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Chameleon-like Criminals Are Stealing Appraisers Identities With Little Risk

In the David Jackson article, Crooked appraisers fuel scams: Stolen identities used in mortgage swindles [Chicago Tribune] [1] he reports of a loose network of appraisers who steal the identities of honest appraisers and sign off on millions of dollars of fraudulent appraisals.

It used to be that an appraiser’s identity might have been stolen and used hundreds of times. Now with many of the appraiser databases on the internet and their license numbers in the public domain, its not that hard to assume an identity, especially in a mortgage environment where much less attention is paid to underwriting than in years past.

On top of this, there is virtually no enforcement. This article indicates that the State of Illinois had one appraiser on staff and he recently retired. Most states have no more than a few staff members to handle thousands of complaints.

There are many appraisers have not only their license # on their business card, email signatures and stationary but scanned images of their license on their web site. Take a look! [Google] [2]