Interthinx, a subsidiary of First American Financial Corporation (NYSE: FAF) and a leading provider of comprehensive risk mitigation solutions for the financial services industry, has released its annual interactive Mortgage Fraud Risk Report , which includes data collected in 2013 from loan applications processed by the Interthinx FraudGUARD ® system.
According to the report, the 2013 Annual Mortgage Fraud Risk Index value was 104, a 4 percent increase from 2012. This continues the gradually rising trend in fraud risk observed over the past three years as inventories shrink, prices rise and markets stabilize.
Nationally, the occupancy fraud risk index was up 24 percent with an index of 135. This increase was likely due to changes associated with a more purchase-driven market (32 percent of all loans in 2012 versus 49 percent in 2013) and continued investor interest in real estate acquisitions. According to the report, Greeley, Colorado was the riskiest Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) for occupancy fraud risk with an index of 227.
Other notable findings in the report include:
- For the second year in a row, the District of Columbia ranked first in the top 10 list of states with a Mortgage Fraud Risk Index of 142. California moved from No. 6 to No. 2 with an index of 141, a gain of 12 percent from 2012. Nevada, regularly included in the top 10, fell from second place last year to No. 4 in 2013 with an index of 116. The top 10 riskiest states also included Illinois, Florida, Alaska, Hawaii, Colorado, Maryland and New Jersey.
- The least risky state in 2013 was Maine with an index of 55. Mississippi, South Dakota, Nebraska, Wyoming, North Dakota, West Virginia, Vermont, Iowa, and Kansas were also included in the top 10 least risky states.
- While the geographic distribution of fraud risk was more dispersed in 2012 than it was in 2013, California held an unusually intense concentration of risks: California claimed the riskiest MSA (Salinas); nine of the top 10 riskiest MSAs; 18 of the 25 riskiest ZIP codes; five of the 10 riskiest MSAs for identity fraud; seven of the 10 riskiest MSAs for occupancy fraud; and eight of the 10 riskiest MSAs for income/employment fraud.