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When you’re in financial trouble and you can’tmake your mortgage payments who ya’ gonna call?  Well, you should call your lender, but too often homeowners fall into the trap of unscrupulous scam artists who offer help, but end up ripping you off.  Here’s a few of the predatory lending schemes scammers will try on unsuspecting homeowners.

The Foreclosure Rescue ScamClick here to listen to "Mortgage Bailout Scams"
In this scheme the scammers will offer to buy the home of a person threatened with foreclosure. Some scammers may post signs around a neighborhood announcing that they buy houses, or that they help people threatened with foreclosure. Their offer may seem like a tempting way to get out of your mortgage trouble quickly, but watch out!  A typical foreclosure rescue scam works like this: the scammers will get you, the homeowner, to sign over the title to your house by promising that you will be allowed to stay in the home as a renter and even to buy back the home in time.  Unfortunately, the terms of the buy back are so high that there’s little chance that you’ll ever be able to do so.

These “rescuers” will often put the house into a trust in your name in order to avoid the “due on sale” clause in the mortgage contract.  Then they will transfer the ownership to themselves without the mortgage lender even aware of the arrangement. You lose your home and the scammers are left with most, or all of the equity that you’ve built up.   Signing over your deed doesn’t necessarily relieve you of your responsibility to pay your mortgage.  You’re left with a mortgage but no house!  

Click here to listen to "Phantom Help"Phantom Help
These “helpers” are really just scam artists who offer to keep a homeowner out of foreclosure.  They will charge large fees just to make a few phone calls, or do some paperwork that the homeowner could easily do themselves. The worst part of this “phantom help” is that it doesn’t actually keep the homeowner from foreclosure.  This scam gives homeowners expensive false hope, and keeps them from getting qualified, real help with their mortgage problems.

Avoiding Mortgage Scams
The prospect of losing your home is scary, and mortgage scammers prey on that fear.  Here are some tips on avoiding becoming a victim:

Also watch out for offers that say you’re pre-approved for credit based on your home’s equity.  Financial difficulties may make it tempting to borrow against your home, but be careful.  You home is your most important asset, don’t gamble with it.