Scammers are reportedly targeting homeowners with fake offers of financial aid at a time when many are struggling to pay their mortgages due to the coronavirus outbreak.
In one example, Freddie Mac last week warned of a new scam that saw borrowers receive fake calls impersonating the mortgage giant, offering low interest rates and other false assistance. It said that scammers are looking to take advantage of homeowners who’s seeking assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis, and typically offer relief from foreclosure or delayed mortgage payments.
Freddie Mac advised that it will never reach out to homeowners over the phone to discuss new loans or refinancing.
The mortgage servicer offers a number of programs to help homeowners who’re struggling, but it said that homeowners are required to initiate any request for help by themselves.
“Spoofing is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted to your caller ID in an effort to disguise their identity while pretending to be someone else,” Freddie Mac warned in a statement about the growing scam. “During times of distress, it is important to be on your guard against fraud schemes.”
Freddie Mac offered a few tips for homeowners to avoid being scammed. For example, if a call comes from an unknown number, it’s a good idea to let it go to voicemail. If it turns out to be a genuine call, the caller will most likely leave a message.
It also advised people who receive and answer a robocall to immediately hang up, without pressing any numbers. Further, it said homeowners should never give out personal or senstive information over the phone, unless they can verify the caller is legitimate. Finally, it said to be cautious of numbers on your caller ID since some scammers can make any name or number appear when they call.