There are always people trying to take advantage of others who are in unfortunate financial situations. If your finances are causing problems with keeping up with your mortgage payment, be aware of some common types of scams that are targeted towards you.
- Fake "government" modification programs - These types of programs are when companies require upfront fees to benefit from a government program or they claim to be affiliated with the government. Websites for these companies will often look official and use words like "federal" or "government-approved." Government assistance never requires any upfront fees and always check the website domain name to see if it ends with ".gov" instead of ".com" to help you identify a government website quickly.
- "Eliminate your debt" claims - These scams try to convince people that they don't really owe the money or that the company has a secret method for eliminating your mortgage debt. If it sounds too good to be true...
- Refinance scams - These happen when a company has you sign a "foreclosure rescue" loan documents for the purpose of refinancing your home. However, the documents are really deed transfer documents and you have just signed the ownership of your home over to someone else and will get an eviction notice next.
- Lease-back or rent to buy scams - This occurs when you are offered to transfer the title of your home "temporarily" to the scammer who promises to get better financing for you while you pay rent with the option to purchase the home back. If you don't comply with the rent-to-buy agreement, you can lose all your money and be evicted.
- Refinance fraud - This is when someone offers to negotiate with a mortgage lender on your behalf often wanting you to pay money directly to them. The reality is that your money never reaches your lender, you still owe money you thought you already paid, and the money you paid the "negotiator" is long gone.