Reverse Mortgage Scams

The sub-prime mortgage crisis brought unscrupulous predatory lenders out of the proverbial woodwork to take advantage of seniors. One of the areas in which they are particularly insidious is selling reverse mortgages, and there are a number of reverse mortgage scams that are hurting our senior citizens. But, there are steps being taken to stop it.

According to HUD, “deceptive practices and allegations of high-pressure sales tactics are being more frequently encountered as senior citizens are being taken advantage of under the guise of a helpful and legitimate reverse mortgage. Borrowers also run the risk of being steered into inappropriate loans and annuities by sales agents and insurance brokers who could be working together without disclosing that relationship to the borrower.”

Reverse mortgage scams were on the rise even before the current economic crisis hit. In California, for example, a new law requires that before getting a reverse mortgage, people must receive independent advice about the pros and cons from a certified counseling agency. The law also requires that mortgage documents be translated into the language in which the loan was negotiated. This ensures that a borrower who doesn't speak English has full access to the financial information. It also blocks the questionable practice of requiring people to buy annuities they may not need.”

Seniors are particularly vulnerable to scams that pervade our society. Given the fact that so many seniors may be in financial trouble, they become victims of predators and companies that seek to make a quick buck at the senior's expense.

If you have a parent who is considering a reverse mortgage, we recommend that you accompany them to the counseling agency so that you can ask questions, take notes, and ensure they are treated with the utmost respect.