Beware of credit vandals

Have you seen the movie Identity Thief?

The trailer is possibly one of my favourite movie scenes ever (Melissa McCarthy singing in the car). The movie is pretty cheesy, but the message sure hits close to home.

When I take a mortgage application I usually have a pretty good idea what the clients’ credit scores will be.

I started working with a couple (lets call them Bob and Lynda) in Langley mid November. When I pulled their credit reports I was shocked to see that her score was 623.

I had expected it would be in the high 700s.

For perspective, 680 (or higher) is the score that mortgage insurers and lenders are looking for. The lender I was wanting to work with for this couple would only consider scores 650 or higher.

This was a hard stop.

I called the clients. We went over her credit report item by item.

It turned out that there were multiple applications for credit starting in August. There was a new cellphone showing three months in arrears, and a new credit card that was showing two months in arrears and over limit.

There was also a flag on Lynda’s credit bureau that clearly stated her credit had been compromised in the past, and before any new credit was approved lenders needed to call her cell directly to confirm it was a legitimate application.

Lynda was far calmer about it than I expected. She told me the story of what happened when her identity was stolen the first time. It was a nightmare, but it did get sorted out.

At the time, she had searched the new address on the fraudulent credit and discovered numerous complaints by other victims about the same address. It seemed like home base for a very busy group of criminals.

Second time around, Lynda contacted the cell provider and the credit card company right away. Both issues were dealt with promptly and notes were made on her credit bureau.

I pulled her credit bureau again early this week and her score had jumped to 792. Although frustrating, at least she was able to sort this out quickly.

This experience was unsettling for me. I’ve known Bob and Lynda for many years, and they have always been careful with their finances and personal information.

The start of a new year is a great time to do a thorough review of your financial situation. Take some time to look over your budget and plans.

Book time with a financial adviser to either review your investments or talk about how you can start a savings plan.

Review your mortgage and think about ways to pay it off sooner.

I also suggest you take a few minutes to pull your credit report and go over it to make sure everything is OK.

Based on Lynda’s experience, if your credit has been compromised in the past, I suggest you check your credit every three or four months, or right away if you receive calls from lenders that someone has made an application in your name.

Taking the time to review your credit history may save you time and aggravation down the road when you apply for credit.

For the link to check out your credit score, as well as tips for improving your credit, check out our article Improving Your Credit Score 

Happy New Year!


Comments are pre-moderated to ensure they meet our guidelines. Approval times will vary. Keep it civil, and stay on topic. If you see an inappropriate comment, please use the ‘flag’ feature. Comments are the opinions of the comment writer, not of Castanet. Comments remain open for one day after a story is published and are closed on weekends. Visit Castanet’s Forums to start or join a discussion about this story.

More The Mortgage Gal articles

About the Author

Tracy Head and Laurie Baird help busy families find mortgage solutions. Together they have more than 45 years of experience in the mortgage industry.

With today’s increasingly complicated mortgage rules, Tracy and Laurie spend time getting to know the people they work with and help them to better understand the mortgage process. They support their clients before, during, and after their mortgage is in place.

Tracy and Laurie work closely with their clients, offering advice and options. With access to more than 40 different lenders, Tracy and Laurie are able to assist with residential, commercial, and reverse mortgages in order to match the needs of their clients with the right mortgage package.

They work closely with their clients to find the right fit, and are around to provide support for years down the road!

Contact them at 250-862-1806 or visit http://www.okanaganmortgages.com

Visit their blog at https://www.okanaganmortgages.com/blog


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories