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Losing Your Home? Avoid These Scams
by Diane Butler
TheSyndicatedNews columnist

Let's say you're behind in your payments and the bank has just issued a Notice of Default [NOD]which will be posted with the County Recorder and recorded on the title of the property. Now, armed with this public information, just watch as the scammers head straight for you.

Here are some tricks to watch out for. A stranger approaches and offers to "save" your credit, your house, or both. All you have to do is put your house in his name or pay mortgage payments to him or pay a fee and let him "take care" of the "problem". Is that going to help? Most likely, no.

How about getting a second mortgage on the property if it doesn't already have one? If the property has an NOD on it, probably the only lender willing to do it would be a crook, so there's half the answer. The next part is, assuming you do get a second mortgage, you now owe more than you did before! If you couldn't pay before, how are you going to pay now?

That doesn't mean there are no reliable ways to attack your problem. The first thing to do when you realize you may not be able to make your payments is to IMMEDIATELY talk to your mortgage lender. Don't wait until you've piled up several months of partial or no payments, IMMEDIATELY speak to your lender. If you are hesitant, call in a professional real estate broker whom you trust, especially someone who has been in business at least 5 years and preferably 10.

Your lender may well work out a deal with you, especially these days. But, it's true--some lenders really are not too smart or perhaps too untrusting, so you may have to bring in a professional or miss some payments. But, whatever you do--don't let some stranger who comes to your house talk you into signing any papers. Speak to an attorney first. For anyone claiming to be a real estate agent or broker, you can look up any licensed person on the CA Department of Real Estate webpage to check. There you can find out if the person has a license and if there are complaints filed against the licensee.

If you believe you have been scammed, here are some useful resources to try:

L.A. County Department of Consumer Affairs
Real Estate Fraud & Information



Your County Department of Consumer Affairs

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

File a complaint --$.startup?Z_ORG_CODE=PU01

Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)

Read about mortgage fraud -- .. ... 5.htm#d1

Locations of FBI's Field Offices -- .. ... o/fo.htm

File a complaint --

Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA)

State-by-state list of resources -- http://mbafightsfraud. .. ... aud.html

Published: Jul 13,2008 19:02
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