), if you are paying private mortgage insurance (PMI) or if you have two mortgages on your home, this could be a great time to review your current scenario to see if you can reduce your monthly payments.   There is no sense in paying more than you need to, unless you plan on selling the home soon.   An Annual Mortgage Review is more in-depth than checking out your mortgage to current rates and products.

  1. Eliminate credit card debts.  It is too easy to fall into credit card debt.  Banks do not want you to ever pay them off with all the interest they earn.   Start with paying additional towards your smaller debts and then work toward the next one.  This is a slow process, but worth it.  It is boggling how much the interest can mount up on these types of loans with no tax benefit to you.  Improving  monthly cash flow reduces stress and allows you to eventually save for more important life items such as retirement and college.

I know this is a few days past New Years…however, it’s always relevant.   I wish you and yours a very happy, healthy and prosperous New Year.   Cheers!

Important Privacy Warning

We recently became aware of a disturbing trend involving clients who have applied for a new mortgage.  The three major credit bureaus are selling your personal   information to hundreds of mortgage companies throughout the country as soon as your credit report is pulled from your mortgage lender. 

Your personal information is being sold without your consent or knowledge.  These mortgage companies are generally “fly by night” companies that operate several states away and are solely interested in offering you a “bait and switch” mortgage offer.  These lenders will call you repeatedly and mail you solicitation after solicitation in hopes of deceiving you.  They often offer terms that are too good to be true and misleading.   Not only is this practice deceitful, it opens the possibility to identity theft.  WAMB is currently working to get this dreadful situation remedied, in the meantime, consumers should take steps to protect themselves.    Here are a few suggestions on easy steps you can take.

Opt Out of Prescreened Credit Offers

This will stop creditors from viewing your personal credit information     without your written consent.  In addition, it will cut down on the junk mail (unwanted credit card solicitations).  This alone lowers your chances of    becoming a victim of identity theft.  You can opt out by visiting www.optoutprescreen.com or by calling 888-567-8688.  Try do this one week before having your credit ran by any lender, if possible. 

Add your phone number to the Do Not Call List

This can be done online by visiting www.donotcall.gov or by calling         888-382-1222.  Remember to make sure to add both your home and mobile cell phone numbers.  This takes 30 days to be in effect. 

At Mortgage Master, we work diligently to protect your privacy and personal information.  By following the steps above, you will protect yourself and lower your odds of becoming a victim of identity theft.  Please feel free to call us with any questions or concerns.  Our team is always here to help.

We take your trust seriously and will never be less than truthful in our dealings with you.  You can count on honest, straight forward mortgage recommendations from our team.  After all, the best compliment to our team is the referral of friends and family to our mortgage   practice.  This can only be achieved by servicing our clients with great care and respect. 

For a free report on additional tips on preventing identity theft, please send me an email.