Christina Blanco and her husband, Roger Gonzalez, were having lunch at their Lake Worth home recently.
While eating, Blanco, 32, saw a man, late 20s, early 30s, approaching their N. D St. home they’ve shared for two years and taking pictures of their place on his cell phone.
Gonzalez, 31, went to the door and asked theman, who was wearing an ID card around his neck, what he was doing.
He told Gonzalez, an audio engineer, he was hired by mortgage company Ditech Inc.
“Why? We’ve never been late on our mortgage,” Gonzalez told the guy. “I don’t understand, if you saw the blinds were open, why didn’t you just knock on the door?”
He said he was told not to do that.
Gonzalez said he called Ditech immediately to confirm his story and said he was told the mortgage is current and they didn’t send anyone to take pictures of their home.
So, the couple called the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office.
Sheriff’s Office Deputy Dave German arrived about 1:30 p.m., and spoke with the couple.
“He told us the same individual had been seen at other houses,” Blanco said. “He thinks this gentleman was hired by a third-party lending company because they reach out to different mortgage companies and offer to buy their mortgages. They ran the guy’s tags and there was a clean record.”
According to Tracie Leigh Copeland, owner of Copeland & Co. Real Estate in West Palm Beach, the practice does happen in Palm Beach County.
“It’s more common during foreclosures or short sales,” Copeland said. “I’m not really sure why their lender would need a photo unless they are in default and the lender would need to list it.”
Bill Davis, owner at Private Funding Specialists, a West Palm Beach company, said the only companies that would take pictures of someone’s home are real estate appraisers.
“If somebody applied for a mortgage or a loan, a real estate appraiser would go out and take picture of the home, but I’m not aware of someone from a mortgage company driving by and doing it,” Davis said.
Blanco said she also posted the incident on “Lake Worth Local,” a popular Facebook page.
“A lot of people on Facebook said this has happened to them and that it had something to do with their mortgages being purchased,” said Blanco, a recruiter for a hospitality group. “The guy didn’t seem shady, but he had a beat-up car so you never know.”