Refinancing Scams

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Some homeowners look to refinancing to get out of adjustable-rate mortgages or lower the rate on their fixed-rate mortgages to help ease financial pressures. Refinancing can become an attractive option when interest rates drop. But be careful. Some homeowners have become the target of fraudulent refinancing offers.

The fraudulent offers may begin with a call from an “under-writer,” who may refer to the homeowner’s good payment record, good credit, or current mortgage rate to confuse the homeowner into believing that the call is from the homeowner’s current mortgage lender. The caller may offer the homeowner a refinancing offer that is hard to pass up, such as a lower interest rate, no closing costs, guaranteed approval, no required appraisal, and a speedy closing. Since people may believe that their current mortgage lender is offering the deal, they do not question the offer. After the caller convinces the homeowner to refinance, the homeowner is asked to pay a fee to proceed with the refinancing, which can be as high as two mortgage payments. Once the homeowner provides payment for the refinancing, the “under-writer” does nothing and the homeowner is out thousands of dollars.

These scams are hard to detect because the refinancing process can be confusing and vary from person to person. To avoid refinancing traps, the Attorney General’s Office offers the following tips:

If you believe you are the victim of a refinancing scam, file a complaint:

Office of Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison
445 Minnesota Street, Suite 1400
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 296-3353 (Twin Cities Calling Area)
(800) 657-3787 (Outside the Twin Cities)
(800) 627-3529 (Minnesota Relay)

Minnesota Department of Commerce
85 7th Place East, Suite 280
St. Paul, MN 55101
(651) 539-1600 (local)
(800) 657-3602 (Greater MN only) external link icon

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