OKLAHOMA CITY – Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma (BBB) is warning consumers across the nation about a mortgage lender scam from Best Rate Financial.
According to the BBB, the company claims to offer loss mitigation services, loan modification and interest rate adjustment services. It requires consumers to pay a prerequisite security fee upfront in order to receive a loan and other services. Consumers should be aware that advance fee loans are illegal in the United States and Canada.
“Mortgage scams like this can be hard to notice,” said Kitt Letcher, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Central Oklahoma. “Homeowners are promised financial assistance from businesses that appear to have legitimate websites, use government program names like TARP or HAMP or offer money-back guarantees. Unfortunately, these can all be misleading tactics. That’s why BBB really urges consumers to utilize our Business Review service on our website so you can research the company.”
Best Rate Financial is targeting consumers over the phone and using two separate street addresses in Oklahoma City, according to the BBB. A reported scam victim in Idaho said he spoke with a company representative who claimed Best Rate Financial could reduce his interest rate from 9 percent to 2.44 percent by using the Troubled Asset Relief Program (TARP). He was asked to pay $2,882 upfront to begin processing the loan. A check was sent to one of the addresses in Oklahoma City, but the victim received nothing in return.
Lender or loan brokers are required to register in the state where they do business. BBB has been unable to verify the registration status of Best Rate Financial with the Oklahoma Secretary of State or verify a license with the Oklahoma Department of Consumer Credit. BBB attempts to reach the company have been unsuccessful.
BBB offers the following tips to avoid mortgage lender scams.
- Deal only with reputable companies.
- Be skeptical of any offer where you have to pay money upfront, especially if it’s for “insurance,” “processing” or “paperwork.”
- Don’t give personal information to firms offering loans, grants, credit cards or unsolicited services over the phone or internet.
- Be wary of businesses that operate using a post office box and don’t have a street address.
- Find the company independently by getting its phone number from a phone book or directory assistance.
- Contact your state attorney general’s office or your state’s department of banking or finance regulation to confirm the company is registered.
- Contact BBB for a BBB Business Review by visiting www.bbb.org.