Local impostors are claiming to be appraisers to gain entry to distressed homes
We have heard from distressed homeowners who, after having the Notice of Default letters taped to their door, (pre-foreclosure) had unannounced individuals arriving at their door with cameras saying they are the appraiser sent by 'their bank'.
These people are impostors.
They are getting names off the county bulletin boards of homes in arrears pending foreclosure proceedings. It is apparent some foreclosure buyers use this tactic of false pretense to gain entry and review properties prior to auction. One homeowner just called to say a person arrived with a camera, without a business card, asking for information (she didn't give out) about her loan, her property, etc. They didn't know the name of the Bank or Trustee and asked how much was owed and other private information. She had the presence of mind to tell them to leave and call her trustee.
Unfortunately a skilled impostor would have a lot of this information. They may even have fake cards made up. Really no one should just show up wanting access without having called first so you can check them out and schedule a time that suits you.
If someone arrives claiming to be an appraiser:
- Ask who sent them. They should KNOW!
- Offer NO information whatsoever.
- Ask for a card. If no card, have them write down their name, phone number and sign it.
- If you have a cell phone with a camera, take their picture.
- Take down their vehicle license plate number, or photograph with your camera cell phone
- If they park in a position where you cannot see the vehicle this is a tip-off.
- DO NOT LET THEM IN unless they provide correct information and you feel comfortable with them
- BETTER: Tell them they must make an appointment at your convenience
- Don't let them walk around outside or take any photos.
- If you have an attack dog.... (!)
If the person seems fishy, ask them to leave immediately. Dial 911 with a description.
- Then call your Trustee and ask if they sent an appraiser and explain what happened
Our homeowner's Trustee verified they had NOT sent an appraiser and had no intention to. In most cases, a lender or Trustee does not ask for a Broker Price Opinion until well down in the negotiation process, if ever. Loan modification applicants (who may be in default) are rarely subjected to an appraisal unless there is considerable doubt about a property's value or condition.
To misrepresent oneself and demand entry is criminal trespass not to mention a breach of privacy and common courtesy. If an appraiser cannot properly identify themselves and asks for information (they should have on their person) they should not be allowed to enter your property. Period. A legitimate appraiser would call first and make an appointment.
NOTE: One homeowner's 12 year old daughter was at home alone when a man arrived at the door and demanded entry. Then he went through the house taking pictures. Imagine the outrage of her parents to realize this was probably a local investor posing as a bank appraiser. Imagine if that child had been harmed or there was any question of improper behavior by the intruder.
Express your concerns and support to your congress persons http://www.congress.org
For more information on your consumer rights, check out the WA State Attorney General's site: http://www.atg.wa.gov or call your state attorney general.
Stay safe and sane!