The Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. in the Fall 2013 issue of FDIC Consumer News cautions consumers to be wary of mortgage scams (“Protect Yourself from Mortgage Scams,” www.fdic.gov).
The FDIC indicates that those at financial risk of losing their homes can be particularly vulnerable.
The agency provides common warning signs of possible scams.
For example, the agency cautions consumers to be wary if upfront fees are required to be "guaranteed" a foreclosure rescue or loan modification. Individuals cannot guarantee approval of mortgage assistance applications. If upfront fees are paid, the FDIC cautions, you may never see the money again or get the services “guaranteed.”
Be careful if a company claims that it is approved by or affiliated with the government, or if you receive an unsolicited request to divulge personal financial information. A request for your Social Security number, date of birth, or other personal information may be an attempt to gain information to commit identity fraud.
Don’t let yourself be pressured to sign over the title to your home or approve documents that you haven’t had time to read.
Watch out if asked to stop paying your mortgage lender and start paying your new "helpers," as a condition to qualify for mortgage modification.
The FDIC reminds us; if payments go to a fraudulent third party, they’ll likely disappear.
Consult professionals you trust.