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 When Facing Foreclosure, Beware of Scams!
By: Darin "Sid" Cameron, CRS
Thu, Mar 2nd, 2006 1:51 pm

Yesterday, with the help of loan officer extraordinaire Russ Miller, we looked at some of the options that you might have available to you if you face foreclosure.

Well, we'd like to add to that Beware of Scams!

There are people who prey on unsuspecting home owners in financial crisis because they know many of them won't seek quality advice.  As such, the old saying, "if it sound too good to be true, it usually is."

Also, if you're selling your home without professional guidance (agent or attorney), beware of buyers who try to rush you through the process. It's very easy to be taken advantage of.

Things to watch for:

  • Equity Skimming
    With this scam, a "buyer" approaches you and promises to pay off your mortgage and/or give you a sum of money when the property is sold. The "buyer" will then require you to move quickly and deed the property to him or her.  Once you've moved out, the Skimmer makes no mortgage payments but rents the home out and collect rents until the property is foreclosed.  The key to this scam is that signing over your deed to someone does not usually relieve you of your obligation on your mortgage loan.
  • Phony Counseling Agencies
    There are "counseling agencies" that may approach you to collect fees- like negotiating a new payment plan with your lender. If you have any doubt call a HUD-approved housing counseling agency or consult with an attorney before making a payment.

Below is a list of precautions to help you avoid being scammed:

  • Don't sign any papers you don't completely understand.
  • Make sure all "promises" are in writing.
  • Beware of any loan assumption programs where you are not formally released from the liability of your mortgage debt.
  • Check with a lawyer or your mortgage company before entering into any deal involving your home.
  • If you're selling the house yourself, check with your state's Attorney General, the State Real Estate Commission, or the local District Attorney's Consumer Fraud Unit for complaints against the buyer.

Disclaimer:
This information deals with Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy. Each state has its own bankruptcy laws, so you need to check with your state for details. Information dealing with Chapter 13 bankruptcy and consumer debt restructuring is not discussed in the above FAQs. The information contained in the following FAQs is provided for general information purposes only and is not intended to be a legal opinion nor legal advice nor is it intended to be a complete discussion of all the issues related to the area of Chapter 7 consumer bankruptcy. Every individual's factual situation is different and you should seek independent legal advice regarding specific information.

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Darin "Sid" Cameron spent 15 years working in the technology industry which in 1998 relocated him to St. Louis. In 2004 he took over web development tasks for Kimberly's real estate team and later became the full-time Marketing and Operations Director in 2005. In 2011 Sid launched two brokerages, The Realty Store, Inc. and Realty Referral Partners, Inc, while continuing to perform marketing and operations for Kimberly's team. Sid holds a real estate broker's license in Missouri, CRS certification and was the first CyberStar in the St. Louis area.
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