Beware of Mortgage Payment Transfer Scams
August 10th, 2011
August 10th, 2011
A common mortgage scam has resurfaced again that dupes unsuspecting homeowners out of a couple months of mortgage payments. Since mortgage institutions are continually consolidating, borrowers can quickly become victims to the scheme and not realize it until they’ve missed several months of actual mortgage payments.
The scam works like this: Homeowners receive official-looking letters telling them that another (fictitious) company has assumed the management of their loans, and they should begin sending their payments to the new (fictitious) company. The borrowers, who fall for the ruse, will send one or possibly two payments to the fake company before realizing that they’ve been conned. By this point, homeowners have lost the money for a couple house payments, have seriously damaged their credit rating since they’re late on their payments, and may possibly be on the path to foreclosure.
To keep from falling victim to this scam, you should know the rules concerning the transfer of mortgage-servicing rights. By law:
Your current service provider must send you a letter notifying you that your mortgage will now be serviced by another company. This letter will state when you should begin sending payments to the new company.
Within a couple weeks, you’ll receive a letter from the new mortgage servicer. This letter will tell you what your monthly payment is, with a breakdown of the principal, interest, and escrow. You should also receive a few payment coupons or a new coupon book, along with several self-addressed printed envelopes, so you can begin making payments.
Both letters should include your loan number. If they don’t, or the information provided in each doesn’t match up, you should call your original loan provider to verify the account transfer. Also, if you only receive one letter, contact your previous lender. When calling the original servicer, you should use the company’s toll-free number listed on the copies of your previous payment stubs or on their website. In this way, you’ll protect yourself if you did receive a letter from a fraudulent company. Many of these fake companies often have people answering the phone line for the number given in the letter, and they can provide information that sounds convincing.
This scheme may seem simple, but borrowers may not know they’ve been conned until their current lender notifies them that they’ve missed a payment. Unfortunately, since most homeowners will probably just tell their lender that the payment has been mailed, it may take another missed payment before the homeowner realizes that they’ve been a victim of mortgage fraud.
If you receive a letter transferring your mortgage to another servicer that you suspect may be fraudulent, call a trusted mortgage broker to verify the information before you get conned out of your hard-earned money.
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