The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently issued a Fraud Alert Bulletin regarding appraiser identity theft.
According to the Fraud Alert Bulletin, there have been a number of appraiser identity theft cases recently uncovered by HUD OIG.
According to the bulletin, the schemes involved individuals using the state certification number of an FHA roster appraiser. The bulletin stated, “Most of the schemes happened when an FHA roster appraiser provided his or her personal identification number (PIN) for the desktop appraisal software to a colleague or supervisor.”
The HUD OIG bulletin provides details of schemes that were uncovered in Washington, Illinois, and California. The individuals who perpetrated these schemes were caught, and all were sentenced in federal court, but the damage done to the appraisers’ reputations is immeasurable.
The bulletin provides a list of Do’s and Don’ts to prevent appraiser identity theft including:
- Do review a list of your appraised properties often to detect any that were not conducted by you, especially after you leave an appraisal firm.
- Do follow up on any indication that an appraisal that you did not perform was entered in your name.
- Do file a report of suspected fraud on OIG’s website.
- Don’t give your system PIN to another person.
- Don’t leave your PIN where others will find it.
- Don’t do business with a company that requires you to give it your PIN.
- Don’t use the PIN of another appraiser, even if it is on his or her behalf.
- Don’t sign an appraisal that you have not personally performed.
For more information about preventing appraiser identity theft, McKissoc’s online course Avoiding Mortgage Fraud for Appraisers covers many different types of mortgage fraud schemes and steps appraisers can take to avoid involvement.