Sulphur couple out thousands of dollars after mortgage scam
Lake Charles, LA (KPLC) - A Sulphur couple is out thousands of dollars after falling victim to a mortgage scam.
“We can’t afford to go anywhere,” Mary Gutowski said. “Right now, not even groceries, and then people are going to scam us out of what little money we have.”
Mary and Dean Gutowski are till trying to financially recover from Hurricane Laura, and were knocked off their feet again after they fell victim to a scam.
“The girl at the mortgage company said, ‘no ma’am. We have no record of payment’,” Gutowski said.
Gutowski said they were in process of modifying their mortgage loan, when they were contacted by a scammer posing as an employee for their loan provider.
“He said he was a representative of them, and he would be our loan manager from now on and handle all phone calls,” Gutowski said. “Everything will go through him.”
Gutowski said the man knew all of their information, which made them believe he was legitimate.
She said the man told them they needed to set up a payment plan, in which they would expedite money orders overnight to an address he gave them.
“While the police officer was here, he looked up one of the addresses of where the payment had been sent to,” Gutowski said. “It was a vacant house in Ohio.”
The Gutowski’s were unaware of any wrong doing until last Friday, when their loan provider contacted them about foreclosing on their home.
They contacted the scammer, who said the company was just late on processing the payments. That was the last time they were able to get ahold of him.
“So, when they contact you, they basically start off the conversation by phishing, and once they start getting that information, then they start getting you to maybe make a payment,” Angela Guth said.
Guth with the Better Business Bureau said its best to verify who you are speaking with before moving forward with the conversation.
“When you hang up with them, ask them for their contact number,” Guth said. “Then research that company online and find out if there is a match, if there is any actual employee, if that phone number matches up to their actual business.”
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