5 Tips to Avoid Being a Victim of Mortgage Rescue Scams
1. Never pay up-front fees.In California, foreclosure consultants, including attorneys, are prohibited by law (Civil Code 2944) from collecting money before services are performed. Any company asking for upfront fees is breaking the law and should be reported.
2. Never ignore letters from your lender or loan servicer. Open, read, and respond to all letters from your bank. Often times, very important time sensitive documents are sent to homeowners in foreclosure. Responding to your bank in a timely manner is one of your best bets for saving your house.
3. Don't transfer title or sell your house to a "foreclosure rescue company." Beware! This is a scam to convince homeowners they can stay in the home as renters and buy their home back later. By transferring your title, you no longer own your home, and the scammer can legally evict you and take possession of your home.
4. Don't pay your mortgage payments to anyone other than your lender or loan servicer.If you are approved for a loan modification, have the agreement in writing. Make sure that the terms of the modification agreement are accurate. Never sign any documents without reading them first.
5. Be aware of law firms who claim they can “stop foreclosure by suing the bank.” Unless someone forged your signature on your loan documents, the bank has the right to foreclose on any homeowner who stops paying their mortgage payments. California is a trustee state and foreclosures are processed non judicial, meaning the foreclosure is not handled in court. There are legitimate class action lawsuits against banks that are completely free for the homeowner to join. Often times, attorneys postpone foreclosure sales by filing emergency bankruptcy. When a homeowner files multiple times, it can be considered bankruptcy fraud.
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