Financial Institutions Commission warning Don’t let a lending scam spoil your Christmas season

Warning consumers to watch out for scams targeted at people looking for easy access to mortgage funds.

British Columbia’s regulator of mortgage brokers is warning consumers to watch out for scams targeted at people looking for easy access to mortgage funds.

The Office of the Registrar of Mortgage Brokers at the Financial  Institutions Commission (FICOM) recently identified companies promoting their services through classified advertising that are not registered to do business in this province.

Companies will often offer easy credit and use a toll-free number rather  than provide a local contact or office. They may ask for fees up front and can use high pressure tactics to encourage clients to advance the money.

In one case, a B.C. woman was convinced to pay over $2000 in “mortgage  insurance” to a company advertising loans through a toll-free number.

After a request for another fee, she went to a registered mortgage broker who advised her not to provide any further payments.

“Fees can run in the thousands of dollars and usually cannot be  recovered,” says Carolyn Rogers, registrar of mortgage brokers. “We advise  people seeking mortgage funding to work with a registered mortgage broker  and to use our website to determine if a lender is registered to operate  in B.C.”

The Office of the Registrar has posted a consumer alert warning that two companies have offered loans and are not registered to provide mortgage broker services in British Columbia. Details can be found at:  http://www.fic.gov.bc.ca/

FICOM’s website contains a searchable list of entities and individuals who  are registered to conduct mortgage broker activity in British Columbia: http://www.fic.gov.bc.ca/web_listings/MBSBListing.aspx.

Consumers and industry are encouraged to contact the Office of the  Registrar with information about unregistered mortgage broker activity.