Need a home loan? Avoid unsolicited offers and do your homework

It’s Morning Edition on KRPS. If you’re thinking about buying or selling a home, it’s a seller’s market right now. According to an article from CNBC this past June, the average house nationwide is staying on the market for only six days. As if buying a home wasn’t already difficult enough, the Better Business Bureau is reporting that scammers are impersonating financial lenders. Stephanie Garland of the BBB in Springfield, Missouri says this is a widespread problem.

The Better Business Bureau is hearing multiple reports from people both here locally and from across the state or the nation that scammers are actually pretending to be legitimate loan providers. And they are trying to give people, supposedly, a quick loan with no upfront fees. However, the victims who provide their banking information in an order to get ahead and access that money, they’re left with negative.

Stephanie Garland

The scam works like this. You see an advertisement in your social media feed or get an email that appears to be legit. It has the logos of a company that you’ve heard of and contact information. Stephanie tells us more.

“Before proceeding with the offer you search the company online and of course you find what looks like a legitimate website so you think it’s real. You go ahead and apply. You give all of your personal bank account information including your account number and your routing number. And then unfortunately you’re going to find out a couple of days later that you are either completely wiped out or there is a huge chunk of money that’s missing from your account. And instead of getting a loan they stole money from you. And at that point of course it’s near impossible to get any money back. So people are left without their luck and without their money.”

Stephanie Garland

People who have fallen victim to this scam tell the Better Business Bureau that in some cases you’re able to choose the amount of money you want the loan to be for. Some good practices to consider so that this doesn’t happen to you include, expecting a credit check when you apply for a home loans. Also, avoid unsolicited loan offers. If somebody contacts you by phone, text, or email about receiving a home loan you should second guess it. If you need a loan, consider very strongly going to your bank, or a local credit union to help you with the process. According to Stephanie, once you’ve provided scammers with your info you’re giving them a gateway to accessing your accounts.

“So this is anywhere from 100’s to 1000’s of dollars. We’ve some reports of $200,$300, some thousands of dollars. And people are literally thinking they are going to get a $200,000 loan with a very low interest rate so it’s totally worth the investment for them. But unfortunately they are left without the money and they are suddenly in even worse financial straits than they were to begin with if they had just saved the money and budgeted.”

Stephanie Garland

Visit the Better Business Bureau’s scam tracker and see what residents of the Four States are reporting at bbb.org/scamtracker

For 89 9 KRPS, I’m Fred Fletcher-Fierro

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