Category: Scams

Frequently Asked Questions – Part 3

reverse mortgage colorado fort collins loveland greeleyThis is the third in a three part series of frequently asked questions about Reverse Mortgage.  You can find Part 1 here and Part 2 here.  If you have questions that are not currently listed, please don’t hesitate to contact me directly.

 

Will I Lose My Government Assistance If I Get a Reverse Mortgage?

 

A reverse mortgage does not affect regular Social Security or Medicare benefits. However, if you are on Medicaid or other public assistance, any reverse mortgage proceeds that you receive must be used immediately or they may affect your eligibility. Reverse mortgage funds that you retain would be considered an asset, just as other bank funds.

 

Continue reading “Frequently Asked Questions – Part 3”

Understanding Identity Theft

Jan Jordan Reverse Mortgage Identity Theft Colorado

 

What is Identity Theft?

 

According to the 1998 Identity Theft and Assumption Deterrence Act identity theft is when someone “knowingly transfers or uses, without lawful authority, a means of identification of another person with the intent to commit, or to aid or abet, any unlawful activity that constitutes a violation of federal law, or that constitutes a felony under any applicable state or local law.”

 

The three most common types of identity theft are:

 

  • Financial identity theft (using another’s identity to obtain credit, goods and services)
  • Identity cloning (using another’s information to assume his or her identity in daily life)
  • Medical identity theft (using another’s identity to obtain medical care or drugs)

 

How does Identity Theft happen?

 

In today’s technology driven society, protecting your identity is more important than ever.  But don’t assume identity theft only happens online.  It can happen anywhere, anytime.  Someone could be watching over your shoulder as you fill out a form at your doctor’s office.  Another individual could be rummaging through your trash, hoping to find a tossed out credit card offer.  Your email program’s spam filter may not be blocking those emails from Phishing websites.  There are many ways to fall victim to identity theft, arming yourself with facts and prevention is key to protection.

 

How do I protect myself from Identity Theft?

 

  • Be aware of your surroundings.  When filling out forms that include private information, take a seat away from others when possible. Never throw out forms or paperwork that may have your personal information on them, always take these home with you and dispose of them properly.
  • Don’t toss out credit card offers or other junk mail that pertains to obtaining credit.  In addition, any other private information you have – bills, car registration, insurance documents, bank statements – should always be disposed of properly and NEVER put out with your household trash.  These items should be shredded or burned.  In addition, limiting the amount of junk mail you receive by “opting out” of mail distribution lists can vastly decrease your risk.  Opt out by calling 1-888-5-OPTOUT.
  • Never follow links to bank accounts, credit accounts, PayPal accounts, etc from an email.  “Phishing” emails may appear as a completely legitimate email from your bank or credit card company, warning you of unauthorized transactions or other alarming information.  These emails will include links that take you to a website that looks identical to your bank’s – but it’s not.  Once you enter your information into this “Phishing” site, you have given some of your most valuable financial information to a con-artist.  ALWAYS access your bank and credit accounts by entering their web address into your web browser, NEVER through a link.  Reputable companies will not contact you via email about such important matters.
  • Don’t respond to emails offering money in exchange for “helping” an individual transfer money into the country.  These are always scams and have proven to be very dangerous.
  • Password protect your computer and your wireless internet. Use firewalls and virus protection software.
  • Never give personal information to telephone solicitors or door to door solicitors.  Do not give out personal information over the phone unless you placed the call yourself.
  • Lock your car.  Identity theft via “glove compartment” information is on the rise.  Keeping your car locked can ensure you are not an easy target.
  • Don’t carry your Social Security card in your wallet or purse.  Purge expired credit cards, insurance cards, and ID’s regularly.  Keep these items at home in a safe place.
  • If you do not have a locking mailbox, do not mail payments using your mailbox.  Always take the mail directly to the post office.

 

What do I do if think I’ve been targeted?

 

Contact the Federal Trade Commission at 1-877-IDTHEFT or www.ftc.gov

 

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.

 


5 Ways to Spot a Reverse Mortgage Scam

 

Reverse Mortgage Scams

Watching out for a reverse mortgage scam should be on the top of the list for anyone considering such a loan, but it’s especially concerning to adult children who are looking out for their aging parents.  There are some fairly simple guidelines to abide by in order to steer clear of such fraud.

 

1. Unethical Marketing Practices
This is one of the of the sure tell signs something could be fishy.  Reverse mortgage lenders are held to a standard of marketing by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) that other mortgage lenders are not.  Watch out for reverse mortgage lenders who solicit through means such as television, door-to-door, churches or other community centers, direct mailers, or other extensive advertisements.

 

2. Asking for Money Up-Front

 

If you are beginning the process with a reverse mortgage lender it is not uncommon for them to ask for an appraisal deposit of around $300, but if they are requiring an amount much in excess of this prior to your required reverse mortgage counseling and the official closing of the loan, this is definitely a scam.  With a reverse mortgage very little money is required to get started.

 

3. Foreclosure Assistance

 

Although reverse mortgages can be a solution to foreclosure in some situations, reputable lenders will not solicit to homeowners in distress.  Foreclosure scams have run rampant as the housing market has been rocky, but senior homeowners are often easy targets to such scams.

 

4. High Pressure Sales

 

When working with a reverse mortgage lender, it’s important that you feel comfortable and confident in your decisions.  If you feel you are being pressured or that your questions are not being addressed, it may be time to question whether or not you want to continue working with this lender.

 

5. Lacking Credibility

 

A credible lender will have a network of professional associates, such as the Better Business Bureau, the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association, and the FDIC.  If a lender is lacking these networks, it should be cause for question and concern.

 

Although there are certainly disturbing scams that exist in the reverse mortgage industry, there are also many reputable lenders who are there to work through the process with you, answer all of your questions, and make sure you are making the right decisions for you and your family.

 

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you. 

 

 

Reverse Mortgage Tips for Married Couples

Married Couple and their Reverse Mortgage

 

It’s not uncommon to hear heartbreaking stories of reverse mortgages that left a spouse in dire straits after the other spouse passed away.  How could this happen?  Is it something that you need to worry about?  If you and your spouse are considering obtaining a reverse mortgage, it’s important to understand the long term effect it could have on either spouse once the other passes away and feel confident any appropriate protections are in place.

 

What Married Couples Need to Know 

 

When applying for a reverse mortgage the amount of money you can receive is calculated according to the age of the youngest borrower.  The older the borrower, the more money is available from the lender.

 

If both homeowners are over the age of 62, both homeowners can be on a reverse mortgage loan.  If both spouses are on the loan, the loan continues if either passes away.  If only one spouse is on the reverse mortgage loan when the borrower passes, the loan is due and the home will transfer to the estate.  At this time the heirs will have the option to pay off the existing loan, sell the home, or obtain a conventional loan.  Occasionally this is not a concern if the amount of life insurance is anticipated to be enough to pay off the loan after the borrower dies or another plan has been put in place.

 
Another scenario to consider is if a borrower obtains a reverse mortgage and then remarries.  If this was to happen after the age of 62, it wouldn’t be unheard of for the married couple to live in the home for 20 or more years before the borrower passes.  At this time the new spouse would not be protected under the existing reverse mortgage loan and the loan would be due.  You could consider looking into refinancing the reverse mortgage and adding the new spouse to the loan.

 
And yet one more thing to note is the possibility one spouse needs to move out of the home into an assisted living facility due to health concerns.  If this happens, as long as the spouse that remains in the home is on the loan, they can continue under their current reverse mortgage.

 

Bottom line: If you are married and are considering obtaining a reverse mortgage, it is extremely important to work with a trusted and experienced reverse mortgage specialist who can easily answer all of your questions and address any concerns you may have.  Making sure both spouses are protected should be a lender’s top priority.

 
Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you. 

Beware: Reverse Mortgage Scams

Reverse Mortgage Crediblity

You may hear about email scams, telephone scams, door-to-door soliciting scams – but what about reverse mortgage scams? Unfortunately just as we have scams in every segment of society and at every opportunity, reverse mortgages and seniors are not immune to such activity.

 
In the past decade, reverse mortgages also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HCEM), have increased more than 1,300 percent! This certainly offers an astounding opportunity for fraud perpetrators.
What do reverse mortgage scams look like?

 

Victims may be offered a free home, an investment opportunity, or foreclosure and refinance assistance. Senior citizens are often unsuspecting targets for scammers, as they are not familiar with the multitude of unscrupulous and dishonest “programs” that exist. Scammers reach their victims often through churches, investment seminars, television, radio, billboard, and mailer advertisements.

 

When considering a reverse mortgage or HECM product, it is very important to research the company. All reverse mortgages are insured by the Federal Housing Authority (FHA). Seek out companies that are a member of the Better Business Bureau and associated with the National Reverse Mortgage Lenders Association.

 
Tips for Avoiding Reverse Mortgage Scams:

 

  • Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements.
  • Be suspicious of anyone claiming that you can own a home with no down payment.
  • Do not sign anything that you do not fully understand.
  • Do not accept payment from individuals for a home you did not purchase.
  • Seek out your own reverse mortgage counselor.

 

Jan Jordan is a Reverse Mortgage Specialist serving the Fort Collins, Loveland, Greeley, and Front Range areas of Colorado.  Click here to contact Jan and learn if reverse mortgage is right for you.