With thousands of Americans facing foreclosure and the uncertainties tied with it, it is unfortunate that others are attempting to capitalize on the losses of others by targeting desperate homeowners with foreclosure resolution scams.
According to the U.S. Federal Reserve Board, there are some safety precautions homeowners can take to avoid being scammed.
First, you should work with a counselor from an agency that is approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). You can visit the HUD website to search through their list of housing counseling agencies that are HUD approved. If you are contacted by foreclosure counselors, whether by phone, mail, or in person, be sure they are from a counseling agency that is HUD approved before doing business with them.
Second, be careful who you pay for any foreclosure-related services. Never pay anyone unless you know exactly what services you will be receiving. You should not be asked to pay hundreds of dollars, as most HUD approved housing counselors provide free services, and others provide low-cost counseling. You should be particularly cautious of anyone who collects fees before providing services, or who only accepts payment with wire transfers or cashier’s checks.
Third, be careful of “guarantees.” A reputable counselor should never guarantee they can stop the foreclosure process. While working with a counselor that is legitimate will definitely increase your chances of being able to keep your home, people who promise a sure thing are likely scammers. With any transactions, as well as with any promises, you should get everything in writing.
Fourth, you should always know what you are signing, and make sure you are the one who is signing important paperwork. A legitimate counselor should never pressure you into signing paperwork you haven’t carefully read through or that you don’t understand. You should never sign any blank forms or let someone else complete the forms for you. It is also a good idea to consult with a bankruptcy attorney before signing anything that will transfer the title of your home to someone else.
Lastly, if what is being promised to you sounds too good to be true, it probably is. If you think you are the target or victim of a foreclosure scam, get help. You should report any suspicious schemes to local and state consumer protection agencies, which you can find on the Consumer Action website. It may also be a wise decision to talk with a bankruptcy lawyer to learn about your legal rights and options.
To learn more about the foreclosure process in New Jersey, contact the New Jersey mortgage foreclosure attorneys at The Law Offices of Robert Manchel by calling 866-503-5655.