TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Aug 11, 2014) - Homebuyers are increasingly worried about protecting their personal data according to a recent survey by Equifax Canada. A majority of Canadians (79%) are more concerned today about safeguarding their personal information than a year ago.
"Consumers and lenders are certainly becoming more wary of the potential threats related to fraud and identity theft," said Tim Ashby, Vice President, Personal Solutions, Equifax Canada. "In the home-buying process, a lot of personal data is on the table when dealing with mortgage brokers, real estate agents, and lawyers among others."
Most consumers (81%) believe that lenders should be doing more to protect them from fraud and identity theft. The survey, however, also examined how truthful Canadians are when looking to secure a home loan. One in 10 Canadians agreed it is okay to inflate their annual income when applying for a mortgage and 9% agreed that they had not been entirely truthful on a credit or loan application.
"Make no mistake, lying on your loan application is a type of mortgage fraud," said Ashby. "Whether you're a lender or a consumer, data protection and the integrity of the data should be priorities at all times. For the consumer, it's not just a matter of protecting your information, it's critical to know what's on your credit file - especially when looking to buy a new home."
Canadians embarking on the mortgage brokering process are not any more informed about their credit score than the general population. Only 23% of Canadians know their current credit score versus 26% who knew it at the time they applied for a mortgage.
"Tens of thousands of extra dollars are being spent to service a mortgage simply because people don't know their credit score," said Ashby. "Maintaining a healthy credit report by paying bills on time will go a long way in securing a loan at a lower interest rate."
An Equifax credit score ranges from 300-900. Higher scores are viewed more favourably. Most Canadians (71%) have a credit score of 725 or higher, which is considered to be Very Good or Excellent.
Score Range by Canadian Population %
The survey was conducted online using Leger's weekly OMNI via Legerweb. A representative sample of 1,500 Canadians from across the country was captured between July 7-10, 2014. A sample of this size would yield a margin of error of +/- 2.5% 19 times out of 20.
Equifax is a global leader in consumer and commercial information solutions, providing businesses of all sizes and consumers with information they can trust. We organize and assimilate data on more than 600 million consumers and 81 million businesses worldwide, and use advanced analytics and proprietary technology to create and deliver customized insights that enrich both the performance of businesses and the lives of consumers.
Headquartered in Atlanta, Equifax operates or have investments in 19 countries and is a member of the Standard & Poor's (S&P) 500® Index. Its common stock is traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol EFX.
For more information, please visit www.equifax.ca.