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Warning Issued About Refinance Scams

Promises of guaranteed low rates to lure up-front payments

Oct. 26, 2015

By The Knoxville News-Sentinel - Tribune News Service

With the Federal Reserve expected to raise interest rates before the end of the year, many homeowners are looking to refinance before the rates go up.

Consumer advocates warn that con artists are anticipating the jump, too.

The Better Business Bureau has received reports of emails, phone calls and flyers from companies offering great deals on refinancing, with promises of "guaranteed" interest rates. The companies tempt homeowners with news that they may qualify for a special program, and the potential to save hundreds of dollars each month on mortgage payments.

"There's one big catch," the BBB warns. "The 'company' needs you to pay an upfront fee in order to lock in your rate, sometimes as much as thousands of dollars. Once you hand over the payment, the 'company' vanishes with your money."

Always be wary of upfront fees to guarantee a new, lower rate, the BBB advises.

Also be skeptical of any company that claims it is part of a government program. Scam artists try to increase their credibility by aligning themselves with official or trustworthy institutions.

"Do your research and contact the government or your loan servicer first," according to the BBB.

Likewise, take the time to do your research -- high-pressure sales tactics encouraging you to act immediately with phrases like "act fast" or "limited time offer" are often a red flag indicating a possible scam.

And never heed advice to stop paying your mortgage lender, as it can damage your credit rating.

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Copyright (c) 2015, The Knoxville News-Sentinel

Distributed by Tribune News Service.

This story was distributed by TNS - Tribune News Service
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