The Attorney General’s Professional Licensing & Homeowner Protection Unit works to protect homeowners from mortgage fraud and predatory lending. The Unit files civil court actions against individuals and companies committing deceptive and fraudulent business practices as mortgage brokers, foreclosure consultants, credit services organizations, and suppliers of other consumer services. The Unit also enforces the statutes and rules that regulate licensed professionals such as real estate agents and appraisers in Indiana.
Mortgage fraud has escalated into one of the fastest-growing white-collar crimes in the nation. Mortgage fraud is a criminal offense and often involves fraud against mortgage lenders by mortgage brokers, real estate agents, appraisers, and/or buyers. Here is a list of tips to help you avoid becoming a victim of mortgage fraud:
- Ensure every aspect of the real estate transaction is in writing.
- Do not sign any document before you read and understand it. If a document contains a false statement, do not sign it until the error is corrected.
- Remember the loan broker does not work for you; rather they work for the lender or an independent company.
- Be wary of undisclosed costs, interest rates, or fees.
- Perform an independent financial analysis before buying a house.
- Before signing a power of attorney, be aware of what rights you are giving the other person.
Mortgage fraud can be devastating for borrowers and their families. The number of mortgage fraud cases and the foreclosure crisis facing Indiana homeowners are having a negative effect on our nation’s economy, property values, and financial markets. The Office of the Indiana Attorney General has mobilized to make every attempt to combat this crisis in our state.
Understanding Your Rights
It is important consumers are fully informed of their rights and responsibilities as homeowners. In an effort to keep Hoosiers facing tough financial times in their homes, the State of Indiana has passed a law that provides Hoosiers an avenue to talk directly to their lenders, creating opportunities for homeowners to stay in their homes. Benefits of this law include:
- The lender is required to notify the homeowner of their right to request a settlement conference at the beginning of a foreclosure proceeding.
- If the homeowner asks for a settlement conference, the judge cannot sign the foreclosure order until the settlement conference has occurred.
- A lender must send a representative to the settlement conference.
- The homeowner is provided information throughout the foreclosure process about the Indiana Foreclosure Prevention Network (IFPN) 1.877.GET.HOPE (1.877.438.4673), a nonprofit organization that provides guidance, advice, and information to homeowners in financial trouble.
Attorneys are available to assist homeowners during a settlement conference. To request a pro bono attorney contact the IFPN. If you feel you have been the victim of a deceptive real estate transaction or have knowledge of violations committed by a licensed professional in Indiana, you can submit a consumer complaint online at www.IndianaConsumer.com or you may contact Consumer Protection Division at 317.232.6330 or toll-free at 1.800.382.5516.
Borrower Notice Information:
Mortgage loan applicants are entitled to certain rights under state law. Creditors are statutorily required to provide a notice of such rights to borrowers and prospective borrowers within three business days after having received a completed mortgage loan application.