With mortgage fraud through the broker channel on the rise, an Equifax fraud expert says the initial interview with a client is the best time to uncover fraudsters.
Speaking at the Pepper Insights Roadshow in Sydney last week, Equifax BDM Steve Arsinoski told brokers about the detrimental impact fraudsters can have on their business and suggested how they could avoid reputational damage and loss of accreditation.
“There are people out there trying to take advantage of the situation that makes your job harder,” Mr Arsinoski said.
“I believe the biggest impact on brokers is the loss of credibility with the lender, with the originator and with the public in general. I have spoken to many brokers and they all say the same thing: reputation and their brand is the most important thing.”
Mr Arsinoksi said the “best opportunity” to uncover fraudsters is during the face-to-face interview, when a broker is doing a thorough needs analysis of their client and verifying their information.
“What I have found and what my experience has taught me is if you ask enough questions, fraudsters are like origami – they will fold under pressure. If something doesn’t smell right, use your intuition and ask questions,” he said.
“Validate their information via internet searches and Facebook. When you’re interviewing someone, have your computer in front of you and validate their information on the spot.”
Equifax data found that online is the preferred channel for fraudsters (57 per cent), while 15 per cent of fraud cases are coming through the broker channel and 13 per cent through branches.
“Thirteen per cent of frauds reported were targeting home loans and there has been a 25 per cent year-on-year increase in frauds originating from the broker channel,” Mr Arsinoski said.
“What we have noticed is that fraud through the broker channel is increasing, and that may be because fraudsters are becoming more sophisticated in the way they are applying for certain products. With the technology they have available they can fabricate certain documentation,” he said.
Equifax data found that 27 per cent of all mortgage fraud cases involved falsifying personal details.
James Mitchell has over eight years’ experience as a financial reporter and is the editor of Wealth and Wellness at Momentum Media.
He has a sound pedigree to cover the business of mortgages and the converging financial services sector having reported for leading finance titles InvestorDaily, InvestorWeekly, Accountants Daily, ifa, Mortgage Business, Residential Property Manager, Real Estate Business, SMSF Adviser, Smart Property Investment, and The Adviser.
He has also been published in The Daily Telegraph and contributed online to FST Media and Mergermarket, part of the Financial Times Group.
James holds a BA (Hons) in English Literature and an MA in Journalism.
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