(Source: The Morning Call, Allentown, Pennsylvania) – I came across a mortgage scam I hadn’t heard of before. It happened in Nevada, but could happen anywhere. I’m surprised I haven’t run across this before. It’s pretty slick.The fraud plays off the frequent sales of mortgages. Banks buy and sell residential mortgages all the time, meaning the bank you sign up with may not be the bank you end up making payments to for the entire term of your loan.

Villians know this. The attorney general’s office in Nevada says two men set up a business to steal homeowners’ mortgage payments by fraudulently claiming the homeowners’ bank had sold their mortgage.

The men are accused of sending letters to homeowners telling them they had to start making loan payments to their business instead, the attorney general’s office said.

“This type of corporate identity theft is devastating to the homeowner victim and to the true loan servicer, both of whom are harmed by these types of scams,” Nevada Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto said in a statement.

If you get a letter or phone call telling you your mortgage has been sold and to start making payments to a different company or location, verify it before you pay. Don’t verify it by calling the number on the letter you got. Instead, contact your current mortgage servicer, which should be able to tell you whether your mortgage was in fact sold, and to whom.

(c) 2011, The Morning Call (Allentown, Pa.)

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A service of YellowBrix, Inc. Publication date: 2011-03-07