In my recent blog post - Mortgage Fraud - "Universal Truths" - Part 1 - I listed Brad Geary's, “Universal Truths of Mortgage Fraud”. According to Mr. Geary "Virtually all mortgage fraud combines at least two of these "Universal Truths" of mortgage fraud.
- Appraiser Fraud
- SSN / Identity Fraud
- Fraudulent Credit Reports / Letters of Explanation
- Fraudulent Ernest Money & Closing Costs
- Fraudulent Verification of Employment
- Fraudulent Verification of Bank Statement (Deposits)
- Fraudulent Verification of Landord
In Mortgage Fraud "Universal Truths" - Part 2 I examined some of the issues with the first of these items - Appraiser Fraud.
In this post we'll take a look at the next item - Identify Fraud. According to a recent NAR article on Identity Theft (click here) "Current estimates by the Federal Trade Commission indicate that there may be as many as 10 million victims of identity theft each year." "Studies estimate that victims of identity theft spend $5 billion to undo its harm, while businesses lose nearly $50 billion in revenue annually. The FTC has received thousands of real estate-related identity theft complaints."
"Many consumers first learn they are victims of identity theft when they are in the process of renting or buying a home, derailing their real estate dreams while they work to rebuild their good name and destroyed credit. Identity thieves may also rent or purchase a home fraudulently. Clearly, identity theft is an important issue impacting both home buyers and real estate professionals across the nation."
Appraiser identity theft usually develops under three main scenarios :
- First, is the appraiser-trainee who decides to forge their mentor’s name and license number to reports without their mentor’s knowledge or permission.
- Second, there are unlicensed appraisers (trainees) who go phishing for license numbers and state licenses of certified appraisers.
- The third and most disturbing trend involves persons who never were licensed appraisers and prepare bogus reports.Some steps that appraisers can take to prevent identity theft can be found here The National Association of Realtors is working with the FTC on a new nationwide campaign to educate consumers on how to minimize risk of identity theft and quickly fight back if they become a victim: AvoID Theft: Deter, Detect, Defend . Click here: http://tinyurl.com/eg9qt
- Deter Identity Theft : Consumers can deter identity thieves by safeguarding their personal information. Read more >
- Detect Identity Theft: Consumers can detect suspicious activity by routinely monitoring their financial accounts and billing statements. Many consumers learn that their identity has been stolen after the damage has been done. The faster consumers detect the theft, the more they can limit the damage. Read more >
- Defend Against Identity Theft: Consumers should defend against identity theft as soon as they suspect a problem. It’s important to act quickly to minimize the damage. Read more >