Buying a home is a big decision, and the loan you choose is almost as important as the home itself. You want to ensure you’re getting into a good situation for your financial needs, no matter how much you love a property. The US Consumer Finance Protection Bureau (CFPB) is a government agency with the sole purpose of making sure consumers are protected and treated fairly by lenders, banks, and other financial institutions. Their services go beyond the housing and mortgage industry. They can also come to your aid on auto loans, bank accounts, credit cards, credit reports, debt collection, fraud/scams, money transfers, payday loans, student loans, and more. Their website contains tools and resources for shopping for homes, exploring loan choices, making offers, and closing details. They also offer information on how to avoid being scammed during the closing process. If you’re concerned about your financial safety from a previous or ongoing transaction, reach out to their agents.
The FBI has reported that some scammers have started to target homebuyers in the country, especially during the closing process. The scammers attempt to divert a person’s closing costs and downpayment money into a fraudulent account by suggesting a last-minute change and providing false instructions to the wiring instructions. Here are some ways to avoid this type of scam:
- Identify two trusted individuals to provide payment instructions and confirm the closing process. Discuss the details with these two people in person or over the phone prior to closing, and be extra cautious about sharing too many financial details through email. You never want to share secure financial information through an email. If you want to be extra cautious, you can come up with a code phrase only known by the three of you.
- Always confirm wiring instructions with your trusted representatives before wiring money. Never follow instructions simply from an email. Verify the instructions, the account name, and the account number with your representatives in person or with the phone number you previously agreed to. If a different phone number is provided in an email, don’t use it. Use the number your trusted representative gave you in the beginning of the process.
- Be cautious of phone calls. If someone calls you for important details, be cautious unless you are absolutely certain you are talking to your trusted professional. Scammers often will call and ask for personal of financial information that your representative should already know. When in doubt, always refer back to your trusted representative to confirm. Hang up and call your contact before providing any information.
At InterWest Mortgage, our first priority is your financial safety during the lending process. Always contact us if you’re concerned about an unexpected email or an out-of-character phone call. You will never get a random call from us from an unknown representative because our lenders ensure a close connection with every client. If you’re concerned about a transaction, we’re here to help our clients. For honest and secure lending in Idaho, contact InterWest Mortgage.