Below are just a few scenarios, contact the Homeport Housing Advisory Center at 614-221-8889 ext 134 or our contact form, if you believe you may have been the victim of a scam.Ask yourself the following questions:
Did anyone contact you offering assistance to modify your mortgage, either directly by telephone, or by other means such as by mail or a flyer?
Were you guaranteed a loan modification or asked to do any of the following: pay a fee, sign a contract, redirect mortgage payments, sign over title to your property, or stop making loan payments?
Phony Counseling or Foreclosure Rescue Scams
The scam artist poses as a counselor and tells you he can negotiate a deal with your lender to modify your loan or save your house—if you pay him a fee first. Once you pay the fee, or a few mortgage payments, the scammer disappears with your money.
Fake “Government” Modification Programs
Some scammers may claim to be affiliated with, or approved by, the government, or they may ask you to pay high, up-front fees to “qualify” for government mortgage modification programs. The scammer’s company name and Website may sound like a real government agency, but the Website may end with .com or .net instead of .gov.
Forensic Loan Audit
The scammer who may be called a forensic or mortgage loan “auditor” offers to review your mortgage loan documents to determine whether your lender complied with state and federal mortgage lending laws. The scammer will usually require that you pay a fee to start the process. The scammer may say you can use the audit report to avoid foreclosure, accelerate the loan modification process, reduce your loan principal, or even cancel your loan. There is no proof that a forensic loan audit can save your home from foreclosure although it’s conducted by a licensed, legitimate and trained auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer.
Mass Joinder Lawsuit
The scam artist, usually a lawyer, law firm or a marketing partner will promise that they can force your lender to modify your loan. They will tell you that by joining other homeowners in a mass joinder lawsuit against a particular lender, you will be able to stop a foreclosure, reduce your loan balance or interest rate, receive monetary damages, or even receive title to your house free and clear. Mass joinder lawsuit scammers will try to “sell” you participation in a lawsuit against your mortgage lender, claiming that you cannot participate in the lawsuit until you pay some type of fee.
The scam artist convinces you to sign documents for a “new loan modification” that will make your existing mortgage current. This is a trick. You actually just signed documents that surrender the title or deed of your house to the scam artist in exchange for a “rescue” loan.
Rent-to-Own or Leaseback Scheme
A scammer urges you to surrender the title or deed of your home as part of a deal that will let you stay in your home as a renter and then buy it back in a few years. He may tell you that surrendering the title will permit a borrower with a better credit rating to get new financing—and keep you from losing your home. However, the scammer may have no intention of ever selling the home back to you. But the terms of these deals usually make buying back your home impossible. Worse yet, when the new borrower defaults on the loan, you’re evicted.
Short Sale Scam
Scammers, sometimes called “short sale negotiators” or “short sale processors,” may promise to expedite a short sale and usually require you to pay a fee, which is illegal in many states. A short sale may be a legitimate option for a homeowner in default or homeowner who is current yet the value of the home has fallen -- if the lender agrees to the short sale. But homeowners should only work with a licensed real estate professional or licensed real estate attorney since the law requires that the person be properly licensed to negotiate the short sale with your lender.
Bankruptcy to Avoid Foreclosure
The scammer may promise to negotiate with your lender or get refinancing on your behalf if you pay a fee up front. Instead of contacting your lender or refinancing your loan, he pockets the fee and files a bankruptcy case in your name—sometimes without your knowledge.
A bankruptcy filing often stops a home foreclosure, but only temporarily. Filing bankruptcy stops any collection and foreclosure while the bankruptcy court administers the case. But, eventually you must start paying your mortgage, or the lender will be able to foreclose.
These are just a few scenarios, contact the Homeport Housing Advisory Center at 614-221-8889 ext 134 or our contact form, if you believe you may have been the victim of a scam.