Tag Archives: identity theft

Identity Theft Insurance: Do You Need It?

Ways to lock your identity back downThe recent blockbuster “Identity Thief” made light of a very serious, growing problem in the U.S. and around the world. Identity theft is growing at an alarming rate; and it can wreak havoc on your plans for environmentally sustainable housing, checking account, credit cards and

credit ratings, it can even impact your employment and employability if you are looking for a job. So what can you do to protect yourself? Practice good privacy protection habits first. In the movie, the victim simply gave his personal information over the phone to a caller claiming to be from a company holding one of his accounts. Giving out personal info to someone you don’t know and cannot verify is a major mistake. But if you are already taking all the smart privacy protection steps you can and want to know if there’s more you can do, especially if you feel you are at a higher risk of identity theft (say for example you know that your personal data was recently compromised); you may want to think about identity theft insurance.

While identity theft insurance can’t prevent a theft from occurring, it can make repairing your identity a little bit easier after a theft has occurred. Repairing your identity can be costly; so the insurance reimburses you for certain expenses associated with getting your identity back where it should be. You can be reimbursed for things like phone bills, lost wages, cost for notarizing fraud affidavits or other documents, and certified mail costs, and sometimes even pre-approved attorney fees. If you’re looking to purchase identity theft insurance, comparison shop policies first among multiple insurance companies. Make sure you understand exactly what you are getting; find out about policy limits, deductibles, whether it covers lost wages and attorney’s fees and what the policy will cost, most policies range from $25 to $65 per year.

Get more tips on purchasing identity theft insurance in the article, “

Do I Need Identity Theft Insurance?” on the Equifax Finance Blog, and while you’re there, you can find tons of information to help you protect your identity, as well as manage your personal finances, from retirement to taxes to credit and more.

The Big House/Longer Commute Trade-off

Equifax shows how to avoid too much mortgageFor the past few years, the big news in home buying has been no news. Home buying activity has been relatively flat recently thanks to the downturn in the housing market. But not long ago, during the housing boom, the big news was how big homes were becoming. Remember all the McMansion headlines? Buyers bought into the trend that bigger homes were better. Many buyers bought more home than they could afford.  As the housing market begins to creep back up, buyers should be more cautious about what they really need in a home and not get stuck living beyond their means in a giant house.

The new Equifax Finance blog article “

What Kind of Mortgage Can You Afford?” explains further, warning buyers to not get trapped into buying the biggest house they can afford, even if it is miles and miles away from work. Combining commuting expenses with housing expenses can give buyers a better idea of how much they can afford. If you are going to live 30 miles from work, you have to take into account your transportation costs when determining what you can afford each month. Take into account rising gas prices, vehicle maintenance, highway tolls, parking fees, etc.  Could you live 15 minutes away from work, save about half on commuting, and have a slightly smaller home? What would you be willing to trade to swap the time spent in your car with time spend with your family? Or, could you take advantage of public transportation? The greener choice would be to live as close to work as possible to reduce transportation times.

A good estimate of housing plus transportation costs is about 45 percent of your monthly take-home pay, but yours could be more or less depending on various factors, like whether or not you can use public transportation, how much gas your car guzzles, etc.  But the bottom line is that there will be give and take when it comes to the two. Lower transportation costs mean you can afford more home; higher transportation costs mean less. And you should also take into account the full cost of owning a larger home, including utilities. That big home may not be that great of a deal when you face very cold winter heating or very warm summer cooling costs for that huge house.

Get more tips on finance, real estate, credit,

protection from identity theft, insurance and more at the Equifax Finance blog.

Interested in Saving on Interest Rates? Use These Tips

Get the best interest rate without hurting your credit scoreWith the mortgage rate market kept so low right now, getting a loan at 3 percent or less seems easy for those with a good

credit score. Still, it’s tempting to see just how low your mortgage rate can go when shopping for environmentally-friendly new construction. If you want to know how to do the mortgage rate limbo and keep your score intact, a new article from experts at Equifax shines a light: “

Will Interest Rate Shopping Hurt My Credit Score?

To keep your credit score nice and high, you need to make sure that when it comes time to shopping around for financing that you are ready. You need to know which lenders you are going to ask, what kind of loan to ask for and do all of your comparison shopping within a 30 day window. By following these rules, you can get all of your loan shopping figured out while showing the credit reporting agencies that you are a savvy shopper, not a big credit risk.

To learn more about how to protect your credit score, from how to avoid bad habits and debt to the very serious matter of keeping yourself safe from

identity theft, read the articles on the Equifax Finance Blog.