“Reverse mortgages are the next wave of fraud, they’re counter-intuitive and difficult to understand,” said Terry Goddard, Attorney General for the state of Arizona during a speech in front of sixty seniors who attended an Anti-Crime University in Sierra Vista, Arizona.
The speech was part of a statewide effort to reach seniors, arming them with the information they need to detect and avoid scams said the SV Herald. Goddard covered a range of topics including reverse mortgages, modification schemes, property tax appeal fraud, and more.
“Because of Arizona’s large retirement community, we’re one of the top states in the country for identity theft, fraud and exploitation of seniors,” Goddard said. “And protecting Arizona seniors has become the number one priority for my office.” Currently, 17 percent of Arizonans are over 60, and that number is expected to climb to 25 percent by 2020, he said. Some of the biggest frauds his office is watching include scam artists calling themselves census takers, along with mortgage scams and reverse mortgages.
According to the Herald, Goddard did say that he believes a reverse mortgage can be a good thing for some seniors, he advises everyone to get help from a reputable company or HUD counselor before making a decision.
Additionally, Goddard told attendees to always avoid adjustable rates when considering a reverse mortgage. “The adjustable rates scare me,” he said. It’s because they’ll continue to go down, which means less money for the senior who is locked into a contract he said. Additionally, stay away from reverse mortgages with terms, says Goddard, who argues that a reverse mortgage should be in effect through the person’s lifetime, with no limiting terms.
“There are HUD-certified, nonprofit counselors out there. They are where people should turn to for help,” he said.