FORECLOSURE SCAMS UP 60 PERCENT
WASHINGTON (Realtor.org) – Struggling homeowners continue to be a favorite target for scammers.
According to the National Association of Realtors, mortgage foreclosure scams have risen nearly 60 percent this year.
Scammers are increasingly passing themselves off as Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) counselors and using federal programs such as HARP and HAMP to trick homeowners.
“Most of these scams involve individuals supposedly offering mortgage foreclosure avoidance assistance that trained HPF counselors provide at no cost,” said Colleen Hernandez, CEO of HPF, a nonprofit group that helps homeowners avoid foreclosure. “Sadly, with most scams, no meaningful services are ever provided.”
Fortunately, there are clues homeowners can look for that may suggest a company or person is less than trustworthy. For example, the company/person:
Asks for a fee in advance to work with the homeowner’s lender to modify, refinance or reinstate a mortgage.
Guarantees they can stop a foreclosure or get the loan modified.
Advises the homeowner to stop paying the mortgage company and start paying them instead.
Pressures the homeowner to sign over the title to their home.
But if homeowners want to be absolutely sure they are dealing with a trained HPF counselor, Hernandez said they should call HPF directly at 888-995-HOPE.