NCPC has produced new radio announcements to help raise awareness of mortgage fraud and foreclosure scams that have increased in prevalence since the onset of the Great Recession.
One of the most difficult aspects of dealing with mortgage fraud is that it’s hard to know the scope of the problem. The human element that’s involved makes would-be fraudsters hard to spot, and those already committing fraud even harder to identify. Because these people are white-collar criminals, they look, dress, act, and talk just like the rest of us. They won’t look like criminals, they’ll look like loan officers, real estate agents, members of management and loan processors or closers and, of course, the next door neighbor. Whether it is in your own company or simply a scourge of the industry itself, fraud is extensive, invasive, and still present.
The recent economic downfall led to foreclosed homes and dismal mortgage situations for homeowners across the country. According to the FBI’s most recent Mortgage Fraud Report, more than $10 billion in loans originated with fraudulent application data in 2010.
The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), with funding from the U.S. Department of Justice, has recently produced new radio public service announcements (PSAs) to warn individuals about mortgage fraud and how to avoid falling victim.
The PSAs encourage listeners to consult NCPC’s website for resources including free legitimate housing counselors who can help protect citizens from con artists trying to steal their homes.
The new PSAs are available on NCPC’s website, along with additional resources on mortgage fraud, such as podcasts and webinars, for prospective home buyers, current home owners and victims of mortgage fraud. Also on the website is information regarding NCPC’s upcoming Mortgage Fraud Virtual Conference, which will take place spring 2013. The conference is designed to teach about mortgage fraud, preventative measures for avoiding it and what resources are available to its victims. Additionally, the conference will provide information for service providers and fraud counselors to teach them how to most effectively help those who come to them for help.
In upcoming months, NCPC will continue to add to its resource portfolio with a new public education toolkit and online videos about mortgage fraud awareness and prevention, both of which will be hosted on the website.
Who will stop mortgage fraud?
Please remember fraud is not just a white-collar crime; it’s a people crime. People commit it, people suffer in its wake, people’s lives are ruined, people enforce it, and it’s people like you and I who can prevent it.
Mortgage Fraud is insidious; it creeps up on you. Mortgage Fraud exists because it’s able to exist. It isn’t just the industry that’s ripe for manipulation; it’s the branch or office operations, the paperwork, and all its room for error and margins. We can’t point to any one individual and say, “Look, over there, he’s the guy we’ve been looking for. He’s the guy who made it possible for fraud to exist…”
Instead, we must look to ourselves; not as the cause, but the solution. To fight fraud, though, we must first understand it. We must stop seeing fraudsters as criminals and look at them instead for what they really are: colleagues, neighbors, cubicle mates, sometimes even our “friends.”
The National Crime Prevention Council is the nonprofit leader in crime prevention. For more than 30 years, our symbol of safety, McGruff the Crime Dog®, has delivered easy-to-use crime prevention tips that protect what matters most—you, your family, and your community. Law enforcement agencies nationwide rely on our expertise to make an impact on personal safety and crime every day.
For more information on how NCPC can be a public safety expert for you or how to “Take A Bite Out of Crime®,” visit http://www.ncpc.org.
If you think you are a victim of fraud or need a second opinion feel free to e-mail me.
Michael S. Richardson
NMLS ID# 216873
Author of “An American Epidemic, Mortgage Fraud… a Serious Business