Scammers are reportedly targeting homeowners with fake offers of financial aid at a time when many are struggling to pay their mortgages due to the coronavirus outbreak.

In
one example, Freddie Mac last week warned of a new scam that saw
borrowers receive fake calls impersonating the mortgage giant,
offering low interest rates and other false assistance. It said that
scammers are looking to take advantage of homeowners who’s seeking
assistance due to the COVID-19 crisis, and typically offer relief
from foreclosure or delayed mortgage payments.

Freddie
Mac advised that it will never reach out to homeowners over the phone
to discuss new loans or refinancing.

The
mortgage servicer offers a number of programs to help homeowners
who’re struggling, but it said that homeowners are required to
initiate any request for help by themselves.

“Spoofing
is when a caller deliberately falsifies the information transmitted
to your caller ID in an effort to disguise their identity while
pretending to be someone else,” Freddie Mac warned in a statement
about the growing scam. “During times of distress, it is important
to be on your guard against fraud schemes.”

Freddie
Mac offered a few tips for homeowners to avoid being scammed. For
example, if a call comes from an unknown number, it’s a good idea
to let it go to voicemail. If it turns out to be a genuine call, the
caller will most likely leave a message.

It
also advised people who receive and answer a robocall to immediately
hang up, without pressing any numbers. Further, it said homeowners
should never give out personal or senstive information over the
phone, unless they can verify the caller is legitimate. Finally, it
said to be cautious of numbers on your caller ID since some scammers
can make any name or number appear when they call.

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