How to Avoid Common Mortgage Fraud Scams: Internet Safety Tips

*Important Notice: Here at On Q Financial, Inc., we want you to be safe on the internet. Scammers use job postings on LinkedIn and other boards to gather information about potential victims they may target for financial gain or identity theft.

We at On Q Financial, Inc. always ensure that any interaction with our company is safe and secure. We do this by conducting thorough phone screenings and follow up with video interviews to make sure you’re qualified for the position before moving forward in person.

During these interactions, we never ask for personal financial information. We are cautious regarding interactions with prospective employees, so please be advised and stay safe!*

Why Worry About Mortgage Fraud?

Mortgage fraud is on the rise. As a homeowner or homebuyer, it’s essential to be aware of the different types of scams that are out there and how to avoid them. In this blog post, we will discuss some of the most common mortgage fraud scams and provide you with some tips on how to stay safe online.

The “Fake Lender” Scam

One of the most common mortgage fraud scams is the “fake lender” scam. In this scam, the perpetrator poses as a lender and offers you a loan with attractive terms. However, once you provide them with your personal information, they will either take your money and run or try to charge you extremely high-interest rates.

The Family Member in Need

Another common mortgage fraud scam involves people posing as a homeowner who has fallen on hard times due to illness or unemployment. They will ask for donations from friends and family members, but they are really trying to find people willing to give them money, often in the form of gift cards.

The Phishing Email

The “phishing” scam is prevalent when it comes to email. In this scam, the perpetrator will send you an unsolicited email that appears to be from a legitimate lender or company and ask for your personal information such as social security number and bank account numbers to apply for credit card offers on their behalf. As soon as they have access to these sensitive details, they can use them against you by applying for loans without your knowledge or consent – which will leave behind debt with high-interest rates attached! Not to mention hurt your credit score.

The ”Fake Real Estate Agent” Scam

Finally, be very careful when working with online real estate agents. There are many scams where the perpetrator poses as an agent and tries to convince you to wire them money for a down payment or other fees. Always be sure to check out the agent’s credentials before working with them.

How to Avoid Common Fraud Scams

The internet has made mortgage fraud easier than ever before. However, there are ways to protect yourself from it. Here are some internet safety tips:

  • Check the website URL and make sure that it begins with “HTTPS” instead of just “HTTP.” This means that the information transmitted between your computer and their site will be encrypted (unreadable), so hackers cannot intercept them. Only provide your personal information to websites that you trust. If you’re not sure if a website is legitimate or not, do a quick internet search for reviews of the site.
  • Never give out your social security number or bank account numbers to anyone unless you are absolutely sure they are a legitimate source. Legitimate lenders will never ask for this information directly over email, and reputable lenders use secure portals to ensure sensitive data stays safe.
  • Use strong passwords and change them often. Strong passwords will help protect your online accounts from being hacked into by scammers. Make sure you use a combination of capital and lower case letters, numbers, and special characters. Even if you’ve employed our other tips, company-wide account breaches are common, so it’s essential that you stay proactive.
  • Use two-factor authentication whenever possible. Enrolling in two-factor authentication, when available, means that you must enter both something physical (e.g., a code sent to your phone) and your password before logging into online accounts such as email or banking services, which will help protect them from being accessed without permission by scammers who get hold of stolen login details on black markets online.
  • Don’t click on links in unsolicited emails, even if they appear to be from a legitimate source. They could very well be phishing scams designed to steal your personal information. Always type the website address you’re trying to reach into your browser manually instead.
  • Be extremely careful when parting with money online – whether it’s for a down payment on a new home or other fees. Always check the credentials of online real estate agents and lenders before giving them any money.
  • Credit freezes can be another way to protect yourself from mortgage fraud scams. By placing a credit freeze on your file, potential creditors (including scammers) will not be able to access your credit report or cause you to become a victim of mortgage fraud.
  • Finally, always be sure to check the legitimacy of a lender or company before doing business with them. You can do this by checking online reviews, contacting your local Better Business Bureau (BBB), or searching for their contact information on official websites.

Protect Yourself from Scammers

Not only can internet safety prevent mortgage fraud, but it’s also vital for protecting yourself against identity theft. In 2020 alone, 2.1 million Americans reported they had been the victims of fraud – and that number is only going up as more people use online services without taking proper precautions like using strong passwords or two-factor authentication.

So mortgage fraud is on the rise. What can you do to protect yourself and your family? Stay vigilant! Be aware of what red flags to look for, and be proactive about your internet security. And if you think you may have been a victim of mortgage fraud, please reach out to your local authorities. On Q Financial, Inc. wants you to stay safe on the internet, and we’re doing our best to keep you secure!

* This material is provided for information and educational purposes only.