Unfortunately, when you are at your most vulnerable, that’s when you are most likely to fall prey to con artists.
In the real estate world, many of these criminals take advantage of people who are facing foreclosure.
Foreclosure and mortgage scam artists will promise to “save” your home; or get you a loan modification. They may even promise to lower your monthly mortgage payments—all for a hefty fee of course. What they do is cost you thousands of dollars—for nothing. Because in the end, you lose your home.
So if you are struggling to pay your mortgage, consult with experienced counsel, not random people who email or call you promising to get you a loan modification or save your home from foreclosure.
In particular, watch out for:
- Scammers Promising You a HAMP Modification. The Home Affordable Modification Program (“HAMP”) was a federal government loan modification program that expired on December 31, 2016. Scammers have been calling and emailing distressed homeowners claiming they have been approved for a HAMP modification and requesting payments be sent directly to them. Don’t fall for it. The HAMP program is closed.
- Loan Modification Programs That Want a Fee Up-front. Another favorite scam is so-called “loan modification” programs offered by companies and individuals—for an upfront fee. In most cases, charging you a fee in advance of a loan modification is illegal.
- Guaranteed Loan Modifications—Made By People Who Are Not Your Bank or Mortgage Holder. If you took a loan from a bank to buy your house, be aware of individuals or companies promising that they will “guarantee” you a loan modification. Only your mortgage company can grant you a loan modification. That means that no third-party can guarantee or pre-approve your mortgage modification application.
- Lease/Buy Back Scams. In this and other similar deed scams, scammers will deceive you into signing over the deed to your home. In the lease/buy back scheme, the “rescuer” will tell you to sign over your deed to him/her and will convince you that you can stay in the home as a renter and eventually will be able to buy your home back. Do not sign over your deed to anyone. Signing over your deed does not relieve you from the obligation to pay your mortgage. And in this lease/buy back scheme, the terms for the buy-back become impossible, ending with the homeowner getting evicted and the “rescuer” walking off with most or all of the equity in your home.
Foreclosure scams take advantage of another person’s pain and financial distress. If you are facing foreclosure, the best way to protect yourself is to consult with experienced real estate counsel immediately.
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If you need help with your real estate issues, contact us. We are experienced real estate attorneys in Georgia. Our practice focuses only on real estate issues and litigation. We practice in one area of law, and we do it extremely well. To schedule your free phone consultation, call us at: 770-888-7707.