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Windy City Becomes Prime Target for Mortgage Fraudsters

Aug 11, 2011

Interthinx has released its quarterly Mortgage Fraud Risk Report, covering data collected in the second quarter of 2011. According to the most recent analysis, fraud risk has decreased significantly in the Chicago metro area. Miami now ranks among the top 10 riskiest metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) for three of the four type-specific fraud risks tracked in the report. The top spot in the ZIP code table for the last four quarters belonged to either 60636 or 60621, which are adjoining ZIP codes in Chicago. As of this second-quarter report, Chicago moved off the list of the top 20 riskiest ZIP codes with significantly lower risk of fraud across all types. “The Mortgage Fraud Risk Report has been drawing attention to Chicago for a year, and the recent decrease in mortgage fraud risk in the Chicago ZIP codes was as dramatic as it was sudden. It suggests that when the industry has actionable intelligence and increases its scrutiny of an area, word gets out, and the fraudsters move on,” said Kevin Coop, president of Interthinx. “It’s exactly what we expect to accomplish with this report.” Miami, on the other hand, has experienced a resurgence in fraud risk and has been high on the list of risky MSAs for the past year. Like the rest of the state, Miami is struggling to get the problem under control, with five of the top ten riskiest ZIP codes and eight of the top 20 in Florida. In the second quarter, Miami was ranked number one in identity fraud risk, number two in occupancy fraud risk, and number nine in property valuation fraud risk. Previous Interthinx Mortgage Fraud Risk Reports have described fraud patterns based primarily on geographic characteristics, but beginning with this report, it includes additional selected characteristics relating to the loan (e.g., purpose and amount), the borrower (e.g., income and FICO score), and the property (e.g., appraised value and property type) that can be used to provide additional insights from which to develop actionable intelligence. As for the rest of the country, the national Mortgage Fraud Risk Index remains elevated but has stayed relatively flat over the past year.
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Aug 11, 2011
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