According to FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), mortgage scams are at an all time high with suspicious activity reports up 31% from the first quarter of 2010. This high number is partly due to large number of recent reports of fraudulent activity happening as long as 3-4 years ago that are just now being realized. But the latest scam current homeowners should be aware of is quickly making it to the top of the headlines, highjacked mortgage payments.
Here's how the scam works- The homeowner receives a letter from Bank B stating they have bought the mortgage from Bank A. It instructs the homeowner to begin sending their monthly payment to 'new' Bank B, who is now the mortgage holder. The homeowner may not think this is suspicious, as banks buy and sell mortgages to each other on a regular basis. They begin making payments to Bank B and don’t realize they’ve been scammed until a month or two later when they’ve missed payments with Bank A.
As a homeowner, you should know that the FDIC Mortgage Servicing Laws require that you receive two letters. One from the current company notifying them that as of a specific date their payment should be sent to a new company and one from the new company that provides mortgage payment information (principal, interest, and escrow). Both letters should include the loan number. You should also contact the original bank to verify that the loan has been sold and the letter they received is legitimate.
If you suspect that you have been a victim of mortgage fraud and are unsure of what to do, give us a call at 734-761-3060 and we’d be more than happy to advise you. If you are thinking of purchasing a new Ann Arbor home or condo in the future, be sure to start with our state of the art Ann Arbor real estate website where you can: Search for Homes, View Ann Arbor Subdivisions, or Visit the Mortgage Center. We look forward to assisting you with your next real estate transaction!