BluefoxToday blog : Mortgage foreclosure scam guard

Mortgage foreclosure scam guard

Be prepared. The scam artists are on the move. The inevitable byproduct of any market distress is the introduction of them to further complicate the already confusing situation. According to the FBI foreclosure fraud numbers are as high as they have ever been, having received 35,000 reports last year that adds up to almost $1 billion. The key is to be able to identify the foreclosure rescue scams and steer clear of them. Here are some pointers.

Equity skimming is one of the more widespread tricks. In it the homeowner would temporarily convey ownership of the property to the shady operators while they supposedly consult with the lender and he tries to get his financial affairs in order. The homeowner is now paying rent to them, but instead of negotiating with the bank, they are busy using the bogus ownership to place another loan on the house and suck its remaining equity out. At the end the scammers keep the rent money and whatever equity was there and they are gone forever, leaving the homeowner several steps closer to a foreclosure because the rent was not forwarded to cover the loan payments.

A mortgage counseling service may sound very appealing to a worried consumer, especially when it promises to bargain with the lender on his behalf, but it wants an upfront fee to do so. It's the upfront fee request that should trigger the alarm bells. There are some reliable businesses he could turn to, but to get this type of assistance should cost nothing. The best way to handle a possible foreclosure issue is to contact the lender directly. Or to find a free service, HUD provides a list of approved housing counselors.

Basically, the best practice is to not sign a quit-claim deed to assign the property rights to a third party, unless an attorney or a HUD-approved housing counselor gives his consent. Authorizing a counseling company to represent the homeowner in order to stop foreclosure at once is generally a bad idea. Also, hiring a third party to handle mortgage payments while it promises to handle a looming foreclosure often leads to pilfered payments and a bankruptcy filing that will not stop foreclosure, merely delay it.

All in all, never sign a piece of paper that is not fully understood and always seek legal counsel when in doubt.  




Provided by: 

Esko Kiuru
Mortgage, real estate and apartment industry analyst - syndicated mortgage, housing and property management blog
My cell: 702-499-1006

Comment balloon 6 commentsEsko Kiuru • December 19 2007 12:16PM


Esko,   Never ceases to amaze me at how low some of these folks will go to prey on the folks having trouble like this !  May there be a special place in hell !
Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) almost 13 years ago


It's really sad to see it happen, time and again.

Posted by Esko Kiuru almost 13 years ago
Esko, As a consumer all these scams I read about are difficult to really need someone completely knowledable to handle everything for you who is an expert in their field!
Posted by Laura Cerrano, Certified Feng Shui Expert, Speaker & Researcher (Feng Shui Manhattan Long Island) almost 13 years ago
Esko, this is why people should do business with Lenders that they are familiar with, and stay away from those they don't, especially the internet ones.
Posted by George Souto, Your Connecticut Mortgage Expert (George Souto NMLS #65149 FHA, CHFA, VA Mortgages) almost 13 years ago


For the homeowner it's important to stay away from anything that sounds too easy. Too quick.

Posted by Esko Kiuru almost 13 years ago


It's paramount to deal with professionals who you can trust.

Posted by Esko Kiuru almost 13 years ago