Banks often buy and sell residential mortgages, and con artists take advantage of that. They create fake companies, pretend they are the new owners of your loan and take your payments until you figure out it's a scam. Most borrowers don't learn about the mortgage scam until their actual lender notifies them that their mortgage is in default.
Receiving a letter notifying you that your mortgage was sold from lender A to lender B doesn't always mean a scam. Often, when a mortgage is sold, lender A continues to service the loan and nothing changes for the borrower. But in some instances, the loan buyer becomes the new servicer and borrowers are required to send their payments to lender B instead.
Under federal rules, whenever the servicer on a loan changes, the borrower should be notified with a "Goodbye" letter from the current servicer and a "Hello" letter from the new servicer, Sullivan says.
If you ever get a letter stating your loan was sold, verify it before you mail the payment.
"Illegitimate people use legitimate channels," McGill says. "Call your servicer to check. Don't buy into the appearance of legitimacy."
And don't rely on the phone numbers listed on the letters, as it may lead back to the scammer.