Protect Yourself – Mortgage Fraud is on the Rise

The risk of fraud in mortgage application increased at the end of the second quarter, according to the latest quarterly Mortgage Fraud Risk Index released by CoreLogic on Thursday. CoreLogic said that the index rose to 149 for the second quarter, trending up 12 percent from the same period last year and rising 3 percent from the previous quarter.

The report said that Q2 2018 was the seventh consecutive quarterly increase in mortgage fraud risk. The Mortgage Fraud Risk Index is calculated from the aggregation of individual loan application fraud risk scores during the previous quarter.

Compared to 62 percent in Q1, purchase applications accounted for 72 percent of all transactions in Q2, the report indicated, as purchase volumes rose during the spring season. However, it found that refinances were at the lowest level since the index started reporting these trends in 2010, CoreLogic said.

“There is an increase in borrowers applying for loans on multiple properties,” the report said. “While the tight housing inventory and competitive market likely play a role, data also shows investors purchasing multiple properties concurrently and at times dividing loan applications across lenders.”

The index also found an increase in identity discrepancies. It also noted red flags on income reasonability during the quarter.

Regionally, Florida led the states with the most number of metros with the highest fraud risk. In fact, the Lakeland-Winter Haven metro area had the most significant increase in the fraud risk index at 20 percent. According to the report, the increase was due to high-risk flags in this region that included investors rapidly acquiring multiple rental properties, and the potential use of owner-occupant financing to obtain these properties.

Other Florida regions on the list included Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach; Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach; and Orlando-Kissimmee-Sanford.

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma saw a quarter-over-quarter drop in mortgage fraud risk by 24 percent. Memphis, Tennessee also saw a decline of 10 percent.


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