You’ve probably seen the “This is a legitimate request” email scam. “Your lender has detected an outstanding amount.” “I’m a prince. I need your help.” has increased by more than 100% since the pandemic began.
These scams come in many forms, including impersonating bank representatives and partnering with government housing assistance programs. Scammers tend to target vulnerable consumers, such as the elderly, but no one is immune. Here are some common types of scams that prospective and current homeowners should be aware of, and how to protect yourself.
Scams to watch out for before buying a home
Prospective homebuyers looking to strengthen their credit history prior to applying for a mortgage may seek quick fixes to get the best deal. and can steal money that could be used for a down payment.
Some credit bureaus falsely claim that they can remove negative information from a consumer’s credit report, even if the information is accurate, to trick consumers into purchasing their services. These scammers often charge consumers large upfront fees, but even if they offer their services, they are unable to settle or reduce the debt.
“ There is nothing a credit repair service can legally do that you cannot do yourself.”
While it may be tempting to leave the work of fixing your credit to a credit repair company, it’s important to know what they can and can’t do. There is nothing a credit repair service can legally do for you at little to no cost. For starters, you can access credit reports for free from each of his three credit bureaus across the country every week until the end of 2023. www.annualcreditreport.com.
Scams to watch out for when buying a home
One of the most common scams prospective homeowners face during the closing process is what is known as mortgage fraud or escrow wire fraud. These phishing scams attempt to divert closing costs and down payments to accounts accessible to scammers by confirming or suggesting changes to wiring procedures.
Some consumers have reported receiving fake emails that appear to come from a real estate agent with seemingly genuine documents and new instructions on where to send their deposits.For consumers who spend a significant portion of their savings for a down payment, these schemes can be devastating. Estimate In 2017 alone, these scammers lost nearly $1 billion in real estate transactions.
Another common scam that occurs during the mortgage buying process is the undercover scam. Fraudulent lenders lure prospects with favorable terms and low mortgage rates. Once the consumer initiates the process and signs on, these scammers will switch to a worse or higher rate offer, claiming the homebuyer is no longer eligible for the original deal.
You should be extra careful with undercover scams, as mortgage rate changes occur in legitimate settings and are therefore difficult to prove. Depending on the stage of the financing process, some buyers may find it difficult to reverse the process without losing the opportunity to purchase the home they have been working on.
Scams to watch out for after buying a home
Most scammers target vulnerable consumers. It’s no exaggeration to say that people who are in danger of losing their homes are very vulnerable.
Common post-home purchase scams are called: Foreclosure Relief or Mortgage ReliefBecause pre-foreclosure homes are on public records, some scammers offer homeowners in financial pinch a way to reduce their mortgage payments with an upfront fee.
“ Demands to “pay first” are the most obvious signs of being approached by hustlers ”
A request to “pay first” is the most obvious sign that you are being approached by a hustler. It is against the law for businesses to charge upfront fees for services that help consumers ease their mortgage payments.
Foreclosure rescue or “white night” scams are another common scam in post-buying rip-offs. In exchange, the homeowner signs a deed for a “temporary” period. In some cases, scammers even attempt to sell the home and evict the previous home owner.
how not to be a victim
Keeping an eye out for unscrupulous scammers at each stage of the homeownership process can seem daunting, but consumers can take simple steps to protect themselves.
1. Be aware of phone numbers and email addresses that contact you requesting personal information. Even just one letter or number from her familiar contact should be double checked.
2. If you receive an offer from someone you’re considering engaging with, take the time to review the company’s reputation. When in doubt, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) Working with the FBI to identify trends and scammers can be an effective resource.
Eric J. Ellman is senior vice president of public policy and legal affairs for the Consumer Data Industry Association.
more: These Online Scams That Steal Your Money Will Shock You Even If You Think You’ve Seen Them All
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