The Department of Housing and Urban Development is observing the month of November as Fraud Awareness month. The agency’s official site states, “During November Fraud Awareness Month, HUD is highlighting the many resources available to help combat fraud.”
What kind of resources are available to borrowers and potential borrowers? One of them is a video titled, “What Does Fraud Mean To You?”
The HUD official site also includes links to resources such as a global occupational fraud report. What should consumers beware of and raise the awareness of when it comes to fraud associated with mortgages and refinance loans?
There are a variety of critical areas that should be paid attention to–much will depend on what stage of home ownership you are at. Are you a first-time home buyer? A current home owner needing to refinance? Do you need mortgage relief due to COVID-19?
No matter what stage of homeownership you might be at, there are some common-sense rules to be aware of.
Never respond to unsolicited offers to bail out your home loan, offer mortgage relief, or provide loan forbearance or forgiveness. If you get such unsolicited offers—contacts through phone, e-mail, text, social media or other means–throw them away or delete them.
No home owner should respond to third parties who ask them to sidestep or bypass their lender or loan officer. Do not fall victim to scams that ask you to send money for your mortgage to anyone besides who is SUPPOSED to receive your payments.
These scammers will tell you not to let your loan officer know what you are doing–there’s a reason for that, and it is NOT GOOD.
Don’t respond to any offer of mortgage help that involves you signing your title over to someone else–any third party who tries to talk you into signing ownership of your home over to them with promises that you can rent to own or rent to pay off your mortgage debt is someone you should be reporting to the authorities rather than agreeing to their scheme.
Always reach out to your lender FIRST when trying to get information about your loan, or when you need mortgage assistance because of financial difficulty. If an offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.