Old Scam Targets Homeowners Who've Refinanced
In a mortgage-related scam currently making the rounds, con artists have been sending letters to borrowers instructing them to send their mortgage payments to their new loan servicer. But the new company doesn't exist -- and by the time borrowers realize they've been snookered, they're behind in their payments by a month or two.
As columnist Lew Sichelman warns, it's an old scam that's seeing new action, as crooks prey on folks who've recently refinanced and may be dealing with unfamiliar loan-servicing centers. And with eight weeks of consistently dropping interest rates, the refi pipeline is overflowing with ripe new victims.
To avoid getting fleeced, you should be aware that there is a process that kicks in whenever there's a change in mortgage servicing rights. Lenders can switch mortgage servicing companies whenever they chose, but the old loan servicer must contact the borrower by mail to inform them of the change.
And then there is a second notice, this time from the new loan servicer which also must reach out and let the borrower know where to send their payments as of an appointed date. This second "welcome" letter should state the payment amount and provide a breakdown for principal, interest and escrow if there is one. It may even include a few payment coupons.
Both letters should have your loan number -- and you should check that it is correct on both.
Unless you get two letters, you should just keep paying who you've been paying. Otherwise, we know of a Nigerian royal who would like to speak with you.
For more on mortgages and related topics see these AOL Real Estateguides:
- How to Get a Low Mortgage Rate
- Mortgage Jargon in Simple Terms
- How Much Home Can I Afford?
- Spot Foreclosure Scammers Before They Spot You
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