There is a new wave of scammers targeting VA home loans
The Department of Veterans Affairs and Consumer Protection Office warn consumers of a new scam targeting veterans with VA-guaranteed home loans.
According to a Press release, there has been a surge in recent home loan scams targeting veterans. The scammers usually pretend to be affiliated with the government or a mortgage lender, trying to scam veterans with some new and novel methods as well as some techniques that have been around for years to scam money, albeit with a new COVID-19 related twist or new technology that makes it easier for scammers to hide their identity.
The scammers are trying to trick veterans into refinancing their homes, agreeing to loan changes, or even sending their mortgage payments to a new address, the statement said.
In light of the recent financial crisis resulting from the COVID-19 epidemic, scammers are also trying to convince veterans that their homes are at risk of foreclosure or that they owe late payment fees.
Some veterans have reported phone calls appearing to be from the local VA office, with the caller informing the veteran that his mortgage has been transferred to a new servicer. As a result of this supposed mortgage transfer, the veteran now owes months’ worth of mortgage payments, the scammer claims. To avoid foreclosure, the veteran is told to make hundreds or thousands of dollars in back payments to the new mortgage holder at a new address, usually through money order or gift cards. These payment methods are incomprehensible.
Other calls and letters promise unusually low interest rates on a mortgage refinance, but require the veteran to prepay several fees before receiving any services. Once the veteran pays the fees, the “mortgage company” will either decline the application or stop communicating with the veteran, the notice says.
Other new scams cite existing federal mortgage assistance programs related to COVID-19 grant initiatives. The scammers tell the homeowners that the veteran must either surrender ownership of their property or sign confusing papers without checking, claiming the utility programs are nearing the end and things need to be done quickly.
As usual, the scammers play with fear and confusion and quickly disappear once they get what they’re looking for – your money.
The Consumer Financial Protection Board warns that if you suspect fraud, you should first contact the VA or your mortgage lender to see if the offer is genuine. If this is not the case, you should stop all communication with the scammer and yours Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission so that hopefully they can hold the bad actors accountable.
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