Beware of these common home loan scams

Its important to be aware of scammers when trying to save your home.

Beware of these common home loan scams

According to RealtyTrac, foreclosure rates are down in some states; however, one in every 1,252 homeowners in the United States is still experiencing foreclosure. It’s important to be wary of scammers when trying to save your home.

According to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), some come common scams are phony counseling, the forensic audit, rent-to-buy, and bait-and-switch:

  • Phony Counseling or Phantom Help - scam artists tell you that if you pay them a fee, they’ll negotiate a deal with your lender to reduce your mortgage payments or to save your home.
  • The “Forensic Audit” - In exchange for an upfront fee, so-called forensic loan “auditors,” mortgage loan “auditors,” or foreclosure prevention “auditors” offer to have an attorney or other expert review your mortgage documents to determine if your lender complied with the law.
  • Rent-to-Buy Schemes - Con artists who use the rent-to-buy scheme tell you to surrender the title to your house as part of a deal that allows you to stay there as a renter and buy it back later.
  • Bait-and-Switch - In a bait-and-switch scam, con artists give you papers they claim you need to sign to get another loan to make your mortgage current. 

If you think you have been a victim of any of these, be sure to report them to the FTC or your state Attorney General’s office. If you are behind on your mortgage payments, contact your lender immediately to seek assistance. Additionally, you can visit the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) to see if you qualify for a HAMP, HARP, or other modification programs. The HAMP and HARP program application deadline is December 31, 2016. After that, the program is ending. If you’re a Michigan homeowner who has experienced a hardship impacting your ability to pay your mortgage, property taxes, or condominium fees, you may qualify for assistance through Step-Forward. You can locate an MSHDA Housing Counselor in your area to discuss your situation.

You can sign-up for scam alerts at FTC.gov. Be sure to check out Michigan State University Extension and MIMoneyHealth.org for more great articles. Don’t forget to take our Financial Health Survey to get your score and learn about more ways to improve your financial health.

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