Mortgage scams are at an all-time, record high. According to FinCEN (Financial Crimes Enforcement Network), suspicious activity reports were up 31% from the first quarter of 2010. Although this sharp rise is in part attributed to cases going back several years that are just now being uncovered, there is a new scam that Ann Arbor homeowners should be aware – hijacked mortgage payments.
Here’s how it works: the homeowner receives a letter in the mail from Bank B claiming that they have purchased their mortgage from Bank A. The letter states that the homeowner should start sending their loan payments to Bank B, who now holds the mortgage. Since banks buy and sell mortgages on a regular basis, the homeowner may not think this is fraudulent and begins making payments to the ‘new’ bank. They usually don’t realize they’ve been scammed until a month or two later when they’ve missed payments with Bank A.
Homeowners should know that the FDIC Mortgage Servicing Laws require that they 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: View Our Buyer Services, Search for Washtenaw County Homes, and Visit the Mortgage Center. We look forward to assisting you with your next real estate transaction!