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Time Machine: Mortgage fraud in 1999

Mortgage fraud doubles

Fax machines, photocopiers and white-out are a handful of the “tools” used by people to commit mortgage fraud.

That’s according to the article, “Mortgage fraud rising” (Enterprise, January/February 1999). “[I]n 1998 mortgage fraud comprised 3.2 per cent of the total number of fraud cases in Canada, but accounted for 12.9 per cent of the total losses attributable to fraud.”

FICOM in B.C. also pointed to an increase in fraud, estimating that its 13 investigators spent 45 per cent of their investigative time (up from 20 per cent just three years earlier), reviewing such complaints. “In B.C., this increase in fraudulent mortgage activity has likely contributed co the increase in the number of mortgage foreclosures, up from 2,210 in 1997 to 2,800 in 1998,” the article notes.

Since 2013, Equifax reports, that it has identified almost $1 billion of worth of mortgage fraud attempts among its lender clients. An article published in the Globe last winter pointed to surprisingly low-tech attempts to falsify mortgage applications by cutting and pasting letterhead and signatures.

One red flag that caused a mortgage broker to turn down an app? The CRA Notice of Assessment was printed on top-quality paper. ◊