Need Foreclosure Help? Don’t Look for it on Late Night TV!
Article by Abby Johnson
Home foreclosures are on the rise and so are the sneaky tactics of scam artists. There are many foreclosure rescue scams advertised on late night television and online. The old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it is” is sage advice these days.Types of ScamsThere are many variations of foreclosure scams, but they all have one thing in common: they leave you in worse shape than you started. Buyer beware of promises, guarantees, and offers for free help that sound too good to be true. They ARE too good to be true.
According to the Federal Trade Commission, foreclosure scams fall into several categories:
Phantom Help: The company promises that if you pay an upfront fee it will contact your lender and handle all the details for you, and then never does. Instead, they take off with your money leaving you in worse shape than when you started. In other scenarios, the scammer asks you to make mortgage payments to them directly while they supposedly “negotiate with the lender.” Instead, they collect your payments for a few months, and then disappear, leaving you even further behind with the lender.
The Bailout: The company offers to buy your home and rent it back to you until you can buy it back. The scam artist pockets your money while never dealing with your lender. You end up with no property and no roof over your head, or they offer to find you a buyer and share the profits, but only if you sign over your deed and move out. They then rent out the home, allow foreclosure to proceed, leaving you homeless and still responsible for the unpaid mortgage.
The Bait and Switch: The company may have you sign documents to make the mortgage current. Actually you are signing over your home.
Help Is AvailableNot all companies who charge a fee for mortgage help are scammers, but if you’re at risk of foreclosure, legitimate help is available. The moment you experience trouble making mortgage payments, contact your lender and try to negotiate a new repayment schedule.
There are other foreclosure prevention options available, including reinstatement and forbearance. They are explained in “Mortgage Payments Sending You Reeling? Here’s What to Do,” a publication from the FTC, which you can find at their website.
Another option is to contact a credit counselor through the Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit organization that operates the national 24/7 toll-free hotline (1.888.995.HOPE) with free, bilingual, personalized assistance to help at-risk homeowners avoid foreclosure. You can visit their website at hopenow.com for details.
MakingHomeAffordable.gov is another resource of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help homeowners in financial crisis.
About the Author
Abby Johnson is the real estate blogger at Express Homebuyers. Serving the Washington, DC, Metro area, they can help you sell your home fast if you need help avoiding foreclosure. Contact Express Homebuyers now or call them at 1-800-SELL-2-US (1-800-735-5287) to get on your way to a fresh start.(c) 2010 Abby Johnson