Despite tougher mortgage guidelines and better loan disclosures for consumers, mortgage fraud is on the rise, according to the FBI.
Fraud has many varieties and it’s estimated cost to the nation is between $4-6 billion annually. Today, common mortgage fraud scams target homeowners behind in their mortgage payments and/or facing foreclosure. And, despite the hordes of legitimate organizations that dedicate themselves to helping consumers, mortgage fraudsters proliferate.
In this 3-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn to spot common frauds, and to avoid them.
Some of the frauds highlighted include:
- The Rent-to-Buy arrangement
- The Bait-and-Switch
- The “Phantom fees”
With respect to mortgage paperwork, it’s always wise to read what you’re signing, and to take time to understand what it means. If you’re uncomfortable reading mortgage documents, ask for an attorney’s help. And don’t worry if you don’t have the budget — many states offer free or discounted help via advocacy groups.
In May 2010, Retail Sales at non-store retailers — a category that includes Amazon and eBay — topped $29 billion, up 16 percent from May 2009. Clearly, Americans are doing an increasing amount of shopping online. And we’re paying our bills online, too.
But how well are we protecting our identities?
In this 5-minute piece from NBC’s The Today Show, you’ll learn the basics of online fraud and methods to minimize the likelihood of identity theft. Furthermore, the tips go beyond the basic “choose a challenging password”. For example, you’ll hear about:
- Why you shouldn’t pay bills from a coffee shop
- Who might be hiding behind an unprotected public wifi network
- The dangers of storing credit card numbers with an online retailer
And, although, at one point, the interviewee goes over the top with respect to spyware and anti-phishing prevention, the point being made is a good one — you can’t be too careful with your online financials and common sense goes a long way.