fraudA recent article in The Los Angeles Times examined a mortgage scam that has been taking place across the country over the past few months. According to government documentation, the perpetrators are sending out letters to homeowners explaining that they need to send their payments to a new address. The address listed belongs to a fake company that claims to have taken over the loan. Obviously, this is not the case.

Homeowners who have been victims to the scam only realize that they’ve been taken advantage of when the actual lender calls or sends a letter telling them that their payment is late – sometimes after the homeowner has already sent in 2-3 payments to the con artist. Experts are urging homeowners to be very careful if they receive any type of letter similar in nature.

The good news is that there are a few ways that you can verify that this type of notification is legitimate. If your loan provider changes, you will typically be notified by mail. In addition to a letter, you would also receive a package a week or so later with an outline of your payment structure, principal information and escrow details. Correspondence from a legitimate company will always have your loan number. If it does not, that is a huge sign that the request may be fake.

If you recently received a letter from your loan provider and are unsure about its authenticity, the best advice is to call the company and speak to someone directly about the correspondence you’ve received.