Protecting Your Clients From Identity Theft
In today’s mortgage market, identity theft and impersonation are a significant concern, making it necessary for the mortgage agent to verify the identity of his or her client at the initial consultation. Regardless of whether the appointment is conducted at the client’s residence or elsewhere, the mortgage agent must obtain photo identification for all clients.
Where possible a photocopy should be taken of this identification, or a picture taken, either using a camera or smartphone, but if not possible then an attestation to the fact that the identification was viewed must be made and put in the file. In all cases the statement below that best represents the circumstances of the identity verification should be included in the application when submitted to the lender, ideally in the notes section.
Three forms of typical attestations, based on differing circumstances are:
“I have / have not met the client before however I have viewed photo identification in the form of (driver’s license, passport, etc,) and attest to the fact that it appears to be an accurate representation of the client,” or
“The client is a previous client of mine and I have viewed photo identification in the form of (driver’s license, passport, etc.) and attest to the fact that it appears to be an accurate representation of the client,” or
In the case of taking an application by email or through the Internet where personal contact is not possible,
“I have/have not met the client before and have not personally met the client in this transaction and therefore cannot verify the client’s identify through photo identification.”
While obtaining photo identification is not legally mandated as of the date of publication of this book, it is a best practice and should be followed without fail to protect the integrity of the transaction and the security of all parties involved.
In so doing the mortgage agent affirms his or her professionalism to both of his or her clients: the lender and the borrower. If the borrower protests, inform him or her that it is for his or her protection. If the client continues to protest this should be taken as a red flag for fraud and the mortgage agent should refuse to continue with the transaction until the client agrees to produce valid identification.
Mortgage brokering in Ontario is regulated by the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO) and requires a license. To obtain a license you must first pass an accredited course. The Real Estate and Mortgage Institute of Canada Inc. (REMIC) is accredited by FSCO to provide the course. For more information please visit us at www.remic.ca/getlicensed or call us at 877-447-3642
How Your Clients Can Protect Themselves
- Always determine who you are dealing with before giving out personal information
- Do not reply to emails or phone calls requesting sensitive information such as banking/credit card details or passwords
- Review your mail regularly to track any discrepancies in your financial statements
- Shred/destroy documents containing your personal/financial information before you throw them away
You may also be interested in our article about managing your client database: Close More Deals By Leveraging Your Client Database
Here’s how to win at your next client meeting: How to Win a Face-2-Face Client Meeting
Looking to get more referrals? Read our article: 8 Dynamite Ways to Get More Mortgage Referral Sources
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