Protect your mortgage closing from scammers

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It’s National Homeownership Month, and the FTC and the National Association of Realtors® want to remind you that scammers sometimes use emails to rob home buyers of their closing costs and personal information.

Here’s how the scam works: hackers break into the email accounts of buyers or real estate professionals to get information about upcoming real estate transactions. The hacker then sends an email to the buyer, posing as the real estate professional or title company. The bogus email says there has been a last minute change to the wiring instructions, and tells the buyer to wire closing costs to a different account. But it’s the scammer’s account. If the buyer takes the bait, their bank account could be cleared out in a matter of minutes.

If you’re buying a home and get an email with money-wiring instructions, STOP. Email is not a secure way to send financial information. Instead:

  • Contact the company through a number or email address you know is real. Don’t use phone numbers or links in the email.
  • Don’t open email attachments, even from someone you know, unless you’re expecting it. Opening attachments can put malware on your computer.

If you’ve already sent money to a scammer, act quickly.

  • If you wired money through your bank, ask them right away for a wire recall. If you used a money transfer company, like Western Union or MoneyGram, call their complaint lines immediately.
  • Report your experience to the FTC and to the FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at ic3.gov. Report as soon as you can and give as much information as you can. If your bank asks for a police report, give them a copy of your report to ic3.gov.

Learn more about protecting yourself from phishing and what to do if your email is hacked. If you gave your information to a scammer, visit IdentityTheft.gov.

Blog Topics: 
Homes & Mortgages

Comments

Between the telemarketing Phone calls Monday through Sunday 9 AM to 9 Pm Text on the cell Phone and emails LIFE HAVE BECOME A NIGHTMARE THERE IS NO PRIVACY ANYMORE. I am in the Do not Call Registry and it doesn't WORK they keep on calling you.
Is there any thing I can do to STOP this MADNESS

You can always block numbers its very easy to do. If you are nor familiar with a number you really need to block that number. If you are unable to; I strongly suggest that you make contact with your phone service provider and have them assist you with how to block unwanted calls.

JamieP: The issue is many of these companies violated the Do Not Call list are spoofing phone numbers. I've even received unsolicited calls that show as from my phone number. It's hard to block unwanted calls when they use a different and fake number each time.
One option on a smart phone is to look for a do not disturb function in the settings menu. That is intended to allow you to send calls straight to voicemail when you're sleeping. You can often customize it to allow certain numbers to get through while the rest go straight to voicemail. its what I do to keep the flood of illegal calls from being a non stop annoyance

Even with the Do Not Call Registry and elimination of a landline telephone, my mobile phone rings repeatedly on a daily basis with robo-calls. Why can't the FTC do something about this?

Check the settings on your smart phone for a do not disturb function. That allows you to automatically send calls to voicemail and create a "white list" of numbers allowed to ring the phone first. its not perfect, but it can help keep the annoyance down. The only other thing I can suggest is never do business with a phone solicitor. It seems to get you on a suckers list that causes even more unwanted calls to flood in.

You can call or write your corrupt and incompetent representative in Congress. SURELY the telecoms could put a stop to all this if compelled by law.

I agree, writing your representatives is a good start. It shows them what matters to the voters, so if enough letters pour in, they'll at least make noise about it and make a few talking g points about it during their campaigns.
You'd need cooperation from telecoms, wireless providers, and ISPs plus a lot of funding to hunt these crooks down. They spoof numbers and use other methods to obfuscate where they are calling from. It's a business that's fairly inexpensive to set up and expensive to find and shut down, so would likely be a long battle. In the mean time, education and reporting our the best ways we have to fight back. If people don't fall for it and don't buy, it's not profitable.

I'd like to know what to do about mortgage corruption within MY mortgage servicer and my alleged lender. BNYM is listed on the lender on most of my paperwork, since 2006. Yet the back of each cleared check isn't credited to Bank of NY Melon, it's instead being credited to JP Morgan Chase. No help from my servicer, Bayview, in finding out WHY the wrong company is pocketing my mortgage payments. Please HELP!!!

You could ask the loan servicer for more information abou where it has been sending your checks.

Also, you should have gotten paperwork when you first took out the mortgage. That loan paperwork should have information you can use to contact your lender.

My mortgage holder unlawfully confiscated my home...I submitted a complaint to CFPB #160xx-xxxxx omb xxxx-xxxx, which they claim to have forwarded to FTC. ALSO #s 826xxxxx & 826xxxxx complaints submitted directly to FTC. I have received no response. Is there some specific reason why my issues are being disregarded? Why am I excluded from the protection of the law?

When you report a problem to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint, the information you give goes into a secure database that the FTC and other law enforcement agencies use for investigations. If you report online, and you give an email address, you should get an automatic email reply that says we received your complaint. The FTC does not provide help on individual cases. We collect information to investigate and bring cases and return money to people.

To get individual help with a mortgage company, you could contact your state Attorney General. If you have questions about foreclosure, you could call 1-888-995-HOPE for advice from housing counseling agencies that are certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).

The "do not call" registry is widely misunderstood. It is meant to only stop sales calls. Political calls, charities, surveys, etc. are NOT blocked. Few scammers start a call by saying they want to sell you something.

My sister wired her closing costs a few days ago by wire. How can I send her this notice about scammers even though it might be too late?

The Do Not Call Registry is a toothless agency - sadly.

Another scam to watch out for is people calling up, claiming to be a government agency (such as Federal Grant Connisdion), and telling you that you have to send a fee in order to get s huge sum owed to you. At my job, I talked to a lady who was tricked by scammers into sending them $2000 worth of gift cards (sending them pictures of the fronts and backs of the cards). She paid for the gift cards on credit card and was just stuck with the bill when the scammers drained the gift cards, the promised money never appeared, and she couldn't even do a fraud claim on the credit card since it was her and not the scammers who used the card to make the gift card purchases.

Regarding the scam requesting money to win a lottery or Federal Grants, earlier this year someone was using my Facebook page including my picture and name to approach my friends and family for both of the above via Facebook instant messaging. I tried to find out how I could stop this. I called the local police and FBI and filed an FBI report which I have not heard back on yet(Filed report over Memorial Weekend). Which was the second time it happened. I tried to find out how to shut down my Facebook page. There is no number to call Facebook and very little helpful information on their site to help. At time of second wave of scamming in May I posted again to my friends that I had been hacked and asked that they not respond to any correspondence from my Facebook page and disabled my Facebook page. This is a horrible form of identify theft and I wouldn't have known if several of my friends hadn't contacted me. To my knowledge it has stopped however, I have no way of knowing. Any ideas?

Given the latest government guidelines on internet privacy I would not us any online Home Loan or Escrow service. In addition, the Real Estate Agent, manufacturer and escrow company want your email address to send you mounts of documents...Do everything face-to-face. Local financial institutions can still give you competitive rates. Watch out for companies offering VA loans many have inflated rates. Some states have high Fraud ratings, Florida has the highest per capita, check your state. If your not comfortable about any of the process see Attorney or legal service. Good luck!

The FTC gave me the following info. Go to nomorobo.com and register your landline or VOIP for free. Follow the instructions and you will be amazed at how quiet your phone becomes. There is an app for iphones for 1.99/ mo. Or 19.99 / year. There is no app for android phones yet. They are working on it. Also call your phone service provider to get the codes to block All Private or no information callers. They also have a code to preview calls. It is woth your time and effort. My phone has been very quiet for 4 days. Only two calls came in the I did not recognize, but because they did not leave a message I blocked the number.

I installed software from Nomorobo.com. I'd heard about this and when I saw it mentioned on an AT&T bill, decided it was legitimate. If it's a computer dialed call, my phone rings once, then no more. Go to that website and see if it works with your phone carrier. At that time (2 years ago) it mostly worked only on landlines.

I have lately been receiving calll concerning collection of a debt that I never made , how do l stop these calls from coming through?

This FTC article has tips about blocking unwanted calls.

joe july 18 2017 please be careful of a company in California they claim they can help you save your home from foreclosure.. they send out index cards saying they could help lower your mortgage payments we sent them almost 4000.00 and we were so unhappy they claim to send out papers to government agencies forcing the bank to work with the customers I called every one of those agencies and they all told me they could not help me that I needed to work with the mortgage company ourselves once I started working with my mortgage company it took almost a month in a half to get a results we did and it was not very pretty at all it was worst than ever they put my house under water by 70.000 dollars raised my rate on whole step and forced me to make the first payment in fifteen days or they will sell the house I called that so called company and they told me I should be very happy that they did there job I told them really you people lied to us for 5 months and the owner thinks its funny that I got shafted please be carful don't pay anybody to try to help you on the mortgage I had spoke to 4 lawyers they said this was a scam and I got scammed out of 4000.00 dollars

These are useful details for a complaint. Please report your experience to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

The comments you put here on the blog don't go into the law enforcement database.

what is the best way to get out of a time share mortgage? I was scammed in Florida at a Sheraton Vistana resort. They sell you a vacation time share good at multiple resorts, but you really do not own anything; there is no real deed to property. You essentially own the right to make a reservation; you buy a week or more of time on multiple bedroom suites, Very nice. Then the annual fees in the thousands keep coming in; and then there is the mortgage payment on the fictitious property. They claim you can sell it on a secondary market, but since they do not pass other amenities on to any would be buyers, that essentially negates any such secondary market. People are listing these properties for a penny just to try to get out of the annual fees. Then the time share exit companies offer a way out but charge a fee (usually about 25% of what you owe on your mortgage - or other amount if your balance is zero) they tell you to stop paying your mortgage, you get nasty letters and phone calls from the resort which you can no longer use. Then the deal becomes forfeiture of deed in lieu of foreclosure. You let it go to that point. The company takes the property back, your credit takes a huge hit because it shows as a default on a mortgage. And since they released you from a debt, they send you a 1099C which is taxable "income" - example, say you owed $40,000 on your fictitious property for which there is no deed; they hit you with a $40,000,00 1099C, income to you, a tax write off for them. No real money, just a fake mortgage set up by the company where on paper, they loaned you money to pay for property they already owned; buy you bought into vacation ownership at multiple fancy resorts - you own nothing - but the annual bill of $3000.00 or more for your access to a 2 bedroom lock off property somewhere for you week or two. The more you buy into, the higher the fees; mine were $1700 to 1800 per week owned, and they did vary and they went up every year too. No way out, you pass that debt on to your family forever. And if a building breaks down, all the owners will get assessed with a special fee to pay for all the repairs. Great deal for the company, not a good deal for the consumer. Do not do business in Florida, the laws there do not protect the consumer. There are lot's of scammers there who set up shop for a time, scam people, then move on, set up another company, more scams and recycle over and over. Very hard to track down. They even use fake names as officers of the company, very hard to track down. They say buyer beware.

My aunt is losing her home due to mortage scammers. Her house was recently sold under her nose while all along she was being told they stopped it. Don't be another victim.

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