BBB Scam Alert: This solicitation looks like a notice about your mortgage. Here’s how to spoil it

Published 9:08 am Thursday, May 25, 2023

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From the Better Business Bureau:

If you get an unexpected letter from your mortgage company, look closely! According to numerous BBB Scam Tracker reports, the letters are a deceptive solicitation for a home warranty service. Here’s how to spot the scheme.

How the scam works

You receive a letter that appears to come from your mortgage provider. It’s allegedly from the company’s “Home Warranty Dept,” and claims that your home warranty must be renewed.

Before worrying, look closely at the letter and see what’s happening. One BBB Scam Tracker report noticed: “At the very bottom of the letter in small print is the comment, ‘Not all consumers have previous coverage. We are not affiliated with your current mortgage.’” Another homeowner reported: “The mailing is made to look like a check: it has the tear-away sides and inside is a ‘Renewal Fee Voucher’ for $199.00. It’s not a check: it’s an attempt to get you to sign up for a home warranty.”

If you don’t read the fine print (or it doesn’t appear in the letter you receive), you’ll likely be concerned your home warranty has lapsed, and your mortgage is at risk. You won’t be dealing with your mortgage lender if you call the number and “renew” your warranty. Instead, you will have given money and personal information to a company that employs deceptive advertising tactics.

This scheme is similar to the extended car warranty calls. The product may be real, but you truly need something else. Also, you want to avoid doing business with a company that resorts to misleading sales techniques.

How to avoid mortgage scams

● Go to the source. If you receive any correspondence about your mortgage or home warranty that you aren’t sure about, don’t use the contact information in the message. Instead, call your lender directly to inquire about the matter. Look up their contact information separately on your mortgage bill or search for your lender’s customer service line on their website.

● Watch out for high-pressure offers or threats. Don’t let scammers pressure you to act immediately, even if they say you could lose your home. If someone tries to use scare tactics, stop communicating with them and contact your bank or lender directly.

● Shopping for a home warranty? Do your research first. Evaluate several options and read the terms closely before signing a contract.