Fortune has a great profile on the “Ocean’s 11” of HELOC fraud. Armed with just laptops and cellphones set to the right area code, he and his crew would drain home-equity lines of credit from unsuspecting homeowners accounts, piecing together enough of a profile on them from publicly available information to break through their account security. At his peak, he was pulling down millions a week, operating out of fancy hotel suites and drinking heavily from an endless stream of high-end liquor, jewelry, and prostitutes. And despite the FBI’s best dragnet efforts, he still remains at large today.
Here’s a new tactic we haven’t seen before: mortgage originator AmTrust called blogger BeThisWay and offered her $50 to voluntarily close her home equity line of credit (HELOC), possibly in response to the recent class action lawsuit against them for illegally closing HELOCs. She writes, “Well, I’d like to keep my HELOC. But I have to figure out AmTrust’s next move. What will they do if not enough people voluntarily surrender their HELOCs? Are cancellations next? Am I better off taking the $50 now, or waiting, hoping they don’t cancel it?”
Credit card issuers are panicking, cutting credit lines and entire cards. This can have a negative impact on your credit score, here’s a few ideas on how to defend against it.