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Beware of mortgage fraud!

Sadly, there are many types mortgage fraud but the one that I would like to focus on this month is mortgage servicing fraud. What is mortgage servicing fraud? That’s when scammers send out a letter informing borrowers that their mortgages have been sold to another lender. The letter directs the recipients to mail their checks to a different company and address.

Most borrowers don’t think anything of it because transfers like that are normal in our industry and they begin making payments to this so-called new lender. The borrowers don’t find out they’ve been scammed until at least a month down the road, when they receive a late payment notice from their real lender, and by then it’s too late to recoup the lost payment. Under this scenario you will lose the one mortgage payment that you send out to the scam lender and you will have to make the actual payment to your real current lender.

I recently learned of an extreme case where a borrower was sent fake mortgage refinance documents and made payment to a fake company for more than eight months before his real company notified him that he was now in foreclosure.

What should you do to avoid this?

First, Google the new mortgage company to see if they’re legitimate. (It’s amazing what we can find out these days just by Googling something.)

If that checks out, then call the company that says they now hold your mortgage to see who picks up. If there isn’t a customer service rep on the other end who can confirm the transfer, you could save yourself lot of money and heartache.

And while you’re at it. Call your current lender to confirm that the mortgage was in fact sold. If they tell you it hasn’t, don’t write another check until you clear the matter up to your satisfaction.

In this crazy world of con artists and scammers we need to be pro-active and take absolutely nothing for granted. Let the borrower beware!

To contact me, call 773-557-1000 ext. 15, e-mail ron@ronmortgage.com or visit http://www.ronmortgage.com.

About Ron Ricchio

Renato (Ron) Ricchio is president of Chicagoland Home Mortgage. He grew up in Westchester and attended St. Joseph High School and DePaul University, taking a job as a loan officer in the mortgage industry soon after graduating with a bachelor's in finance in 1991. He started his own company in 2001, which he operates today. He has been ranked in the top 150 loan originators in 2010 and 2011 by Origination News. Ron is happily married with three beautiful children. A board member of San Francesco Di Paola Society and the founder of Ricchio Family Toy Drive for Lurie's Children's Hospital, he enjoys cooking and spending time with family and friends.

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