America is being hit hard by mortgage scams and, shockingly, many individuals make the initial contact with the scammers as they seek help on the internet. Buying a house is one of the biggest financial investments an individual will make in their lifetime, and obtaining a mortgage in order to secure your dream home can be difficult. This is why con artists target vulnerable individuals who yearn to get the keys to their own property. The internet is awash with scams, including identity theft, pension, banking, social media money scams, and mortgage scams to name a few.
Common mortgage scams
Mortgage scams come in many forms. One of the most common is refinancing scams where people are targeted or enticed to contact a scammer following notification of a not-to-be missed great deal. Often, a low interest rate is offered or the deal is offered for a short time only. This is to emotionally target individuals and ensure a quick response time. However, the information the victim is asked to provide can then be used by the scammers to commit identity theft.
An even scarier scam which involves a homeowner losing their home is deed theft. This scam involves fraudsters posing as professional mortgage advisors and attorneys who get you to sign your ‘new’ mortgage terms and conditions. However, hidden somewhere amongst all the paperwork will be a transfer of deeds document.
Reverse mortgage scams
Reverse mortgage scams have been designed by thieves to scam some of the most vulnerable people in society; the elderly. The two most common types of reverse mortgage scams are equity theft and foreclosure rescue. A recurring feature of reverse mortgage scams is deception. The thieves will say and do whatever is required to lure money from or to take an elderly individual’s property off them.
Other types of mortgage fraud
Mortgage fraud is something which is also committed by individuals applying for a mortgage application. By deliberately providing false information on their application, they increase their chances of obtaining a loan. In one case, a Florida man was handed a two year prison sentence and ordered to pay $960,020 after being found guilty of inflating his income, understating his liabilities and denying he’d filed for bankruptcy.
How to protect yourself
The best way to protect yourself from mortgage fraud is to stay educated and to trust your gut instinct. If an offer lands on your doorstep or email inbox which appears too good to be true, then it probably is, even if it appears to have come from one a well known financial institution. Never contact the phone number or email address on a unexpected piece of communication from your lender. Instead, use a contact number or address which you’ve contacted them on previously.
Mortgages are great financial products which offer so many people the opportunity to own their own home. However, there are individuals out there willing to shatter people’s dreams and take it all away from them. Therefore, it’s important to stay savvy and be on your guard when it comes to anything mortgage related.