Navigating a potential foreclosure can be overwhelming. Unfortunately, scam artists often prey on vulnerable homeowners seeking assistance.
Understanding the red flags associated with foreclosure rescue scams helps protect your home and financial well-being.
1. Upfront fees and guarantees
Be cautious of any entity that charges upfront fees for foreclosure assistance. Legitimate assistance programs typically do not require payment until after they have helped you. Be wary, too, of promises that sound too good to be true. Scammers often guarantee they can stop the foreclosure process or ensure loan modification without assessing your specific financial situation. Legitimate assistance providers cannot guarantee specific outcomes, as each case is unique.
2. Pressure tactics and urgency
Scammers often employ high-pressure tactics. The idea is to create a sense of urgency to coerce you into making hasty decisions. Be wary of anyone rushing you to sign documents or transfer ownership of your property. Legitimate assistance processes take time and involve careful consideration of your financial circumstances. If you feel uncomfortable, take a step back and seek advice from reputable sources before proceeding.
3. Unsolicited offers and unusual communication
Foreclosure rescue scams often begin with unsolicited offers of assistance. These may come through mail, phone calls or door-to-door visits. Legitimate organizations do not reach out to homeowners without their initiation. Be cautious, too, of communication that appears unprofessional or lacks official documentation. Scammers may use generic email addresses, refuse to provide written information or use threatening language to instill fear.
Yahoo Finance reports that there were about 100,000 foreclosure filings in the United States in the first quarter of 2023. Seeking assistance from reputable housing counseling agencies and staying informed about your rights may help you avoid losing your home to foreclosure – and avoid being the subject of a foreclosure assistance scam.