Foreclsosure Rescue Scammers Podcast Transcript


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Welcome to the Informed Consumer-the latest tips and tools about consumer issues to assist consumers in making informed decisions from the Fairfax County Consumer Affairs Branch.

Today’s topic: Foreclosure Rescue Scammers.

How do you know if someone genuinely wants to help prevent foreclosure or if they are setting a trap to take your money and possibly leave you homeless? In these stressful times, it is difficult to know when someone is really saying what they mean, or just delivering empty promises.

Has anyone said that they can stop the foreclosure process regardless of the circumstances? If the answer is yes to any of the following statements, you might be a victim of a Foreclosure Rescue Scam.

Has a solicitor:
•Asked for a fee before providing any services?
• Demanded payment by cash, cashier’s check, or wire transfer?
• Told you not to talk to your lender, lawyer, or housing counselor?
• Asked that mortgage payments be made directly to them, instead of your lender?
• Encouraged the leasing of your home so you can buy it back later?
• Requested the transfer of your property deed or title to them?
• Offered to buy your house for cash at a price that is much less than what other comparable houses in your neighborhood sell for?
• Offered to fill out the paperwork?
• Asked that lines are left blank on a contract or document you are to sign?
• Pressured you to sign the paperwork without the chance to read and thoroughly understand what you are signing?

To prevent being taken advantage of by scammers, arm yourself with knowledge. The Virginia Consumer Protection Act offers protection for homeowners facing foreclosure. Under this Act, it is unlawful for a business to collect up-front fees for foreclosure rescue services or engage in deceptive or misleading practices.

The Consumer Affairs Branch wants to help you develop a legitimate strategy to prevent or recover from foreclosure. If you are a victim or might be at risk of a foreclosure rescue scam, contact the Consumer Affairs Branch. To assist us, be prepared to provide the following information:

• Name, address, phone, and e-mail address for the company or person where contact was made.
• Were you contacted by mail, phone, e-mail, flyer in neighborhood, business card, or someone you know.
• What services did the company or person offer to provide?
• Was payment made for these services?
• Did you pay by cash, check, credit card, money order, or cashier check?
• Do you have copies of all solicitations and paperwork filled out?

Foreclosure rescue scams should also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission at www.ftc.gov or by calling 1-877-382-4357. Mortgage fraud is also investigated by the FBI and can be reported at 202-278-2000.

Thanks for listening to the Consumer Affairs Branch Informed Consumer. For more information on this topic or if you feel that you’ve been a victim of a scam, please contact us at 703-222-8435 or visit our web site at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/consumer. Informed Consumer is produced by the Fairfax County, Virginia, government.

Be a savvy consumer. Legitimate help from reputable businesses or agencies for distressed homeowners is FREE. For foreclosure prevention information, visit the Fairfax County homepage at www.fairfaxcounty.gov.


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