Ryan’s Mortgage Blog:
Scammers are on the rise again. Actually, they probably never really go away, they just find new people to pray on. The new scam is taking advantage of people who are going into foreclosure. I’ve summarized an article I read on CNNmoney.com by Les Christie.
There are multiple scams taking place where companies claim they will help you get out of foreclosure. Example…For a $1,200 payment, company FAS claimed it would handle everything (regarding foreclosure); including calls to the lender, but an angry customer charges FAS did nothing.
“Then they stopped answering my calls. I would leave a message every day,” the customer said. “One day, they told me, ‘We’re dropping your case’ and hung up on me.”
A client of Jessica Attie, of South Brooklyn Legal Services, said a scam artist convinced her client to sign over her title while he cleared up the debts. She could rent the home for six months, and then he would sell it back to her. Instead, according to Attie, the scammer resold the house and absconded with more than $400,000. Basically, the scammer promises to save the home by taking title, renting it to the owner and selling it back later. Instead, they strip the equity by charging excessive fees, doing phony renovations and not making the mortgage payments.
Here are some of the tactics that scammers are known to use:
– They learn of mortgage delinquencies through published reports and proceed to bombard the owners with phone calls, flyers and posters.
– Scammers build trust by acting sympathetic and solicitous.
– Scammers assure victims that they’ll handle everything. They tell them not to call their lenders nor seek legal advice.
– Scammers have homeowners sign blank papers and fill them in afterward or they sneak the paperwork through without telling victims what they’re signing.
– Especially among minorities and sometimes evangelical church congregations, a scammer builds trust based on a common ethnicity or religion.
The article goes on to say you should never trust anyone who has contacted you, unsolicited, offering to help. The problem I have with that statement is I get these same “lists” the scammers have because they are available to the public and in my business these could be potential customers. So when I have free time, sometimes I make calls, unsolicited, to see if people could use my services. I try and help them get back on their feet….No I don’t charge an upfront fee, or any fees for the matter…unless they end up getting a loan through us, then they would be charged the standard fees. I am honestly trying to gain their business by offering my services in hopes to gain a customer now or in the future. My point is not everyone calling your home is a scammer, but you do need to be cautious. I hate making these calls because I know myself that I am hesitant to trust a stranger. So I suggest doing your research if they have something good to say. Get their company name…look them up, check them out on the Better Business Bureau.
For those going into foreclosure, the best thing to do is to call your lender and try to work out a plan. If in doubt, get in touch with your state attorney general’s office. It can put you in touch with a Housing and Urban Development-approved free credit counseling service that will do you a lot more good than fee-based rescue services.
In unrelated news: Football season is here!!! I have drafted two fantasy football teams, and I have two more to go. Yes, I am addicted! Go 49ers! Maybe waiting on Alex Smith will finally pay off this year.
For any Mortgage or Football related questions feel free to contact me at 805-540-0866 or rbaker@PeregrineLending.com.