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Watch For Scams Newsletter, Issue #003 -- Celebrity Email Scams and Reverse Mortgage Scams
July 16, 2009

Celebrity Email Scams and Reverse Mortgage Scams

Watch For Scams is dedicated to helping you avoid becoming a victim of fraud.

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Celebrity Scam Emails

Scammers are capitalising on the recent media coverage of celebrities such as Michael Jackson and Farrah Fawcett. You may receive an email claiming to have images, video and songs as a tribute to the celebrities.

The attachments contain viruses and spyware that infect your computer or removable drives if that is where you save them.

Another email variation contains a link to the images, video and songs.

Some of this malicious software [malware] is designed to steal personal information from your computer through accessing your files, or by monitoring your keystrokes [using keylogger software] and sending your credit card information and passwords back to the scammers.

Remember: DONíT open emails from people you don't know, and don't open attachments or click on links in emails from people you don't know.

Also ensure your computer has internet security software installed on it, and ensure it is updated regularly

Reverse Mortgage Scams

If you are seeking reverse mortgage products - also known as Home Equity Conversion Mortgages [HECM], be on the alert for unscrupulous scammers [especially if you are a senior].

There are genuine HECM loans from the Federal Housing Authority for people who own their own home, or have a small mortgage on it. There is an age restriction however, and eligible borrowers must be at least 62 years of age or older.

The scheme allows eligible homeowners to access the equity they have in their own homes, by providing funds without incurring any monthly payment.

However scammers have targeted eligible homeowners by utilizing local churches, advertisements on TV, radio and mailouts, and investment seminars.

In some of the scams seniors are offered free homes, refinance assistance, or investment opportunities. The scammer's goal is to steal the equity from the property of their victims.

Avoid this scam by not responding to unsolicited advertisements for these reverse mortgage products, not signing documents you don't understand, and seeking independent mortgage advice. Treat with suspicion anyone who claims you can own a home with no money down.

Remember - always watch for scams!



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