true tales from the credit union - at my door

By: Susan Goree

December 11th, 2020

Recently, a member called with a mortgage question and I felt our discussion may be helpful to other members who have closed mortgages with MidWest America. When we close a 1st mortgage, other companies use the basic public information of the loan and try to send mail offers for life insurance coverage on the mortgage loan (see Fraud Blog – Part 4 for more details).  They use our name and/or logo to make it appear to the member that it is something WE are offering.             

Well, the member I spoke with had just closed a mortgage with us recently and had an unexpected visitor come to her door! She let me know that a woman showed up at her door at 7:30 pm at night and said she was there to discuss life insurance for the mortgage she just closed with MidWest America. Our member talked to her for a minute and then asked her, “Are you from MidWest America?” The lady instantly pulled out the public documents my members had signed at closing and asked, “This is your signature, right?” Apparently, the woman was prepared for that question.  My member answered yes and assumed she was from the Credit Union since she had the paperwork from closing.  Our member shared that her husband wasn’t home and she would need to talk to him. The visitor then made a future appointment with our member to return and discuss the life insurance with both of them. When she called me to question what happened the prior evening, I assured our member that we will not show up randomly at your door to sell insurance and explained that the information the woman presented was only documentation that is made public at mortgage closing. 

While this type of sales attempt may appear legitimate, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has some great tips for protecting yourself from any type of door-to-door scammers:

  • Don’t let anyone come into your home unless you have a prescheduled appointment. You have the right to refuse to open your own door.
  • Don’t pay cash to anyone who comes to your home claiming to be with a utility company or other service provider.
  • Confirm any special offers with your service provider — using the number on your bill or their website. Also, be suspicious of a promotional flyer offering service from multiple providers. Competitors don’t typically advertise together.

In addition to selling you products that may not exist or be as good as claimed, door-to-door “salesmen” have been known to offer to make repairs to your home if you pay upfront, attempt to reconnect your utilities for a fee, or threaten to disconnect your utilities unless you pay right then. There are some legitimate businesses out there that come door-to-door to sell things, but remember that not all are. Keep yourself safe and if you’re ever in question about who’s at the door, don’t open it. A legitimate business will leave a flyer and let you call them back at your convenience. Thankfully, our member quickly called to verify prior to signing up for any type of coverage.