Foreclosure Rescue Fraud
These con artists convince desperate homeowners that they can save a house from foreclosure if the homeowner deeds the property to them and pays an exorbitant fee up front.
Hello. I’m a special agent with the FBI. And this is A Mortgage Minute for the Average Joe. Today’s topic—foreclosure rescue scams.
If you’re facing foreclosure or are already going through one, make sure you don’t fall prey to dishonest foreclosure specialists. These con artists convince desperate homeowners that they can save a house from foreclosure if the homeowner deeds the property to them and pays an exorbitant fee up front.
The homeowner is promised that they can stay in the home, make rent payments for a specified period of time and then eventually buy the home back. In many cases, these rent payments— which are supposed to be forwarded to the mortgage company—are never sent. Instead, the specialist keeps all the money, the home continues through the foreclosure process, and you end up getting evicted from your home.
In some cases, the specialist may refinance the loan or take out a second mortgage on the home, effectively stripping away any equity that was left. Or, they may sell the home without your knowledge to another unsuspecting party. Either way, you lose whatever money you had and the home.
To protect yourself, don’t transfer the title to your property unless you’ve consulted with an attorney or your mortgage lender.
Don’t sign any contract without taking the time to review it. If you don’t understand the terms of the contract, don’t sign it. If a housing counselor is offering to help you, check them out with the Better Business Bureau first.
Finally, you can find a list of counseling agencies approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development on its website at www.hud.gov.
If you are aware of a foreclosure rescue scheme in your area, you are encouraged to contact your local FBI office and report it.
This segment of A Mortgage Minute for the Average Joe has been brought to you by the FBI.