These foreclosure con artists use people who are dire financial straits. They know these people are desperate and are grasping at straws for answers to their foreclosure situation. People to target for these scams are not hard to seek out as mortgage lenders publish notices before foreclosing on homes. These con artists read these notices then contact their victims quite often even in person but more commonly by mail, phone or by email. They even go so far as to advertise their services on web sites. They make themselves sound official by giving them impressive titles like “foreclosure consultant” or “mortgage consultant.” They may call their services “foreclosure service or “foreclosure rescue agency.”
If you are facing foreclosure, contact your mortgage lender or any legitimate financial counselor to help you find legitimate options to avoid foreclosure. It is imperative that you carefully check the credentials, reputation and experience of anyone offering to arrange to stop or delay your foreclosure for a fee. The following recommendations can help protect you:
WATCH OUT FOR THESE FORECLOSURE RESCUE SCAMS
Lease-Back or Repurchase Scams – Someone offers to pay off your mortgage and rent you residence back to you. This usually involved signing over the deed of your home to the individual. This will give the person the ability to evict you, raise the rent, sell the house or steal your equity. You are still responsible for the mortgage so if the individual doesn’t make the payment, your house still gets foreclosed on and you face the legal consequences.
Refinance Fraud – Someone acts as a mortgage broker or lender and offers to refinance your loan to a lower payment. They make you believe you are signing the documents for a new loan when in actuality you are signing over the ownership of your home. This opens you up to the situation as above.
Bankruptcy Schemes – Several scams try to abuse the bankruptcy laws. These are complicated schemes, so it is important to always thoroughly investigate anyone offering to help you with your bankruptcy. Anytime someone wants you to sign over ownership of your home, be very cautious.
HOW TO PROTECT YOURSELF FROM SCAMS
Always know what you are signing – It is important that you thoroughly read and understand what you are signing. Obtain advice if a document is too complex. Do not sign anything with blank spaces, errors or incorrect information even if someone promises to fix things later.
Get everything in writing - Verbal agreements are usually not legally binding. It is important that you get any promises or agreements in writing to protect yourself. Be sure to keep copies of anything you sign.
Make your mortgage payments directly to your lender or the mortgage servicer - Do not trust anyone else to make mortgage payments for you.
Be cautious about signing over your deed – Scams quite often require you to sign over your deed. Always get the advice of a lawyer or financial advisor before doing so. You do not want to lose your rights to your residence and any equity that you may have.
Report any suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission and to your state and local consumer protection agencies – This helps to prevent others from becoming victims.
HOW DO I FIND LEGITIMATE HELP FOR YOUR FINANCIAL PROBLEMS
Contact your lender as soon as you think you are unable to make your mortgage payment.
Contact a legitimate housing or financial counselor to help you work through your financial problems.