With low home prices and interest rates at historically low levels, the past several months have brought a renewed vigor to the real estate market by home buyers and investors alike. However, this activity has also spurred a rise in mortgage fraud. So, if you are currently shopping for a lender for a home purchase or to refinance an existing loan, here are 10 tips to keep in mind as you do your homework.
Be alert to any individuals or companies that:
1. Want money up front for mortgage assistance.
2. Offer to fill out paperwork for you.
3. Claim to be performing a “forensic audit”.
4. Ask that payment be made directly to them, rather than your bank.
5. Promise to modify a mortgage or prevent foreclosure, regardless of your circumstances.
6. Advise you to stop making mortgage payments.
7. Suggest that you lease your house and buy it back over time.
8. Require payments in the form of cash, cashier’s check, or wire transfer.
9. Advise you to transfer your property deed or title to them.
10. Ask you to give them power of attorney.
If you have been scammed or have any concerns at all about a lender or broker that you are working with, call the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) at 855-411-2372