Would you fib while applying for a mortgage to get the home you want?
If you answered yes, you’re likely not alone — about one in 10 Canadians would do just that, suggests the results of a new Equifax Canada survey as mortgage fraud in the country climbs.
Some 13 per cent of survey respondents indicated telling “a little white lie” during the mortgage application process to get a desired home was alright, the credit agency found.
Equifax also discovered 16 per cent of the more than 1,500 survey respondents consider mortgage fraud to be a “victimless crime.”
Clearly some condone lying on a mortgage applications, and 8 per cent of those surveyed actually fessed up to misrepresenting facts on credit or loan applications.
At least they’re honest — and these responses may provide some insight into Equifax’s latest data on fraudulent mortgages, also published today.
Equifax suggests suspected fraudulent mortgage applications have soared 52 per cent since 2013.
“We’re certainly seeing more mortgage applications being flagged as suspicious by our reporting institutions,” said Tara Zecevic, Equifax Canada’s vice president of customer insight, in a statement.
The most commonly reported mortgage missteps suspected in Canada? Falsified account statements and falsified documents, says Equifax.
Instances of applications suspected of containing conflicting information followed in frequency.
Sixty-seven per cent of flagged mortgage applications came from Ontario making it the province with the highest share. BC had the second-highest share.
Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation says those who commit mortgage fraud will be on the hook for “any financial shortfall in the event of a default.”
They could even find themselves facing criminal charges, CMHC adds.
Equifax’s Zecevic doesn’t mince words, either. “Not only will it stretch your finances, it is in breach of your contractual obligations with the lender, and simply put, it’s against the law,” she said.