New Mortgage Scam Targeting FL Homeowners
I hope you and your family had a wonderful holiday.
I received a call from a client the other day to notify me that a scam artist called and told him that he had fallen behind on his mortgage payments. Fortunately, our client was savvy enough to realize that something wasn’t right as he knew he was current on his mortgage payments.
Our client then called his mortgage company to only have the representative confirm that he was indeed current on his mortgage payments.
We have learned of scam artists pretending to be the Social Security Administration or the IRS, but this was the first time I heard of a scammer pretending to be the mortgage company. These desperate scammers are always trying to find new ways to trick consumers.
In our practice, we have seen that the senior population can be particularly vulnerable to these types of scams. Here are a few tips on how to handle this situation:
First, Do Not Provide Any Personal Information to the Caller
Do not be surprised if the scammer has some of your personal information. It was most likely stolen or otherwise obtained illegally. Unfortunately, the advance of technology has made this easier for scammers. Many consumers assume that the caller must be legitimate because they have some of your personal identifying information. Do not fall into this trap. Do not make the matter worse by providing even more personal or account information to them. Never provide debit or credit card numbers and never provide account information.
Second, Take Notes of the Call
Grab a notepad and a pen and jot down notes as you take the call. Ask for the person’s first and last name, the manager’s information, and their office location. Just asking some of these questions may result in the caller quickly hanging up the phone, demonstrating that this is a scam.
Third, Call Your Mortgage Company
Once you get off the suspicious call, contact your mortgage company right away. Explain the call and most likely, the representative will confirm that everything is fine with your mortgage account (assuming you are current). If the mortgage company representative states that you are behind on payments or there are any other issues with your account, request that the mortgage put this in writing and mail you a letter confirming the details. Also, request a current itemized payoff statement for your review.
Finally, Report It
Many of these scam artists are operating out of other countries and bounce around from call center to call center so they are extremely difficult to track down. Do not get your hopes up about catching the scammer, but if you have sufficient information you should call the local branch of the FBI and report it.
I hope the information in this newsletter is helpful to you and your family. Best wishes for a Happy New Year and a prosperous 2021!
Ryan C. Torrens
Consumer litigation attorney
Disclaimer: The information provided in this email does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; instead, all information, content, and materials available in this email is for general informational purposes only.