Friday, May 22, 2015

Buyer's Beware: Unsolicited and Expensive Mortgage Letters Are Still Filtering Through

Since purchasing a home this year, I have been receiving several unsolicited letters although I had opted out of receiving any from businesses affiliated with my lender. Somehow, these letters continue to arrive, but since the Do-Not-Call program, there have been no telephone calls.

That doesn't, however, make going to my mailbox any more pleasant. Many of these letters I have received appear pretty official. A few even had the name of the lender stamped on the front of the letter or placed as part of the return address. If I had not looked closely at the letters, it would appear the offers placed in these letters were actually from my lender.

Initially, I thought they were. I placed the letters on the pile of mail I was to review when the opportunity arose. Yesterday, I sat to closely examine one of the letters, when I came across the fine print on the front of the envelope: "Loan Payment Administration is not affiliated with the lender". What this company was offering was to simply reduce my long-term mortgage payments by committing to a biweekly payment program. It looks so legitimate. There's a little table smack in the middle of the letter with official looking numbers that looked professional and quite enduring, if not genuine. After some research, I discovered it was a scam that would have eventually cost me more to opt into their deal.

How this continues to happen with all the overhauling the real estate industry has endured since its collapse in 2008 is a mystery. It goes to show you that there are still predators out there looking to trick consumers into buying into so-called deals and savings that eventually wind up becoming too expensive.

So, why did I initially fall for the scam by placing the letter onto a pile of important mails to examine? Because I was still in the middle of a frenzied move into a new home with a new large debt on my hands (the mortgage). And in between my frazzled schedule of picking up the mail and trying to settle into my new home, I overlooked the fine print and only saw "savings", "reduction", and of course, my lender's name on the letter. Did I mention the "Mortgage Payment Information Enclosed" stamped just like that over my name and address? Or the "2ND ATTEMPT" I found when I pulled the letter out of the envelope? (Yes, just like that).  It's enough to have anyone want to give the letter a second look.

So, buyer's beware. If you receive anything that looks official or unofficial in the mail that has to do with your financial life, proceed with caution. Call your lender or go back to your real estate agent before signing up for anything.

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