Once the fact that you are facing foreclosure hits the public records, you can expect the calls and letters to start coming in hot and heavy. Each and every one will have, according to them, some new and creative method to help you save your home. A very small number of them are really and truly interested in helping. Most will be trying to steal your home or your money or both. Here are some tips on how to tell the difference between them, and avoid wasting time and effort, or worse, on schemes that will never help anyway.
Tip Number 1: Avoid anyone bringing a quit claim deed.
Often these con men will seem to be the nicest people you have ever met. They seem genuinely interested in helping you solve your problem until after you have signed the deed. There are a couple of different ways these scam artists approach you.
One is to act as if they are going to help you refinance. They will bring in huge stacks of loan applications and disclosures for you to sign. In the midst of all that signing, they will slip in a quit claim deed. A quit claim deed, mistakenly referred to many as a “quick” claim deed, is simply a deed which grants whatever interest you have in the property to the person named on the deed. It says that you “quit” your claim to the property. As with any type of deed, this document is supposed to be witnessed and notarized. However, these crooks will get you to sign one with no witnesses, telling you that it won’t be legally transferring your interest in your home since it isn’t fully completed. Once they have your signature, getting a crooked witness and a crooked notary public is a simple task. Soon you find yourself being evicted from the property because you no longer have any ownership interest in it.
A second type of scam involving a quit claim deed is a little more direct. They get you to deed the property to them, claiming that they will catch up your payments and rent the home back to you until you are in a position to buy the home back. Usually, they simply collect your rental payments, never even attempt to pay anything to your mortgage company and then disappear.
Tip Number 2: Avoid foreclosure rescue scams with upfront fees.
Just like the quit claim deed con artists, these seemingly caring and golden tongued crooks seem like all that matters to them in the world is helping you save your home. Sure, they have to make a living so they charge a reasonable fee, but they just really want to help.
One of the easiest scams for them is to convince you they have helped many hundreds of people avoid foreclosure because some of the paperwork involved in the original loan was illegal. Because of this, you really don’t even owe the mortgage company anything at all and they will have to deed you the home free and clear. All you have to do is pay their upfront fee and they will audit your loan to find the problems. Once you pay the money, you never hear from them again.
If something seems too good to be true, it probably is. Don’t let these crooks cheat you out of money AND the time you need to be working on real ways to save your home.