Protecting Your Information
Entering your information online can be worrisome — especially for financial commitments this large. That's why we have developed a mortgage quotes system where your identity to mortgage lenders is anonymous. That's right — we do not ask for your name, address, phone number, or Social Security number when you make a mortgage request in the Zillow® Mortgage Marketplace. So you can make a mortgage request with the comfort of knowing your personal information or identity is not given out and no one can ping your credit report until you decide to provide more information.
Here are other ways we are protecting you in the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace:
- Technological Protection — We use secure data storage so that your information is always safe.
- Lender Review — Each lender that registers with Zillow Mortgage Marketplace is confirmed as a lender by a leading, independent third party or by their mortgage institution. The review includes identity authentication, employment verification, broker license confirmation, and checking standard sources for complaints. Plus, Zillow conducts its own internal review before a lender can provide quotes.
- Ratings System — Our lender ratings system allows borrowers to rate lenders so that other borrowers can find high-quality lending and mortgage professionals.
Learn more about how we are protecting your information.
- Secure data storage We use the most secure technologies out there (firewalls, encryption, authentication, virus detection, etc.) to make sure your information is always protected.
- Password Protection Each time you return to the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace to access your account, you will need to sign in. Create a strong password for your account. Strong passwords combine letters, numbers, and symbols and are at least eight characters long.
- Lender confirmation Each lender that registers with Zillow Mortgage Marketplace will be confirmed as an actual lender through our leading, independent third party or by their mortgage institution. The review includes identity authentication, employment verification, broker license confirmation, and checking standard sources for complaints.
- Transparent system Zillow Mortgage Marketplace has been developed to be as transparent as possible for consumers. When borrowers receive quotes, they can learn more about lenders through their public profile and by reviewing customer ratings and reviews. Borrowers can also directly contact lenders to learn more about them by e-mail or phone contact. Lenders cannot contact borrowers (since borrowers' identity is unknown) until the initial contact is made by the borrower
Community ratings Our community-based feedback and ratings system helps borrowers quickly identify high-quality lenders and mortgage professionals that participate in the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace. Borrowers are strongly encouraged to rate lenders so that the entire Zillow Mortgage Marketplace community can benefit. Ratings are based on quality of information and service provided. A ratings scale of 1 to 5 indicates how likely a borrower is to recommend a lender with 5 "very likely" and 1 "very unlikely." A lender's overall rating is then calculated by taking the average of all scores.
Research the lender Research everything you can about lenders that interest you. Before making contact, read Zillow's consumer reviews and ratings about the lenders. Also, read the information they've written about themselves on their Zillow profiles. Search the lender's name on the Internet or through the Better Business Bureau to detect any compromising articles or complaints. Look up their name and business in the phone book.
Keep details about who you contact
With Zillow Mortgage Marketplace, lenders cannot contact you until you contact them. Your identity is unknown to them until you make contact. When you make contact, take notes on who you contact (name, phone number, and e-mail address) to make sure any follow-up contact comes from that person and not from someone else that is not affiliated with Zillow Mortgage Marketplace.
Protect your personal information
Remember that once you contact a lender, your identity will be known. It is at this time that lenders will request your name, address, and Social Security number so they can start pulling your credit rating and other information.
Fraud tricks to watch for:
- Phishing — This is when you receive an e-mail from a business or organization that you may deal with (e.g., Internet service provider, bank, online payment service, or even a government agency), and it asks you to "update," "validate," or "confirm" your account information. These are bogus sites whose sole purpose is to trick you into divulging your personal information. Learn more from the FTC's Consumer Alerts.
- Pretexters— This is the practice of getting your personal information under false pretenses. Pretexters sell your information to people who may use it to get credit in your name, steal your assets, or to investigate or sue you. Learn more from the FTC's Consumer Alerts.
General Dos and Don'ts
Even though the laws are on your side, it's wise to take an active role in protecting your information.
- Don't give out personal information on the phone, through the mail, or over the Internet unless you've initiated the contact or know who you're dealing with. Pretexters may pose as representatives of survey firms, banks, Internet service providers, and even government agencies to get you to reveal your SSN, mother's maiden name, financial account numbers, and other identifying information. Legitimate organizations with which you do business have the information they need and will not ask you for it.
- Be informed. Ask your financial institutions for their policies about sharing your information. Ask them specifically about their policies to prevent pretexting.
- Pay attention to your statement cycles. Follow up with your financial institutions if your statements don't arrive on time.
- Review your statements carefully and promptly. Report any discrepancies to your institution immediately.
- Alert family members to the dangers of pretexting. Explain that only you, or someone you authorize, should provide personal information to others.
- Keep items with personal information in a safe place. Tear or shred your charge receipts, copies of credit applications, insurance forms, bank checks and other financial statements that you're discarding, expired charge cards, and credit offers you get in the mail.
- Add passwords to your credit card, bank, and phone accounts. Avoid using easily available information such as your mother's maiden name, your birth date, the last four digits of your SSN or your phone number, or a series of consecutive numbers.
- Be mindful about where you leave personal information in your home, especially if you have roommates or are having work done in your home by others.
- Find out who has access to your personal information at work and verify that the records are kept in a secure location.
- Order a copy of your credit report from the three nationwide consumer reporting companies every year. An amendment to the federal Fair Credit Reporting Act requires each of the major nationwide consumer reporting companies to provide you with a free copy of your credit reports, at your request, once every 12 months. To order your free annual report, visit www.annualcreditreport.com, call toll-free 1-877-322-8228, or complete the Annual Credit Report Request Form and mail it to: Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281. You can print the order form from ftc.gov/credit . Do not contact the three nationwide consumer reporting companies individually. They provide free annual credit reports only through www.annualcreditreport.com, 1-877-322-8228, and Annual Credit Report Request Service, P.O. Box 105281, Atlanta, GA 30348-5281.
In the Zillow Mortgage Marketplace Help Center, we have an entire section devoted to borrowers about mortgages, credit scores, and types of lenders. Also, the Federal Trade Commission has produced helpful articles for consumers on what to look for in battling fraud in the mortgages and lending space
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