As a valued Planet Home Lending customer, we want to make sure you have as much information as possible regarding mortgage fraud during the COVID-19 pandemic.
There are numerous scammers targeting homeowners applying for Mortgage Assistance. Protect yourself by learning how to recognize these scams.
Planet Home Lending is here to help you fight off these scammers. If you receive a phone call, letter, text message or email regarding your mortgage which appears to be suspicious, especially those that require up-front payments or changes to your mortgage terms, please call us right away at 866-882-8187. We’ll check our records and let you know if it’s legitimate or not. You can never be too cautious, so call us if you have a feeling something is not right.
Here are other “red flags” that indicate a communication is probably a scam:
- Unfamiliar Numbers or Communications. We all get those calls and texts where the caller ID looks odd or the number is unfamiliar. Don’t answer them! Planet will never communicate with you via text message to explain relief options, and we will never conceal our caller ID. We want to know if you receive any communications like this regarding your mortgage, so contact us right away.
- Call Spoofing. Watch out for “call spoofing”—scammers can disguise their caller ID numbers and hide behind legitimate company numbers. Again, if you don’t recognize the number, it’s best to not answer the call.
- Personal Information. Never, ever provide your personal information like your loan number, date of birth, social security number (or last 4 digits) to anyone or to an automated system without first knowing who you’re dealing with. Planet will never ask for this information in an automated call and if we call you, we will identify ourselves completely.
- Calls from Planet. If you accept a call that sounds like it’s from Planet, take time to confirm it’s us. If in doubt, hang up and call us to verify.
- If it’s “Too Good to be True”, it probably is. If the message is promising excessive savings or reductions and it seems unrealistic, you should be on alert. Reach out to us to confirm the offer.
- Offers for Loan Modifications. If you didn’t request to modify your loan and someone reached out to you, it may be a scam. It’s always a good idea to contact us to confirm the legitimacy of the offer.
- Unfamiliar Payment Methods. If anyone asks you to make payments with odd or unfamiliar methods, you should be suspicious. These may include very specific debit/credit cards or even Western Union/MoneyGram wires. If someone asks you to wire funds to an individual, this is not a request from Planet. Also, scammers like reloadable cards and gift cards (like iTunes or Google Play). If a requested method seems out of the ordinary, call us at 866-882-8187 before you take any action.
- Up-Front Payments. Planet will never ask for upfront fees or payments for loan modifications or to begin the loan modification process. If a caller asks for money upfront, hang up and contact us immediately.
- Requests to Change Payment Recipient. Again, hang up immediately if someone asks you to start sending your mortgage payments to an individual or any third party other than Planet.
- Feel Pressured to Act Immediately. If you don’t understand it, don’t sign it, agree to it, or commit to it. If you’re asked to send money quickly or decide in a short timeframe, you should be suspicious. You should be extremely cautious if someone asks you to sign over your deed or sign any paperwork you haven’t read or have questions about.
- “Official” Phrases and “Government Approved”. Legal verbiage can be confusing but be leery of loan modification documents that contain these “official” types of phrases.
Don’t deposit a check and wire money back. Planet will never ask you to deposit a check and wire money back to us. If someone asks you to deposit a check and that check is fake, you’re responsible for repaying the bank. By law, banks must make funds from deposited checks available within days but uncovering a fake check can take weeks.
Scammers are creative and prey on those who are not aware of the various ways in which scammers operate. Sign up for free scam alerts from the FTC at ftc.gov/scams. Get the latest tips and advice about scams sent right to your inbox. Be aware and stay safe.
For additional resources on Mortgage Assistance related scams, please use the resources below: