What retirees need to know about ID theft
A storefront may not convey legitimacy
Some fly-by-nighters will rent office or retail space to make their mortgage or loan operations look legitimate. They're really after Social Security numbers and personal information on application forms and, in some cases, the deeds themselves, says Linda Foley, co-founder of the Identity Theft Resource Center.
To sidestep a thief: If you're considering a lender that's not familiar, run the name past the Better Business Bureau, the state department of consumer affairs and your state's department of real estate, says Foley. Even better, shop "your own bank, credit union or company that you know has been around a while," she says.