Mortgage Fraud: A Lucrative Crime Spree

By Debbie Wilson Columnist

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Mortgage fraud has been around probably as long as new home loans have, but recent trends in the mortgage loan process have made it easier than ever for "scammers" to game the system. Find out what you need to know to avoid being scammed before you purchase your new home loan.


Mortgage Scams Explained

Mortgage scams can be complicated, but in essence, mortgage fraud involves deception to obtain real estate or real estate loan money. More often than not, the "scammer" is a mortgage broker who brings title companies and appraisers in on the scam. Without you even knowing, a mortgage scam can force you into sudden bankruptcy and foreclosure.

Mortgage Trends

What is driving the mortgage fraud crime spree? Basically, inflated housing prices, inexpensive scanners and printers, computerized new home loan application procedures, and inexperienced and unqualified lenders have all contributed to the rise in mortgage fraud. Luckily, there are ways to protect yourself.

Avoid Mortgage Fraud

If you're worried about mortgage fraud, consider looking at properties and attending open houses independently from your mortgage broker. You might even want to hire a licensed home inspector, especially if the home in question has been bought or sold frequently in the last few years. Don't ever sign a blank document or one with blank spaces. Refuse to "fudge" your new home loan application and be wary of unsolicited contacts and high-pressure sales tactics. Finally, compare mortgage lenders thoroughly before you make a selection. You can go to online sources or check with your local bank for leads and pertinent information. If there's something you don't understand on your new home loan application, stop and don't proceed until you do.

Most victims of mortgage fraud have little legal recourse. And that is exactly why your best option to avoid being scammed is to do your research before you purchase your new home loan. That way, you can stop potentially complicated, white-collar scammers before they have a chance to scam you!


About the Author
Debbie Wilson owns and operates a lakeside resort. Her previous experience includes profitability consulting for a national healthcare company. Debbie holds a B.A. in Business Management with a minor in Physical Education.

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