These days, your typical mortgage fraud is less about good -fashioned identity theft, wherein someone would take a HELOC loan out in someone else's name, and more about old fashioned confidence tricks. The target of today's mortgage fraud tends to be somebody on the verge of foreclosure or somebody who may be interested in having their mortgage modified. The con artist will introduce him or herself as a reputable mortgage financier or other official sounding title, and proceed with trying to trick you into whatever they can.
According to the Freddie Mac web page covering mortgage fraud , the following should be viewed as good indicators that the company or individual you're dealing with is, in fact, attempting to pull off a mortgage scam:
- The company or individual asks for an upfront fee.
- The company or individual "guarantees" they can put a stop to a foreclosure process or modify your loan.
- The company or individual suggests that you stop paying your mortgage company and start paying them.
- The company or individual tries to talk you into signing the deed of your house over to them.
- The company or individual attempts to have you sign paperwork you haven't read.
- The company or individual claims they can offer you a "government approved loan" that your mortgage lender didn't tell you about.
- The company or individual asks you to release private information such as social security numbers, account numbers, etc., over the phone.
If such an entity does one of these things, then you should notify the authorities immediately.
It's important to never stop asking questions and being skeptical. You may very well be at your wits end and desperate for a solution, but resist simple fixes at all costs. Mortgage fraudsters target people in these situations. Those that are stressed are easy to persuade so long as they're told what they want to hear.
Hear me when I say, there's never going to be a simple way out of foreclosure or a simple way to modify your mortgage. With that said, these things certainly aren't impossible if you follow the right channels and trust the right people. All it takes is a little street smarts and a healthy dose of skepticism.