Here are some good things to think about from the FBI.
Mortgage Fraud Prevention Measures
Tips to Protect Yourself Against Mortgage Fraud
- Get referrals for real estate and mortgage professionals. Check the licenses of the industry professionals with state, county, or city regulatory agencies.
- An outrageous promise of extraordinary profit in a short period of time signals a problem.
- Be wary of strangers and unsolicited contacts, as well as high-pressure sales techniques.
- Look at written information, to include recent comparable sales in the area and other documents such as tax assessments to verify the value of the property.
- Understand what you are signing. If you do not understand, re-read the documents or seek assistance from an attorney or third party who represents your interest.
- Review the title history of the home you are anticipating to purchase to determine if the property has been sold multiple times within a short period. It could mean that this property has been “flipped,” and the value falsely inflated.
- Know and understand the terms of your mortgage. Check your personal information against the information as listed on the loan documents to ensure it is accurate and complete.
- Never sign any loan documents that contain “blanks.” This leaves you vulnerable to fraud.
- Check out the tips on the MBA website at mbaa.org for additional advice on avoiding mortgage fraud.
Tips to Protect Yourself Against Mortgage Debt Elimination Schemes
- Be aware of e-mails or web-based advertisements that promote the elimination of mortgage loans, credit card, and other debts while requesting an up-front fee to prepare documents to satisfy the debt. The documents are typically entitled Declaration of Voidance, Bond for Discharge of Debt, Bill of Exchange, Due Bill, Redemption Certificate, or other similar variations. These documents do not achieve what they purport.
- There is no easy method to relieve your debts.
- Borrowers may end up paying thousands of dollars in fees without the elimination or reduction of any debt.
Tips to Protect Yourself Against Foreclosure Fraud Schemes
- Be aware of offers to “save” homeowners who are at risk of defaulting on loans, or whose houses are already in foreclosure.
- Seek a qualified credit counselor or attorney to assist.
- Do not pay advanced fees for promised services.