Mortgage Hijacking

Recently, there is a rise of a new scam aimed at hijacking just one or two mortgage payments from unsuspecting homeowners. With many mortgages being transferred to new service providers through the life of a loan, many homeowners are unaware of what the actual process is for notification, or what to do in such circumstances.

In some cases, diligent homeowners are aware of the fraud after one payment when they realize that their lender has not received the current payment. But one missed payment for many homeowners in today’s tight economy could mean missing another payment while catching up. Even the initial missed payment can damage an owner’s FICO credit score.

The scam works because it is aimed at collecting just one or two mortgage payments from unsuspecting parties. The scheme starts when con artists send homeowners a letter stating that they are the new service provider of the loan with the goal of convincing homeowners to send payments to a fictitious party.

The scheme works because many are unaware of what the rules / processes are. Under the law, your current service provider needs to send you a “goodbye” letter. Shortly thereafter, the new service provider will send you a “welcome package” that includes details about your principal, interest, escrow and loan. The package should also contain a new coupon book, with self addressed envelopes to send payment. Both letters should contain your loan number and should be the same on both instances.

In case of any doubt, it is always wise to contact your current mortgage service provider and verify the information. If you receive only one letter, it may be a red flag.

Related posts: Consumer Protection, Reform and Protection, Mortgage Morality

Sherwin L. Sucaldito, REALTOR®, GREEN, ABR, CRPM
The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing
Green REsource Council, GREEN
Accredited Buyer’s Representative , ABR
Certified Residential Property Manager, CRPM
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