Foreclosure rescue scams are everywhere online. Just because you found it on the Internet doesn't mean it is a real business, much less a company that will help you or save your home from foreclosure. If the web site makes you raise an eyebrow or look sideways, pay attention to your gut reaction. Your instincts are trying to tell you that you're reading a fraudulent foreclosure rescue site.
How Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Scams Victims
They may call themselves foreclosure protection specialists or foreclosure counselors, but they are wolves in sheep's clothing. Regardless of how sympathetic or empathetic they may appear, their sole objective is to wrestle title away from you.
They will ask you to sign a property deed such as a warranty deed, grant deed or quitclaim deed, making all sorts of promises that are impossible to fulfill. They may even tell you that they know secrets and ways to stop foreclosure that your lender will not tell you or that they will lend you money when nobody else will. Believe me, the lender does not want to foreclose on you and, moreover, nobody will lend you money without ulterior motives.
You have the power to avoid foreclosure yourself. You do not need a third party to assist you.
Signs of a Foreclosure Rescue Scam
Here are some of the ways scam artists will claim to help you after a Notice of Default has been filed. Any one of these should send up a red flag:
- The company will make up your back payments to the lender.
There are no charities that bail out troubled home owners from foreclosure by sending your lender money out of the goodness of their hearts.
- You can refinance or take out another mortgage to pay off your existing lender.
If your existing lender will not let you borrow money to reinstate your loan, no other reputable lender will lend you money when you are in default. Some loan sharks might offer to make you a loan but will then foreclose on you themselves.
- You may stay in the property as a tenant and reclaim title later.
No company is going to let you buy back the home after you have deeded away your interest. You have the right to retain possession of your home until the foreclosure is completed, which could take anywhere from three and half months to a year, depending on where you live.
- If you pay an upfront fee, they will stop foreclosure for you.
There is no guarantee that anybody can stop foreclosure for you. You have the means to work out options with the lender and are in a better position to do so than any third party.
- If you make payments to the foreclosure rescue company, they will work out an arrangement with your lender to let you stay in the home.
There is no magical cure for foreclosure. Lenders will discuss options with you, and you can choose the option that best fits your circumstances.
- Promises that signing a deed or contract which transfers title is only temporary.
All deeds are final. Even if the deed is not recorded in the public records, if you have signed and notarized the deed, you have transferred title and you no longer own the house. However, you may very well still be responsible for the mortgage.
How to Report Foreclosure Rescue Scams
Report these unscrupulous companies to the Attorney General's office, the state licensing department for real estate, your local District Attorney's office for Consumer Fraud and / or the FBI. The FBI vigorously pursues mortgage fraud.
At the time of writing, Elizabeth Weintraub, DRE # 00697006, is a Broker-Associate at Lyon Real Estate in Sacramento, California.