Inside LADA

September 25, 2015: Fraud Alert: Don’t Let Reverse Mortgage Scams Drain Your Savings

Graphic image Don't Let Reverse Mortgage Scams Drain Your Savings

En Español

Los Angeles County airwaves are inundated with TV and radio ads touting reverse mortgages. But seniors considering these sales pitches should be aware that there are reverse mortgage-related scams that criminals use to bilk consumers.

Reverse mortgages allow homeowners, aged 62 and older, to borrow money against the value of their homes and not pay it back until they move out or die.

In one common scam, the perpetrator will identify seniors who are at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure. The perpetrator will scheme with a dishonest appraiser to inflate the value of the home and then obtain a reverse mortgage on the property. After the mortgage approval, the scammers have the senior transfer the title to them and the senior is left without a home and without the funds from the reverse mortgage.

TIPS:

  • Be suspicious of anyone claiming that you can own a home with no down payment.
  • Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements.
  • 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 mortgage counselor.

For more information on scams that target seniors, go to the Elder Abuse/Financial Fraud pages of the District Attorney’s website (http://da.lacounty.gov/seniors/financial-fraud). If you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam, please contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or visit http://dcba.lacounty.gov.

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