Seniors Falling Victim to Reverse Mortgage Scams

The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office is warning seniors to be careful when considering TV and Radio ads about reverse mortgages.  Officials say sometimes criminal use the sales pitches to scam seniors.

file000571307034Reverse mortgages allow homeowners, aged 62 and older, to borrow money against the value of their homes and not pay it back until they move out or die.

In one common scam, the criminals will identify seniors who are at risk of losing their homes due to foreclosure. The crooks will scheme with a dishonest appraiser to inflate the value of the home and then get a reverse mortgage on the property. After the mortgage is approved, scammers have the senior transfer the title to them and the senior is left without a home and without the money from the reverse mortgage.

The District Attorney’s office released the following tips for seniors to keep in mind:

*Be suspicious of anyone claiming that you can own a home with no down payment.
*Do not respond to unsolicited advertisements.
*Do not sign anything that you do not fully understand.
*Do not accept payment from individuals for a home you did not purchase.
*Seek out your own mortgage counselor.

For more information on scams that target seniors, you can visit the Elder Abuse/Financial Fraud pages of the District Attorney’s website (http://da.lacounty.gov/seniors/financial-fraud). If you or someone you know has been the victim of a scam, you can contact the Los Angeles County Department of Consumer and Business Affairs at (800) 593-8222 or visit http://dcba.lacounty.gov.  You can also follow @LADAOffice on Twitter for up-to-date news and use #FraudFriday.

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