Mortgage Payoff Fraud Red Flags to Watch For

Learn about the five common tactics real estate fraudsters use to trick buyers and sellers in hopes of a big payday.

Mortgage Payoff Fraud Red Flags to Watch For

Learn about the five common tactics real estate fraudsters use to trick buyers and sellers in hopes of a big payday.

Mortgage Payoff Fraud Red Flags to Watch For
Written by:

Matt Kilmartin

Read time:

5 minutes


Mortgage Payoff


Oct 11, 2022

With so much of our personal and professional lives facilitated via online communications, applications, and smartphones, falling victim to cybercrime is sadly a matter of when, not if.

The same also applies to the mortgage payoff and closing process. Criminals can take advantage of the digital tools that facilitate the process in hopes of making off with a big payday.

However, with the right tools, training, and knowledge, you can often stop a criminal in their tracks. Even if a criminal slips through the cracks, having these tools can limit the potential financial impact. It is critical to know the warning signs that borrowers, sellers, and other parties to a real estate transaction should look out for to avoid costly and time-consuming recovery from fraud. 

That’s why the team at CertifID compiled this list of mortgage fraud red flags that you should be aware of:

5 Mortgage Fraud Red Flags You Need to Know

When you’re in the midst of a real estate closing, there are many documents, deadlines, and steps that you need to juggle, making it hard to know when a fraudster is attempting to push their way into your transaction. 

However, there are some common tactics fraudsters use to pull off their crimes:

1. Last-Minute or Time-Limited Requests from Apparent Professionals

Scammers may attempt to get you to send funds or provide sensitive information quickly, thinking the time crunch will make you overlook otherwise suspicious details that would otherwise give you pause.

Just remember that legitimate real estate professionals and lenders are required to give you the time you need to review your options, along with copies of the associated documents.

2. Deviations From Known Processes

Criminals may also try to get you to deviate from the standard processes for document or information submission that you previously discussed with your real estate or financial professionals.

Be wary of unusual requests to send money to specific destinations via specific methods or requests to “overlook” elements “this one time” that do not look correct. If you are unsure if a request is valid, do independent research to check.

3. Unusual Communication Methods

Scammers will attempt to establish separate lines of communication with you, using an email address or phone number that may look similar to legitimate sources but often with distinct differences.

These could include differences in email domain names, phone numbers from different area codes, requests via text messages, or messages with misspellings or unusual wording.

4. Offers That Are Too Good to Be True

As with many products and services, scammers are hoping that extraordinary loan terms, mortgage payment amounts, or offer prices will be enough to distract you from the reality of the situation.

Take the time to independently verify and research the validity of the business, offers, and terms of the products and services you’re presented with so you are not left picking up the financial pieces in the criminal’s wake.

5. Inconsistent or False Information

For real estate professionals, documentation with false or misleading information, errors, or other inconsistencies can be a big warning sign of potential problems.

To meet both professional and regulatory standards, personal, financial, and regulatory information should be accurate, consistent, and verifiable.

Learn More About Mortgage Fraud Red Flags

Buying or selling a home is stressful, but failing to take a moment to listen to your gut if something doesn’t look or sound right can lead to a very costly financial mistake.

Ultimately, if you receive any unusual message regarding your transaction—especially when it comes to your mortgage closing and payoff—make sure to call your point of contact using the contact information you independently found to validate its authenticity. 

Looking for more tips on protecting your business or family against the devastating effects of mortgage fraud? Want to learn about other mortgage fraud red flags? 

Then download our free resource, Mortgage Payoff Fraud Is Rising; Here’s How to Protect Your Business.

Matt Kilmartin

VP of Sales

Matt has over a decade of experience bringing disruptive Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) solutions to market in the automotive, MarTech, and real estate industries. He excels in high-growth tech companies with a passion for building and leading sales teams that deliver a memorable, consultative experience to prospective clients.

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