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Mortgage fraud is a serious issue in Canada that is becoming extremely sophisticated, and can lead to significant financial loss and long-term complications for borrowers. To safeguard against this threat, as a potential homebuyer or mortgage borrower, there are several proactive steps outlined below that you can take.

1. Work with reputable professionals. Choose lenders, mortgage brokers/agents and real estate agents with strong reputations. Verify their credentials and look for reviews or testimonials. Reputable professionals are less likely to engage in fraudulent activities.

2. Verify all documents. Carefully review all documents related to the mortgage application process. Ensure that all information is accurate and consistent across documents. If any discrepancies arise, clarify them immediately. Pay close attention to the fine print and seek clarification on any terms or conditions that you don’t fully understand.

3. Be wary of unusually good deals. If a deal seems too good to be true, it likely is. Be cautious of offers that promise guaranteed approval or significantly lower rates than those offered by well-known lenders. These can often be traps set by fraudsters.

4. Protect personal information. Only share personal information with trusted parties. Avoid giving out sensitive data over the phone or email unless you’re certain of the recipient’s identity. Identity theft is a common method used in mortgage fraud.

5. Stay informed about common scams. Stay up to date on the most common types of mortgage fraud, such as property flipping, straw buyer schemes and inflated appraisals. Being aware of these tactics can help you recognize and avoid potential fraud.

6. Purchase title insurance. Title insurance can protect you against losses from certain kinds of fraud. It ensures that the property title is clear and that there are no undisclosed liens or issues.

7. Monitor your credit report. Check your credit report regularly for any unauthorized activity. This can help you catch any fraudulent activity early and take necessary actions to mitigate it.

By following these steps, you can significantly reduce your risk of falling victim to mortgage fraud and ensure a safer, more secure homebuying process.

Have questions about mortgage fraud? Answers are just a call or email away!