Minimize Identity Theft

Idenity Theft

No longer do thieves have to break into you Escondido home to steal from you.  They can just steal your identity or steal through your computer if you are careless.  Below are some things you can do to help minimize the chance of electronic theft or identity theft.

—If you bank online, frequently check your accounts to spot errors or fraudulent transactions. The sooner you detect a problem, the easier it can be to fix.  Also, look over each of your credit card bills each month for unauthorized charges.

—Don’t respond to “urgent” requests. Never give out your Social Security, credit or debit card numbers or PIN in response to an unsolicited e-mail, text message or phone call. That “urgent” message purportedly from a bank, merchant or government agency (such as the IRS) could be a scam attempting to trick you into divulging personal and account information.  If you are concerned about the urgent request, log into your account and see if you have any messages. In the case of credit cards, call the number on the back of the card and ask them if they have tried to contact you about anything.

—Watch out for bogus text messages. Cell phone texts claiming that your bank account has been “blocked” and that you must call to fix the problem can be a scam. If you make the call, you’ll likely be asked for your account and PIN, which can be used to create counterfeit debit cards.

—Don’t open attachments or click on links in unsolicited e-mails. Your computer could become infected with “spyware” that changes your security settings and records your keystrokes. It lets online thieves silently steal your passwords, bank or credit-card numbers and obtain answers to security questions, like your mother’s maiden name.

-Shred items that have your personal information and account numbers before throwing them in the trash.

-PayPal is where I personally see most of the fraud attempts against me.  I get a bogus message wanting me to click to log in to PayPal.  If you use that login link, anything you give them is lost.  Tip: If you use PayPal, anything officially from PayPal will address you by name.  Also, like above, log into your PayPal account directly yourself if you need to check something.  Never click a link in an email to login.

By using a little common sense, you can help minimize the risk of identity fraud. To minimize risk when buying or selling Escondido real estate fraud, always use a top Escondido Realtor, like Gary Harmon.

New California First-Time Homebuyer Tax Credit

With the Federal Tax Credit expiring on April 30, 2010, Governor Schwarzenegger saves the day by signing AB 183 into law.  The new first-time homebuyer tax credit becomes effetive on May 1, 2010.    It will be on a first come, first serve basis and when the $200 million runs out the credit is over.  Unlike the previous state tax credit which applied only to new residences, this credit will be split equally between new (previously unoccupied homes) and existing homes.   This website will discuss how the credit affects Escondido real estate purchases, but the same rules would apply to other San Diego North County real estate sales. 

First of all to qualify for the first-time homebuyer tax credit, you must be a first-time Escondido home buyer.    The amount of the tax credit on your Escondido home purchase is limited to 5% of the Escondido home for sale price or $10,000, which ever is smaller.  You will receive you tax credit over three consecutive years.  To be eligible you must purchase a qualified Escondido home between May 1, 2010 and December 31, 2010.   If you enter an enforceable purchase contract before December 31, 2010, it must close escrow before August 1, 2011 to qualify.   Again, when the money runs out the program is over.

The new California first-time homebuyer tax credit is expected to have a very positive impact on the Escondido home economy and around the state.  Nearly 40% of first-time home buyers said they would not have purchased without the Federal tax credit.  The California credit is expected to provide similar results.   For more information about tax credits, contact Gary Harmon, your Escondido Realtor.

North County Homes for Over 55 – Escondido Homes

OHCC SunsetThe Escondido real estate area does not have any large over 55 (55+) retirement areas.  The nearest such communities are south across Lake Hodges in Rancho Bernardo.  These North County homes for over 55 are the communities of Oaks North homes and Seven Oaks Homes.

To the west of  Escondido in Oceanside are the North County homes for over 55 communities of Ocean Hills Country Club homesOceana homes, and Emerald Lake Village.   Today, we are going to be reviewing the community of Ocean Hills Country Club, or OHCC  for short.

Ocean Hills Country Club is a gated, over 55, 55+, senior community that caters to the active lifestyle.  Your Ocean Hills home owners dues includes golf on the Ocean Hills executive golf course.  No separate green fees!   Ocean Hills Country Club also has tennis courts, a workout room, and a large swimming pool to keep you fit.

Ocean Hills Country Club homes  for sale range in price from $250k to over $600k.  Some homes even have a view of the Pacific Ocean, while others are on the golf course or greenbelts.  Ocean Hills homes are the premier retirement community in North County homes for over 55.  There are about 8 neighborhoods and over 1600 Ocean Hills properties.  All are painted white with red tile roofs.  Exteriors and front yards are maintained by the Ocean Hills HOA.

For more info on Ocean Hills Country Club homes and other North County homes for over 55, contact Gary Harmon, your top North County Realtor.