COVID-19 Scams And Mortgage Relief
Anytime people are struggling with difficult situations a flock of scam artists emerge ready to take advantage of them, and the COVID-19 crisis has proven to be no exception. Across the country, homeowners are facing mortgage foreclosure or eviction and some are falling victim to mortgage and rental scams.
Through so-called “foreclosure rescue fraud,” scammers contact homeowners to offer potential financial relief options, such as preventing foreclosure or eviction, according to Freddie Mac. In reality, they are attempting to steal personal information, money, or other property.
Since the beginning of 2020, the Federal Trade Commission has counted nearly 50,000 reports of COVID-19-related scams, at a loss of more than $35 million.
Common components of these fraudulent offers include:
- Unsolicited calls, emails, and text messages from someone posing as Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, banks or mortgage companies, non-profits, or government officials stating they can offer lower interest rates, foreclosure relief, delayed payment terms, or other loan modifications.
- Unsolicited offers for mortgage or rental assistance that require up-front payments such as cash, check, or wire transfer payments. No legitimate relief program will require any up-front payments.
- Individuals attempting to purchase your home by providing false information to you about the outcomes of loan forbearance. The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act is intended to keep you in your home, not get you out of it.
- Asking you to sign unfamiliar documents and/or share your personal information.
- Offers to charge you rent to stay in your home and/or potentially promising that you can purchase your home back when your financial situation improves.
With millions already out of work and others likely to become so, it’s important to stay vigilant and avoid being drawn into a mortgage scam:
- Do not ever share personal or financial information over the phone or via email or text messages.
- Be especially guarded if you’re being pressured to share any information, sign something, or make a payment immediately.
- Do not ever click any links in a text message. Even if a friend sends you a text with link for mortgage relief, call them to make sure they weren’t hacked.
If you are experiencing difficulty making mortgage payments due to the national coronavirus emergency keep in mind while there are fraudsters out there, real assistance is available too.
For the most up-to-date information specific to you, contact your mortgage servicer directly – renters should reach out to their individual landlords.
Other resources that can help include CFPB.gov/housing, a new site created jointly by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Federal Housing Finance Agency, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development to give homeowners and renters one place to go for assistance offered by various agencies under the CARES Act.
If you’re considering selling your home experienced, local Realtors can help you understand the current market conditions specific to your home.
Selling a home at any time is a stressful undertaking, but especially so during financial adversity and anxiety about the current health crisis. The Platinum Group, Realtors are not only the number one independent real estate firm in Colorado, they offer the best tools and resources to provide platinum service and platinum results.
For a no-obligation consultation, call today: (719) 536-4478 or visit PlatinumHomesSales.com.