Putting Your Licence in Your Appraisals?
Why I refuse to put a full size copy of my appraisal license in reports
This story appeared in the Columbus Dispatch, Columbus, Ohio on Jan. 14, 2012. I have ‘clipped’ excerpts:
Durk Reese’s efforts to launch an appraisal business were nearly destroyed when his name was used without his knowledge on inflated appraisals as part of a mortgage-fraud scheme. Mark Harmon is still trying to recover from the damage to his reputation after his name was used in the scam two years ago. Both were victims of identity theft committed by Daniel J. Nichter, a former Franklin County development director and Hilliard city councilman.
Reese and Harmon told a Franklin County judge yesterday that they were blackballed in the real-estate industry when their names were linked to the questionable appraisals. “I know I lost thousands of dollars” in business, Harmon said. “It could be hundreds of thousands.” Nichter, who pleaded guilty in November to three counts of identity theft, delivered brief, unemotional apologies in court to both men yesterday. “I’m very, very sorry for my actions,” he said. Common Pleas Judge Kimberly Cocroft sentenced him to four years in prison, accepting a recommendation from the prosecution and defense through a plea agreement that dismissed 45 other counts. “It’s going to be difficult for these men to undo the damage you’ve done,” she told him before deputy sheriffs took him to jail.
Folks, the ‘copy of license’ nonsense gained traction when so many AMC’s started taking over the “management”
of appraisers. Especially with the smaller AMC’s and the smaller lenders they serve. The largest AMC’s in this nation DO NOT mandate that your full size license be included in reports. Your local lender clients also do not expect this since they should already have you (and your license) in their records.
It started, and has continued, due to laziness on the part of lenders, smaller AMC’s and frankly, appraisers… who don’t realize how dangerous this practice is. It opens you to identity theft.
Instead of verifying that you are really you on the various federal and state web sites, they succumb to the quick and silly presumption that the license image is all they need. Unfortunately, many appraisers think that this is ‘required’ when it really is not, or that they are providing a worthwhile service to lenders.
Any 12 year old kid with computer knowledge can take your license copy and alter it very easily. If a kid can do it, so can adults … and they do.
Some will think I’m being overly dramatic. Try this: next time you get such a request, call the AMC and ask that the driver’s license of the owner and the business license be faxed or e-mailed to you. After all, you need to verify who you are dealing with. Then stop talking… and listen for the back peddling and tongue swallowing to begin.
You will not lose business if you JUST SAY NO to putting a full size copy of your license in reports.