Foreclosure Scams

This is truly one of the most nefarious examples of how scammers will stoop to nothing to target the most vulnerable among us.

If you’re facing foreclosure, it’s safe to say you’re in difficult financial straits and desperate for assistance. That makes you particularly susceptible to any offer of assistance.

The following are some of the more common tactics scammers use to prey upon distressed homeowners.

The fraudsters may operate an official-looking business. They watch and wait for upcoming foreclosures. These may be one at a time, or in the event of a local or national crisis, they may come in a wave. In either case, they descend upon the frightened homeowners and present them with a golden offer. In exchange for a retainer of a few thousand dollars, plus perhaps an additional monthly fee, their financial services professionals would restructure or refinance the victim’s mortgage. After receiving the money, they would either disappear, or else wait an appropriate length of time before sending an official reply that their case was unfixable. So sorry.

Not sorry enough to return the money, of course. Not even to stop the monthly membership payments. The fine print makes sure it’s all non-refundable, and you get victimized multiple times. You still lose you house, since they never did anything to help you. You lose the thousands of dollars that they scammed from you, plus potentially the monthly fee until you manage to cancel it. And, of course, you didn’t do anything to help yourself while the liars were pretending to, since presumably there were professionals on the case. So who knows what might have been salvaged if they had never come into your life? Add to that the emotional stress, legal fees, and everything else, and it adds up to a truly serious criminal endeavor.

Another strategy takes the scam to another level, cheating the government, the courts, and the bank in addition to you. The criminals approach you and offer to prevent your foreclosure if you sign over to them a fractional interest in your home, like 1 percent or one eighth. You pay them a bunch of money every month that the home isn’t foreclosed, and in exchange they delay the inevitable by filing one bankruptcy after another through shell companies on the basis of the bit of ownership you paid them to take. Eventually it all comes crashing down, and you’re left to pick up the pieces, minus your home.

Other versions of the scam involve signing over the whole house to the scammer and agreeing to rent it from them as a way of slowly buying it back. Once they are in control, however, they can either keep raising the rent until you’re forced to move out, or else use the fine print to make buying your home back essentially impossible.

On the other side of foreclosure fraud, you have criminals who take advantage of areas containing lots of unoccupied foreclosed properties. They forge documents to make themselves appear to own them, then hire property managers and find rental tenants. The scammers collect the rent but don’t pay the property managers. Eventually, the authorities catch on, but the con man is long gone. The renters end up evicted and the property managers never get paid.

If you think you’ve been the victim of a foreclosure scam, contact the fund recovery experts at MyChargeBack.