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Avoid foreclosure prevention companies. You do not need to pay fees for foreclosure prevention help - use that money to pay the mortgage instead. Many for-profit companies will contact you promising to negotiate with your lender. While these may be legitimate businesses, they will charge you a hefty fee (often two or three month's mortgage payment) for information and services your lender or a HUD-approved housing counselor will provide for free if you contact them.
Miami-Dade County has established a Mortgage Fraud Task Force to minimize your risk of becoming a victim.
Avoid foreclosure rescue scams. Don't let others prey on your fear of losing your home. If you're having trouble making mortgage payments, contact your loan servicer to discuss your options as soon as possible. Learn about your rights and how to avoid becoming a victim of fraud.
- Foreclosure Rescue & Modification Guide
- Mortgage Assistance Relief Scams - Federal Trade Commission
- Mortgage Fraud - presentation by the Miami-Dade County Mortgage Fraud Task Force
Types of Foreclosure Rescue Fraud
Foreclosure Rescue Fraud occurs when homeowners, finding it difficult to make ends meet and facing foreclosure, are promised help to save their homes. Scammers often turn around and steal the homes from those they promised aid to. Some collect large fees for services never provided and are never seen again.
Be cautious of these types of advertisements:
- “Stop foreclosure now!”
- “We guarantee to stop your foreclosure.”
- “We can save your home. Guaranteed. Free consultation.”
Types of Foreclosure Rescue Fraud:
The supposed rescuer charges very high fees for basic phone calls and paperwork that the homeowner could have done. Or, the rescuer will promise to represent the homeowner but will not follow through.
The supposed rescuer tells you to pay a fee first.
The supposed rescuer tells you not to contact your lender, lawyer or credit counselor.
Told to make all mortgage payments directly to the foreclosure rescue consultant.
- Bait & Switch
- You think you’re signing documents for a new loan to make your existing mortgage current.
- You have surrendered the title of your house and have given up ownership.
- Bailout / Rent-to-Buy
- The scammer bails the homeowner out by helping them get rid of the house.
- Surrender your title and live in your house as a renter with the option to buy it back.
- The homeowner can’t afford the terms. The scam artist raises the rent and then evicts the homeowner when they can’t pay.
- They sell the house.
- Contact your mortgage lender as soon as you think you are unable to make your mortgage payment.
- Know what you are signing.
- Get promises in writing.
- Make mortgage payments directly to your lender.
- Be very careful about signing over your deed.
Check Foreclosure Rescue Firm’s Complaint History or File a Complaint
Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention
The Foreclosure Rescue Fraud Prevention Act prohibits foreclosure rescue consultants from initiating services without first executing a written agreement with the homeowner; or collecting or securing payment before completing or performing all agreed upon services.
The Act requires a foreclosure rescue consultant to:
Provide a written agreement to the consumer and obtain the consumer's signature before beginning any services.
Cannot charge any fees until all the services listed in the contract have been completed. Provide a “cooling-off” period.
Right to cancel the contract or a transfer of their home 3 days after signing.
Before any instrument that transfers title to the property can be executed, the buyer (investor) must execute a separate contract with all the terms and conditions of the proposed property transfer.
If the transaction takes place and the homeowner is remaining in the home and making payments to the new owner, the homeowner is afforded a 30-day right to cure any default of the terms of the repurchase agreement
FBI Mortgage Fraud Report
An analysis of available law enforcement and industry resources indicates that one of the top ten mortgage fraud areas in the country is Florida. There is a strong correlation between mortgage fraud and loans which result in default and foreclosure. Learn more about Mortgage Fraud in this report from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
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