Foreclosure Rescue Scams
How do you know if someone you talk to genuinely wants to help you prevent foreclosure or if they are setting a trap to take your money and possibly leave you homeless? In stressful times, it is difficult to know when someone is really saying what they mean, or just delivering empty promises. Has anyone told you that they can stop the foreclosure process regardless of your circumstances or asked you to do any of the following:
If anyone told you that they can stop the foreclosure process regardless of your circumstances or asked you to do any of the following you could be a victim of a foreclsosure scam:
- 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 you to make your mortgage payments directly to them, instead of to your lender.
- Encouraged you to lease your home so you can buy it back later.
- Told you to transfer 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 paperwork for you.
- Asked you to leave lines blank on a contract or document they want you to sign.
- Pressured you to sign paperwork without giving you the chance to read and thoroughly understand what you are signing.
Virginia Consumer Protection Act
To prevent scammers from taking advantage of distressed homeowners, you need to 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.
If You are a Victim
You will need to develop a legitimate strategy to prevent or recover from foreclosure. If you are a victim of a foreclosure rescue scam, or if you think you might be at risk, contact Consumer Affairs. To help us assist you, be prepared to provide as much of the following information that you can:
- Name, address, phone, and e-mail address for the company or person who contacted you.
- How were you contacted (mail, phone, e-mail, flyer in neighborhood, business card, someone you know)?
- What services did the company or person offer to provide for you?
- Have you paid any money for these services?
- If you made any payment, how did you pay? (cash, check, credit card, money order, cashier check, etc.)
- Copies of all solicitations and paperwork you filled out.
Foreclosure rescue scams should also be reported to the Federal Trade Commission or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP. Mortgage fraud is also investigated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and can be reported at 202-278-2000.
Legitimate help from reputable businesses or agencies for distressed homeowners is always free.
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Office: 703-222-8435 (8:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Monday-Friday)