The Los Angeles Daily News ran a disturbing article on Jan. 25 about con artists targeting homeowners who face financial troubles and foreclosure. The article starts by describing the scam run by two men who are now charged with 71 counts of felony fraud. Posing as "foreclosure rescue services" workers, the men went door-to-door and mailed out flyers, promising to help stave off foreclosure for $500 a month. Not only did they not help, they stole equity from their victims' homes, leaving the homeowners even deeper in debt.
Other foreclosure scammers take simply the money and disappear, file forged papers in order to steal properties or trick the homeowner into granting them partial ownership of the home. Still others prey on renters by posing as owners of foreclosed properties and asking multiple tenants for a deposit and first month's rent, then disappearing before move-in day. One Los Angeles FBI agent quoted in the article said California is one of the top states for mortgage fraud, with tens of millions in losses each year.
It's easy to understand how someone facing foreclosure might end up being taken advantage of. Foreclosure doesn't happen overnight; it's a result of ongoing financial problems like loss of a job, a sudden illness or too much debt. Running out of options, desperate homeowners may turn to anyone who promises help -- even con artists like these. Unfortunately, the scammers often crowd out legitimate debt relief organizations, delaying or destroying any chance for real help. Scammers who are caught are criminally charged and prosecuted, but may not be ordered -- or even able -- to repay their victims.
Homeowners who know they face foreclosure and other debt problems can turn to a variety of legitimate organizations for help. At Howard Law LLP, our loan modification practice is entirely focused on helping homeowners negotiate successfully with their banks for more livable mortgage terms. We help clients in Southern California refinance for a longer loan term with a lower interest rate; convert balloon or adjustable-rate mortgages to conventional loans; and challenge predatory and unfair lending practices. Our Orange County loan modification attorneys have been able to save many clients' homes in this way. If you're ready to look into this, we offer free, confidential consultations. To set one up today, please contact us online or call 1-800-872-5925 as soon as possible.