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Why would a company do this?

Posted by Silverdove (My Page) on
Sun, May 4, 03 at 13:13

I own my house, the mortgage has been paid off. Nevertheless, I frequently receive phone calls asking if I want to refinance my mortgage. I say "No thanks," and hang up. Yesterday I received a letter from a lender, which was sent certified mail, about the advantage of refinancing my "high interest, FHA insured loan."
Now: I have never had an FHA insured loan. The interest rate mentioned was not the rate I paid when I did have a mortgage loan, and the amount listed was not the amount my loan had been.

At first I thought that this was just a strange marketing ploy the company uses to get people to call so they could try to sell them a loan. Then I started worrying that maybe someone had used my identity to obtain the loan they described. Is this possible, or should I just throw the letter away and stop worrying?


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Why would a company do this?

Silverdove;

Just circular file it, or recycle it, or use it as canary cage carpet.

A common directmail marketing ploy is to get homeowner's names & addresses from title companies (it's publically recorded info, so you can't "opt out" unfortunately) and then craft any NUMBER of different mailings intended to deceive you into believing the sender actually knows your own unique situation.

They can ALSO often times get your old/current mortgage lender's name, and even your outstanding loan amount and/or loan number... even FURTHER making it appear as though they're not just spammers... but make no mistake, that's ALL they are.

Anymore, even *I* am ultra-suspicious of ANYTHING that comes via US Post. If something is urgent or important, it gets emailed, faxed or phoned to me. I seem to respect things that come in the mail far less (sad to say.)

If something's got to be delivered, and they REALLY desire my attention, they better send it in a courier envelope or box.

Yes... I've accidentally thrown important stuff away because of this attitude... but there is ONLY so many hours in a day, so many minutes in an hour, and I can't waste it paying attention to trash.

Luck!
Dave Donhoff
Just some mortgage guy ;~)


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RE: Why would a company do this?

Thanks Dave. That's what I thought, but my SO doesn't call me the Queen of Doom for nothing...


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RE: Why would a company do this?

Those are mass-produced mailers, not to worry. Probably some in-store credit you applied for generated it, or most likely, your existing lender sold off your name. Many do it now. I get many of those mailers, and they look so official it can be a bit scary. But it's a marketing scheme.


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RE: Why would a company do this?

I wonder if it was even really a certified letter, or if it was one of those ones that's designed to look like a certified letter. The way to tell the difference is always the postage in the upper right hand corner. If it has real, honest, first-class U.S. postage on it, then it's worth opening. If it says "bulk rate" or something similar, it's junk mail.

Some companies are even using bulk mail stamps to make their mailings look like real letters. But you can still tell, because the stamp will be 8.6 cents or whatever, and not real U.S. postage. Also, it will often not be canceled.

Ken


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RE: Why would a company do this?

Yes, it was a genuine certified letter--the real postman brought it to the door for me to sign for it, and the postage on it says $2.67. That's why I thought that it was a pretty desperate ploy on the part of the lender.


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RE: Why would a company do this?

Just to be sure, it wouldn't hurt to obtain a couple of free credit reports from the major agencies. They would all list any loans made in your name. Hopefully it is just a scam, but it wouldn't cost anything to settle your worried mind.


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RE: Why would a company do this?

This sounds very weird to me. I've frequently gotten similar solicitations. But usually, there is some nearly accurate fact written into it. For instance, they'll list the name of my original mortgage company (the mortgage was sold twice and later refinanced) and original loan amount (not the same as the loan amount for the refinanced loan.) It's easy for them to get this info as it's all public record. All mortgages are recorded in the county clerks office (in NJ.) I have never received solicitations where information was made-up. I can't see what advantage there would be to making up info (they might as well not put ANY identifying info.) And why would they spend so much money on certified mail that contained made-up info? It just sounds too weird. I wonder if these people are running some kind of scam? Although what it would be, I don't know. You might want to just call them and find out where they obtained their info. It wouldn't hurt, after all, they're not going to be able to talk you into buying anything, right? If you feel like spending the time, you could also check with the BBB and the county prosecutors office to see if there have been any complaints against them. You could also get your credit reports and check with the county clerk's office (or wherever mortrgages are recorded) and make sure that there are no open mortgages against your property.


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Don't worry though

BTW, in the unlikely event that there was a mortgage against your property, I don't think that you'd be responsible since a person who is not the owner of a property cannot take out a mortgage against said property. But it could pose a delay if/when you go to sell, because it would all have to be cleared up before transfer of title. Don't worry too much though. This is a very very unlikely scenerio. After all, where is all of the mail for this mortgage going? Is somebody stealing it out of your mailbox? I doubt it!


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RE: Why would a company do this?

Thank you for the responses.

I called the company, although the first couple of times I tried I got a message that the call could not be completed. I asked the woman who answered where the information had come from, and she said from HUD, but that the information might have been out of date. I told her I had NEVER had an FHA insured loan, had never had a loan in the amount shown, and had never had a loan at the interest rate indicated. All she did was apologize, and say she would take me off their mailing list!

I'm no closer to solving the mystery.


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RE: Why would a company do this?

There is no mystery. That's really not all the much money for a company to spend to be sure they get your attention. Believe me--they've got marketing budgets for stuff like this.


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RE: Why would a company do this?

I think I would check it out if it was a real certified letter. I can't imagine a company going to the trouble to send out a certified letter if it was just makeing a mass mailing to drum up business.


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RE: Why would a company do this?

oh, Judith, they would. It's automated, and that's not a very expensive letter at all.

They didn't spend much on paper and printing--no photographs to take, etc.

Just a no-fail way to make you open their letter and look at their company name.


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