Reporting Mortgage and Lending Fraud

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Being scammed out of your home can be financially and emotionally devastating. Traditional mortgage fraud includes situations in which homebuyers and/or lenders falsify information to obtain a home loan. False information can include overvalued appraisals, guarantees of low interest rates, inflated income and the fraudulent use of someone’s name without the knowledge of that individual.

If you believe you have been a victim of mortgage and lending fraud, we recommend taking these steps to help you move forward.

  1. Create a Fraud File. Start by collecting all relevant documentation concerning the fraud in one file that’s kept in a secure location. The file should include:
    • a contact sheet of the perpetrator’s name, mail and email addresses, telephone numbers and website address, as well as any of the fraudster’s purported regulatory registration numbers;
    • a timeline of events, which may span many years;
    • the police report, if any;
    • your most recent credit report from all three credit reporting companies (See Step 7);
    • any evidence of the fraud or deception;
    • logs of any phone conversations, with dates, names and phone numbers of any representatives with whom you spoke, and notes on what information they gave you; and
    • any other relevant documentation concerning the fraud.
  2. Know Your Rights. You have rights imparted by federal and in some cases, state law. Learn about your rights to better protect yourself.
    • For federal victim rights, the U.S. Department of Justice provides information on victim rights and financial fraud.
    • For state victim rights, check with your state Attorney General.
  3. Report to the Appropriate Agencies. You may benefit from reporting the fraud to as many agencies as apply. For instance, if the fraud was mortgage fraud, you can report both to the state agencies responsible for that type of crime and to the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. If the fraud was perpetrated by an attorney, you may consider contacting the state bar association.
    • Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Office of the Inspector General (Mortgage Fraud)
    • PreventLoanScams.org (Mortgage Loan Modification Fraud)
    • Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant (Any Lending Fraud)
  4. Report the Fraud to Law Enforcement. Reporting the investment fraud to law enforcement is important to being the recovery process, ensure the responsible parties are investigated, and prevent further damage to other individuals.
    • Local Law Enforcement: Contact any local law enforcement office to file a police report.
    • District Attorney: Contact your local District Attorney's Office.
    • Attorney General: Contact your Attorney General's Consumer Protection unit and the prosecution unit to report the fraud. Find contact information at www.naag.org.
    • Federal Law Enforcement: Contact your local FBI Field Office or submit an online tip or contact your local field office.
  5. Report to the Federal Trade Commission. To file a report with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), contact the FTC’s Complaint Assistant . Lodging a complaint will also enter the fraud into the Consumer Sentinel Network so that law enforcement can stop ongoing fraud and track these crimes. This process will not initiate a criminal investigation of your case.
  6. Contact a Housing Counselor (If Mortgage Related). The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development provides housing counselors for individuals buying a home, refinancing a home, or attempting to avoid foreclosure. Find a local housing counselor or call the Housing Counselor Referral line at (800) 569-4287.
  7. Treat the Loan Fraud as Identity Theft. Because loan fraudsters may have information pertaining to your identity, including your Social Security number, you also will need to place a fraud alert and review your credit reports as precautionary measures.
    • Contact one of the three credit reporting companies (Equifax , Experian or TransUnion ).
    • Tell the company you are a victim of an identity theft and request that a fraud alert be placed on your credit report. (This initial fraud alert will last for 90 days.)
    • Ask the company to report this request to the other two credit reporting companies.
    • Order your free credit report. (By creating the fraud alert, you are entitled to one free copy from each credit reporting company within 12 months of placing the alert, regardless of previous requests.)
  8. Consider Civil Remedies. Civil attorneys who work for victims of financial fraud can analyze the particular facts and circumstances of your case and counsel you on the available civil remedies. The National Crime Victim Bar Association  can provide referrals to attorneys who litigate on behalf of victims of crime and who offer initial consultations at no cost or obligation.
  9. Follow up. Review the steps you’ve taken and follow up after 30 days with any law enforcement agencies or organizations that serve victims. 

For details about how to recover from other types of financial fraud, see our full list of Victim Recovery Checklists

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