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Research has shown that the more times people can get you to say yes, the more likely you will continue to say yes. If they are trying to persuade you to do something you wouldn't ordinarily do, these favors will become bigger.
Authority: I recommend questioning the motives of people who are constantly reminding you how long they've been in the business. People can use this to imply that they have authority over you. Ordinarily, we are inclined to follow and to comply with the requests of authority figures.
Personal connection: Making a connection with people can sometimes make us trust them more. For instance, research shows that we are more likely to be influenced by people we feel are attractive.
We also tend to trust people who we believe are similar to us. The leader of the group with which I worked used to call me frequently just to chat and compare favorite restaurants, which were the same.
Compliments can also be deceiving. Studies show that we are much more likely to do favors for someone who gives us praise, even when we know that the person stands to gain something from giving us the compliment.
For example, after most closings, the group's leader would make a special effort to thank me for a job well-done. Sometimes, his accolades would be accompanied by a couple hundred dollars.
Convenience and distraction: You often can feel bogged down in your task-intensive jobs in this fast-paced industry. Spreading yourself too thin can make you vulnerable to scammers. Criminals often look to recruit or to use mortgage-industry professionals who are extremely busy.
Be wary of borrowers who seem a little too knowledgeable of the loan process. Watch out for borrowers who swoop in at just the right time to carry their own verification-of-employment form to their employer or their verification-of-deposit form to their bank.
Sit down for 10 minutes and read your company's or your association's code of ethics. If your company doesn't have one, champion the movement to get one, or join your local or state mortgage association.
If you feel you are already involved with or being used by scam artists, I urge you to disengage. It's never too late to get out. They need you for their scheme to work. And resist the urge to close that "one last loan."
Save your company the financial loss. Save your career, your reputation, your family and your sense of self-worth. Or get a hold of me and I'll tell you about the devastating consequences.
Jerome Mayne is founder and president of Fraudcon Inc., a fraud-deterrent company, and author of the book Life Saving Lessons: The Diary of a White-Collar Criminal. He is also an ex-mortgage felon. Today, he speaks and trains real estate and mortgage associations, as well as Fortune 500 companies across the country about the true consequences of fraud. Visit www.fraudcon.com for more information.
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