With so many people facing foreclosure these days, it’s a good idea to educate yourself about the types of scams that take advantage of folks who are having trouble paying their bills. Even if you are doing ok, perhaps you can help someone else by recognizing a scam.
The FTC lists the top 3 foreclosure scams to be aware of as the housing crisis deepens.
Top 3 Foreclosure Scams To Avoid
- The foreclosure prevention specialist: The “specialist” really is a phony counselor who charges outrageous fees in exchange for making a few phone calls or completing some paperwork that a homeowner could easily do for himself. None of the actions results in saving the home. This scam gives homeowners a false sense of hope, delays them from seeking qualified help, and exposes their personal financial information to a fraudster.
- The lease/buy back: Homeowners are deceived into signing over the deed to their home to a scam artist who tells them they will be able to remain in the house as a renter and eventually buy it back. Usually, the terms of this scheme are so demanding that the buy-back becomes impossible, the homeowner gets evicted, and the “rescuer” walks off with most or all of the equity.
- The bait-and-switch: Homeowners think they are signing documents to bring the mortgage current. Instead, they are signing over the deed to their home. Homeowners usually don’t know they’ve been scammed until they get an eviction notice.