Fixed Mortgage Rate Scams: Don't Be Fooled

If you receive an e-mail offer regarding a very low fixed mortgage rate to refinance your home, you should be very skeptical and make sure the offer is authentic and from a reputable company. In fact, if you receive an email that offers irresistibly low rates on a mortgage, chances are that it's actually a scam. Mortgage phishing is a way for unscrupulous e-mail fraudsters to get your personal banking information, credit card numbers and passwords, and even your Social Security number.

Once they have your vital information, they can use the information to help themselves to your financial accounts and even open the accounts in your name. Therefore, you should always use should be aware of how mortgage phishing works and how to avoid it.

How Mortgage Phishing Works


E-mail mortgage phishing scams can range from very foolish, childish looking attempts to professional level advertising e-mails and websites. Generally, you will receive an e-mail that states that you may have been already been approved for a super low rate on a home mortgage loan or refinance loan -- sometimes these rates are even offered as low as 1% or 2%.

In addition, they usually promise a large cash payout at the time of the loan. Normally, they require only that you fill out a short application, and promise to let you know almost immediately. However, most of time, you'll receive a quick reply simply stating that you do not qualify for the loan.

Some of these information phishing attempts are quite sophisticated, and generally won't use your information immediately. They will wait for you to delete your e-mails and may wait for several months before they use information for any of their illegal activities. They count on the fact that you will delete the e-mails over time, and that you will not be able to trace them what you do. Of course there are many variations to this scheme, but in general, this is how it works.

How to Avoid Mortgage Phishing Scams


Here are some tips on how to identify mortgage phishing e-mails:

•The return e-mail address is unreadable or just a series of random letters, such as “she teased the BBB [email protected]"

•Often that the time and day of the week may give you an indication as well; for example, phishing scheme e-mails may be sent out late at night or on a weekend, and ask you to respond to the offer within 24 hours. But of course, banks and mortgage companies are always closed on Sundays, so you can't call to confirm if an offer is valid or not. In short, legitimate mortgage companies never have weekend specials.

•The form you're asked to fill out comes as an attachment in your e-mail box. If you open the attachment, it may contain viruses or spyware.

How to Avoid Mortgage Phishing Scams

If you receive an e-mail offer for a low rate on a mortgage loan, try to call the company. Also, make sure that you can verify the phone number through the Yellow Pages or on large Internet phone book sites. If there is no phone number, it is usually a scam. Also, if you do not find it an actual street address that you can confirm, you should not reply at all.

If you are able to speak with a live person at this at the company, ask them to send you the application via US mail. If you're suspect of an application link you receive in an e-mail, never fill it out online.

Always make sure that you change your passwords for all of your online credit card and checking accounts at least once a month. Also, make sure that your virus software and anti-spyware software is up-to-date and updated daily.

Of course, the most important thing you can do is to use common sense. Incredibly low interest rates on mortgages generally just do not show up in your e-mail box for no reason.

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