Fraud increases in areas of natural disasters, unfortunately this is a fact. I ran across this article in DSNews that I wanted to share. It was written just before the hurricane hit the Carolina’s. This is good information for those in the impacted areas. It is good information for all of us.
Dealing with Fraud During Natural Disasters
With the Carolinas facing record high rainfall and flooding, Fannie Mae warns that there is plenty of risk of fraud as people may take advantage of the chaos. In the aftermath of the storm, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN), a unit of the U.S. Treasury department released an advisory about possible increases in fraud in impacted areas. FinCEN specifically noted three specific types of Fraud: Benefits Fraud, Charities Fraud, and Cyber-Related Fraud. Fannie Mae notes that homeowners may be impacted by Loan Modification Fraud and Repair Fraud.
“While many individuals respond to natural disasters with kindness and generosity – opening their hearts and their wallets to those in need, providing aid and assistance when it is needed most – some unscrupulous individuals will take advantage of the situation to line their own pockets through fraud,” said Jennifer Horne, President for Anti-Fraud and Anti-Money Laundering at Fannie Mae.
Loan Modification Fraud is when fraudsters seek out mortgage borrowers in disaster areas and promise a loan modification or forbearance for a fee, then take the fee and disappear. Another fraud type Fannie Mae identified is Repair Fraud, when fraudsters promise to make repairs to damaged homes. Fraudsters target storm-affected areas where contractors are in short supply due to extensive damage. Like Loan Modification Fraud, the fraudster collects the fees for repairs then disappears.
To Read The Entire Article from DSNews Click Here
If you are approached by someone promising to do a Loan Modification for forbearance and asking for any fee, call your local authorities first, then make your lender aware. Never give anyone any money. No matter what it comes down to one simple fact. The only entity that can grant you a loan modification or forbearance is your Lender. Keep that line of communication open. If you have any questions please feel free to contact us. We will try to put you in touch with the proper authorities, as well as help you locate the proper people at your lenders establishment to speak to. We will never ask for payment to help someone.