Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud Awareness and Prevention

Fraud, or the broad term describing wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain is, unfortunately, something that happens everywhere, every day, negatively affecting the lives of many.

Fortunately, there are ways one can prevent falling victim to fraudulent acts, starting with educating oneself on the types of dangerous fraud schemes out there as well as what to watch out for.

Mortgage Fraud:

Mortgage fraud happens which is why it is crucial to work with a lender you can trust. According to, traditional mortgage fraud involves homebuyers and/or lenders falsifying information in order to obtain a home loan. Struggling homeowners are also often affected by “foreclosure rescue firms” claiming they can help these struggling individuals obtain home loans ultimately leaving them in more debt and distress. The first thing to watch out for in these situations is requests for all cash payments and to work only with credible lenders, real estate agents, and appraisers.

Other Types of Fraud:

According to FindLaw, there are many types of fraud offenses individuals can be duped by (often unknowingly) that include:

Click here to learn more and educate yourself on popular scams occurring today.

Preventing Fraud – What to Watch out for:

Some warning signs of fraud are more obvious, such as the telemarketing or internet schemes that ask you to “send money immediately” to receive an offer, or, those asking directly for your social security number.

Others can be more tricky and deceptive, even imitating people you know personally or professionally asking for help or money via email, false charity organizations asking for donations, or, pyramid schemes that offer big rewards for a “work from home” position.

Here are some things you can do to protect yourself and your family from falling victim to fraud:

  • New forms of fraud pop up every day. Educate yourself on the common scams happening presently
  • Keep your personal information confidential. Never give out personal information, such as your social security number or credit card details, over the phone, through email, or over the internet unless the contact is verified.
  • Update your passwords and PIN numbers monthly to ensure your information is secure. Make sure to use a password that is strong in security and includes letter, numbers, and symbols.
  • Check your statements and online banking records regularly to ensure there are no unusual transactions.

If you think you or someone you know has been affected by fraud, begin by reporting the issue immediately to your local police department. Otherwise, take these steps from


Avoid Mortgage Scams!

Avoid Mortgage Scams
Be on the look out for predators that seek to take advantage of you when you are trying to avoid foreclosure. This is a very scary and stressful time for most people, which can make people more vulnerable to scam artists.

Here are some common examples of mortgage-relief scams to be on the look out for:

1. The Scmuck – Avoid This Guy

Howard Shmuckler, (whom we will un-affectionately refer to as the Schmuck from here on), told homeowners to stop making their mortgage payments and avoid contact with their lenders while he collected millions in upfront fees under the guise of a guaranteed loan modification under HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program). Guarantees are not possible in circumstances involving foreclosure or home loan modification. The Schmuck preyed on vulnerable victims who in the end wasted a lot of time and money on a scam – when they could have been working directly with HAMP to save their homes.

How to spot a Schmuck? Homeowners should never pay a fee for loan-modification assistance. Government and nonprofit housing counselors provide this service for free. Steer clear of anyone advising you to stop paying your mortgage payments or to stop talking to your lender. Avoid anyone that offers a guarantee to stop foreclosure. Some of the Schmuck’s victims may have been eligible for loan modification if they hadn’t stopped paying their mortgage.

Read more about the Schmuck here.

2. No Traction When Paying for Class Action

Both fake and legitimate law firms send enticing letters to homeowners who are not in financial distress. In these letters, the law firm claims that the homeowners have been wronged by their lenders and may be eligible for restitution. Homeowners are then asked to pay their share of legal fees. This is referred to as a mass-joinder scam in which borrowers are invited to file separate law suits but share legal fees.

What you need to know: Never pay a fee to become part of a class-action lawsuit.

Read about Kramer & Kaslow – a California law firm accused of deceptively marketing mass joinder lawsuits to consumers.

3. Scoff at Mortgage Loan Audit Offers

If you receive a phone call in which the salesperson says they are going to audit your mortgage loan documents and use the violations they find to force your lender to approve a loan modification – hang up! These salespeople who seem genuinely concerned for your welfare will eventually ask for a fee to complete the audit – an audit that will never be completed!

What you need to know: Consumers can find legitamate, local HUD-approved counselors at the HUD website. Don’t trust anyone that asks for an upfront fee to help you with your loan modification.

The Federal Trade Commission has posted a Consumer Alert referring to these fraudulent “rescue” professionals on their website.

Have you or someone you know been a victim of a mortgage scam?

Federal Trade Commission: 877-382-4357
Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network: 866-459-2162
Better Business Bureau Scam Source
Special Inspector General for Troubled Asset Relief Program Hot line: 877-744-2009

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.