Interthinx risk index shows occupancy fraud rose 25% in 1Q
More borrowers are lying on their mortgage applications, claiming to reside in homes that are truly functioning as investment properties, according to the latest Mortgage Fraud Risk Report from Interthinx, a Verisk Analytics (VRSK) subsidiary. The Agoura Hills, Calif.-based data firm said its occupancy fraud risk index, which measures the number of incidents of investors misrepresenting occupancy, rose 25% in the first quarter. In addition, five metropolitan statistical areas experienced increases of more than 70% over last year in their employment-fraud risk index, which measures how many applicants lie or overstate employment and income data. "The increase in overall mortgage fraud risk in the least risky states was driven by large increases in the occupancy and employment/income fraud risk indices, which are up, on average, by 35% and 31% respectively," according to Interthinx. Nevada is the most at risk for mortgage fraud, followed by Arizona, Florida and Hawaii. California, which currently has five of the top 10 risky metro areas for mortgage fraud, slipped to fifth place in the first quarter. Write to Kerri Panchuk.