The American bank robber, Willie Sutton, was asked why he robbed banks and his answer was "because that is where the money is." During his 40-year career, he stole about $2 million but Internet scammers are stealing many times that amount in phishing schemes preying on unsuspecting home buyers.
These crooks know where the money is because buyers have the down payment and closing costs and are expecting to transfer it to the close the sale of their home. The FBI, in their 2018 Internet Crime Report, stated victims lost over $149 million and the CFPB estimates the losses at over $1 billion as a result of fraud in real estate transactions. The scammers want to take advantage of the situation while it is still in the buyer's account.
Commonly, during the closing process, scammers will send spoofed emails to homebuyers from someone they expect to hear from regarding the transaction like the real estate agent or the settlement agent. They will include false instructions for the closing funds.
Following these suggestions can help to protect you and possibly, avoid scams:
If you believe you have been the victim of a phishing scheme, call your bank immediately and ask them to issue a recall notice on the money transfer. File a complaint with the FBI at www.IC3.gov and report it to your local FBI office.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has released two documents in an effort to inform consumers about wire fraud scams that commonly occur during closings: Mortgage Closing Checklist and Mortgage Closing Scams.
This is for information purposes only and should not be considered legal advice.
You don't have to watch TV for long before Tom Selleck, Henry Winkler or Robert Wagner will tell you why seniors should consider a reverse mortgage. However, there are a seniors who are resisting the conventional wisdom of having their home paid for and opting for a mortgage with payments on their home.
In some cases, seniors will downsize into a smaller home and have a large amount of equity to pay cash for the new home. In other situations, they may have their home paid for and decide to do a cash-out refinance which will require making payments.
The logic behind either of these examples could be motivated by the fact that since mortgage rates are so low currently, the owners can reinvest the money at a higher yield and make money on their equity. This will give them more money for their retirement income.
A common question that is asked by owners considering such a strategy is whether they'll be able to qualify for the new mortgage since they may no longer be employed. The Equal Credit Opportunity Act prohibits discrimination against borrowers based on age.
All borrowers, whether they are working or not, need to show that they have good credit, reasonable debt and enough stable income to repay the mortgage. Lenders cannot base their decision on loan term based on an applicant's life expectancy, so a 30-year loan is possible regardless of the borrower's age.
Fannie Mae, one of the largest purchaser of mortgages on the secondary market, is concerned on income that is stable, predictable and likely to continue. Retirees' income can come from Social Security, pensions, or distributions from retirement accounts like IRAs, 401(k)s, Keogh or other plans. Lenders will analyze these sources to estimate how long it will last.
Other investments can be considered like stocks, bonds, mutual funds and annuities. Based on the type and the volatility of the investment, lenders may be restricted from considering 100% of the income.
Getting the facts as it pertains to you as an individual is important to be able to know if you are eligible and how much you can borrow. A trusted mortgage professional who understands this type of borrower is very important to help you determine the right mortgage vehicle and provide information to decide if this option is right for you. Call me at if you would like a recommendation.
Read helpful articles and real estate resources shared on behalf Realtor® Broker, BIC Jennifer R. Rhodes of Premier Island Properties LLC