Friday, April 27, 2018
Did Dupaco really mail that to you?
If you’ve received a postcard or letter concerning your mortgage lately, the sender might not be who you think it is.
Several Dupaco Community Credit Union members, including credit union employees, have recently received postcards alerting them to “an important matter” concerning their Dupaco mortgage. Recipients are encouraged to call a toll-free number regarding the “time-sensitive” issue.
Here’s the catch: The mailing did not come from Dupaco—nor was the mortgage information provided by your credit union.
The postcard states:
You have recently closed on this mortgage with DUPACO COMMUNITY CU. We need you to please call us about an important matter regarding this loan. This is time sensitive so please call us at … as soon as possible.
The letter also includes a mortgage ID number, looking extra official. But when you read the fine print, inconspicuously located at the bottom of the mailing, you learn that the information was provided by Mortgage Protection Services, not your credit union.
“By putting Dupaco in big black letters, people might not realize the card is coming from another company,” said Pat Slattery, vice president of compliance at Dupaco. “They’re vague about everything, because they want a shot to sell you their mortgage insurance.”
Slattery received his postcard last week, even though his mortgage is five years old.
“Dupaco is not endorsing this company in any way, shape or form,” he said. “And Dupaco offers our own Payment Protection for loans.”
If you call the number
The number provided on the postcard connects you with a company that calls itself Mortgage Protection Services.
An automated recording prompts you to provide the mortgage ID number listed on your mailing. Through computerized prompts, you’re told where your mortgage is held and when it was filed. The message states that records show you were never offered mortgage payoff protection when you closed on your mortgage.
“Dupaco does provide this, but they would have no way of knowing whether you were offered it,” Slattery said. “It’s a sales tactic.”
The message then prompts you to provide information about yourself.
How the company got your information
Mortgages are public record, so the company is simply searching recorded mortgages and targeting those homeowners to solicit their product, according to Slattery.
“It’s the shotgun approach,” he said. “Throw a bunch out there, and maybe they’ll sell some product.”
This isn’t the first time Mortgage Protection Services has done this. In addition to several negative online reviews, there is a cease and desist order in Massachusetts for the same company using the same sales tactic.
What you can do
It’s important to remember how Dupaco will communicate with you.
Your credit union uses a variety of ways to communicate directly with members, including U.S. mail, phone, email, messages within Shine Online Banking and more. But Dupaco does not send you private information on a postcard.
“That’s not something you do from the credit union’s perspective,” Slattery said.
When in doubt, call Dupaco directly.
Want to take further action? If you’ve received one of these postcards—or other mailings made to look like they came from your credit union—you can file a complaint with the Iowa Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division.
By Emily Kittle