The HARP refinance emails have been coming in with surprising regularity. To be blunt, these emails are nothing more than a scam. One of the difficulties with many of these emails is that they don’t display the classic signs of spam, i.e., spelling and grammar are good and they don’t include a generic salutation. They do, however, rely heavily on images to portray a professional image.
The HARP program will expire on December 31, 2015, which means there will likely be an increasing focus on this scam during the next twelve months. The government’s warning about HARP scams assumes you’ve already decided to refinance. They warn consumers to check out the organization they’re using to refinance and even maintain a listing consumers can check to verify the validity of the company they will be working with.
The barrage of emails to refinance are merely another lure to entice victims into giving away their personal information.
Tip 1: The example I’m using was sent using the name of HARP__Refinance. The use of underscores in a sender name should be an immediate giveaway that there’s something fishy with this one. The second issue is with the sender’s email address. A check of this email’s return address showed it to be from HARP___Refinance@civet.info. Obviously, this is not a legitimate organization.
The Zillow real estate website offers a frequently asked questions page for consumers and a warning to avoid this scam by following two simple rules, which brings us to tips 2 and 3.
Tip 2: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t fall for absurdly good promises.
Tip 3: Do not depend on the HARP logo. The problem is that anyone can use the logo until they get caught. Some of the current HARP emails will use the logo and some will not. Do not depend on a logo as a sign of validity.
If a HARP refinancing is something you’re interested in, ditch those spam emails—they’ll only bring you a virus, malware, or make you the victim of identity theft—and check out these guidelines from the Chamber of Commerce.