By: Jennifer Pitt, Fraud Prevention Consultant, Voice Against Fraud, LLC
Buying a home is a major purchase, and it is the crux of the American dream. So, when you receive an official-looking letter in the mail detailing an urgency to record a home deed or extend a home warranty, you panic and start asking yourself a series of questions:
I thought the deed was recorded when I signed the purchase contracts and bought the home. If it wasn’t, does that mean, I don’t own the house? How can my warranty be expired? I just bought the house. Did I have a warranty? Was that something that came with the house? Can I afford home repairs without a warranty?
As these questions race through your mind, you read the mailer again. And much to your delight, the mailer notes that the issue can be fixed… for a small fee. So, you decide that it’s better to be safe than sorry. And you send money to the address listed on the mailer, to record your home deed or to reinstate your home warranty.
Unfortunately, you just fell victim to a scam. Though the mailer contained an official-looking seal and letterhead, it was not official. It was a scam.
Unfortunately, this happens every day. Home Deed Scams and the Home Warranty Scams are still very prevalent. Don’t become the scammer’s next victim.
The following are overviews of the Home Deed Scam and Home Warranty Scam, along with some prevention tips to help you avoid becoming a victim:
Home Deed Scam
Official-looking letters/mailers, asking homeowners to pay a fee to record a home deed by a certain deadline.
Home Warranty Scam
Official-looking letters/mailers, noting that the home warranty is going to expire. For a small fee, a new warranty can be purchased.
- NEVER give money or information to someone who contacts you. This includes contacts via phone call, text message, social media, and mail.
- Do not contact the information listed on the correspondence.
Instead, contact the county recorder’s office or your mortgage lender to verify that your home deed has already been recorded.
If you have or want a home warranty, conduct your own research. Contact the company you found through your research.
- All scams contain the same elements. If these elements are present, IT IS a scam.
When you receive ANY correspondence or call (mail, text, email, social media post), look for these scam elements:
Urgency, Ask, Consequences, Trustworthy (UACT):
- A sense of urgency (this could include an expiration date)
- An ask for money or information
- A consequence for not giving money/information (continuing to reiterate urgency)
- It will appear to come from a trustworthy source.
With these tips, my hope is that no one else becomes a scam victim.
For more information on fraud prevention services, please visit www.voiceagainstfraud.com.