Mortgage Scams and How to Spot Them

September 5, 2023

Categories: Education, Financial Wellness, Homeowners, Mortgages, Protecting Your Accounts, Safety & Security, Scams & Fraud

By Dawn Kellogg

Imagine this: You’ve just received an unexpected letter that looks like it comes from your mortgage lender. But then look closer and realize that something isn’t adding up. According to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker, some letters are a crafty solicitation for an illegitimate home warranty service. Here’s how to spot the scam.

The letter will “appear” to come from your mortgage provider, claiming to be a “Final Notice” referencing a property secured by your mortgage lender and a mortgage waiver. It might request an “Immediate Response to the Notice.”  The mailing is made to look like a check. It has tear away sides and inside is a voucher for $199.00 requesting your signature for redemption. It’s not a check, but an attempt to get you to sign up for a home warranty.

It’s not until you look at the very bottom of the document that you see the fine print: “Not all consumers have previous coverage. We are not affiliated with your current mortgage holder.”  If you don’t read or see that fine print, you might worry that your home warranty has lapsed and that your mortgage is at risk. 

Do not call the number and don’t give them your information. This is a scam.

If you respond to this solicitation in any way, you will not be dealing with your mortgage lender and will have given your information (and perhaps your money) to a company that practices deceptive advertising tactics.

Tips for avoiding mortgage scams:

Go to the source – if you receive any correspondence regarding your mortgage or home warranty that you are not sure about, don’t use the contact information on the message. Instead call your lender directly. 

Look out for high-pressure offers or threats. Don’t let scammers pressure you to act immediately, even if they say you could lose your home. If someone tries to use scare tactics, stop communicating with them immediately and contact your lender directly.

Do your research. If you are shopping for a home warranty, do your research, check out your options and read the terms closely before signing the contract.

What you can do

If you spot a mortgage scam, let your lender know immediately and also report it to the Better Business Bureau Scam Tracker.

The BBB Scam Tracker is a free tool that anyone can use to report suspected scams. Your reports can help others avoid similar cons.

At the end of the day, you want to avoid doing business with companies that resort to misleading sales techniques.

Remember: if it seems suspicious, it’s probably a scam. If you have any questions, please contact us at: (585) 453-7010 or (800) 836-7328 extension 7010.