insurance fraud investigations

Worried About Mortgage Fraud?

If a homebuyer, a mortgage broker, a real estate agent or a lawyer misrepresent, lies or exaggerates information in order to obtain a mortgage that would otherwise not have been granted, it is considered mortgage fraud. Also considered mortgage fraud is when parties take advantage of homebuyers by charging unlawful fees or inflated interest rates. These actions can be considered a serious criminal offense and the consequences can be severe.

While you, a new homebuyer, are worried about planning and saving for your new home, it can be easy to overlook possible signs of mortgage fraud. You should be wary of:
• A mortgage that is too good to be true,
• A lack of communication between you and your buying team,
• A lack of disclosures that inhibit you from making informed decisions,
• Cash fees,
• Being required to pay in upfront payments,
• Verbal mortgage applications,
• Not receiving documents, or
• Being pressured to sign a contract for a mortgage that does not fit your needs.

In order to avoid becoming the victim of mortgage fraud:
• As a homebuyer, you must be very careful to represent yourself accurately and report honestly on your financial situation,
• Never accept money, guarantee a loan, or add your name to a mortgage unless you can guarantee that you are purchasing the property,
• Inspect your credit report annually,
• Use a licensed mortgage agent or broker and real estate professional (mortgage agents/brokers/brokerage must be licensed by the Financial Service Commission of Ontario),
• Seek independent legal advice from a personal lawyer or notary apart from the lender for information on title insurance and alternative methods of protection,
• Learn about any outstanding liens or tax arrears on the home,
• Learn about the sales history of the property you are considering buying,
• Ensure the property is inspected and appraised and,
• Never sign anything without a complete understanding of the document and its implications and make sure to ask questions about anything you are unsure of.

If you suspect mortgage fraud, report it. Before reporting the suspected fraud to the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO), you must make a complaint in writing to the brokerage and any of the brokers or agents involved. The brokerage will then give you a written response with a proposal to resolve the matter. If this is insufficient to resolve the issue, contact the FSCO, at which time you will be required to complete an official complaint form. You may also consider reporting any concerns to your local police.

A private investigator can be a useful tool in avoiding mortgage fraud or assisting you if you become the victim of mortgage fraud. Consider contacting a PI today with your mortgage related concerns.