Unfortunately, there are people who often take the opportunity to take advantage of those who are already feeling hopeless and distraught and who lack the knowledge to find a way out of the difficult situation they are in. Many people facing foreclosure believe that they have no options and will hold on to any glimmer of hope offered, even when it comes with many red flags. Distressed homeowners make for very easy prey, and with such a large portion of the population in foreclosure, it has been very easy for criminals to find them.
There is no type when it comes to the foreclosure criminal; even attorneys have been found to participate in cheating victims of foreclosure. The best way to prevent foreclosure fraud is to be weary of anyone offering help, even if this person is a professional.
If you are a homeowner looking for legitimate help with your foreclosure, avoid any business that:
- Promises to stop the foreclosure process. No matter the circumstances, no one can provide an absolute guarantee that your foreclosure will be stopped and that you will be able to keep your home. As experienced foreclosure attorneys, we can provide solutions, alternatives and an action plan, but we can’t promise to save your home.
- Instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, or counselor. There is no reason you should not be able to communicate with these parties, unless the foreclosure solution being offered is not a scam. Once we are hired, we will communicate directly with your lender on your behalf, but you will never be told not to contact them directly.
- Accepts payment only by cashier’s check or wire transfer. If it seems suspect, trust your instincts. A trustworthy entity won’t mind payment documentation.
- Encourages you to lease your home, so that you can buy it back over time. The scammer will typically have you sign papers and will become the owner of your home, along with any equity you had.
- Recommends that you make your mortgage payments to them versus your mortgage lender. Never trust your mortgage to anyone other than your mortgage lender.
- Urges you your to transfer your property deed or title to it. Never sign over any property to anyone.
- Urges you to sign papers that you have not had a chance to read thoroughly or that you don’t understand. Never sign any documents that you have not read thoroughly. If you have any doubts, you should have an attorney review the documentation before signing. Additionally, never sign any blank documents. Always be sure to get copies of anything you sign.
- Sounds too good to be true. If a business is offering you a solution that sounds too good to be true, most likely it isn’t. Trust your instincts. There are absolutely no quick and easy fixes to foreclosure.
Alternatives to foreclosure include: loan modification, dead in lieu, and short sale. We understand that dealing with foreclosure is scary, but there are solutions. Before you throw in the towel or fall for a scam that seems promising, meet with several foreclosure attorneys. A foreclosure attorney will be happy to offer a free consultation in which a course of action can be outlined.