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Security problems with Target & Neiman Marcus could impact home sales

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The recent massive data breach of up to 70 million customers’ credit and debit cards at Target may have a spillover effect that derailing some real estate transactions.

Potential buyers may find they have some damaged credit files and lower credit scores over the coming months, which could disqualify them from a mortgage – until they are able to fully document the problem at least.

Even more customers are at risk with the recent data breaches reported at Neiman Marcus that's affecting 1.1 million customers – and at least six other retailers have reported breaches.

Target and Neiman Marcus are offering free credit-monitoring services to their customers. But credit experts say that many people have not yet taken advantage of it, possibly because they’re not aware of the offer.

These data thefts could put some consumers at risk for identity theft. While victims won’t likely be held liable for any unauthorized debts made on their credit cards, their credit reports and credit scores can be damaged for weeks or even longer if they fall victim to identity theft.

These data thefts have the potential to create “havoc on credit files for as long as it takes for the consumer to document [that] the accounts are due to identity theft and get them removed from the file,” says Terry Clemans, executive director of the National Consumer Reporting Association, a trade group which represents independent credit-reporting companies serving the mortgage industry. “The impact on credit scores, although short term, is devastating because they are current defaults and [trigger] a big hit to the score. With the sizes of the breaches, this could be painful for a long time.”

Credit experts are saying that home sales could be derailed by the sudden appearance of new debts on buyers’ credit reports. Even if borrowers say they’re a victim of identity theft, they may still find the transaction(s) put on hold as bureaus attempt to repair and verify the reports. That could cause buyers to miss contractual deadlines with the home seller, and possibly even prevent the transaction from going through, the Los Angeles Times reports.

Source: Florida Realtor's - "Target’s security problems could impact home sales"

Josh Parker is the Team Leader of ProFusion Property Group at Keller Williams Realty, Inc., located in Trinity, FL, and an active Tampa YPN Committee Member. ProFusion Property Group specializes in the listing & sale of residential real estate all over Pinellas, Pasco & Hillsborough County. His team has successfully sold over 175 units for their clients in 2012, while maintaining an exceptional “sold price to list price” statistic of 99.08%. For more information, free tips, and free home searches, please visit Josh & the ProFusion Team at www.profusionpg.com!

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