Did you know there’s such a thing as foreclosure fraud?

Also known as a “mortgage relief scam,” this crime actually happens often. In fact, in October 2012, federal investigators charged 530 people for defrauding over 73,000 homeowners who’d fallen behind on their mortgages.

The homeowners were financially vulnerable and they needed a solution to their crisis. Their situation made them ideal victims for fraud.

In the October cases, criminals posed as financial service providers and offered to buy a debtor’s mortgage or negotiate on the homeowner’s behalf if the homeowner would pay them a significant fee. The federal government estimated debtors lost over $1 billion in the scheme.

Don’t fall prey to the same fraudulent tactics! If you’re behind on your house payment in Memphis, follow these steps:

Talk directly with your bank. Don’t trust random callers who offer you a deal, and always check with your bank if you’re unsure.

Be wary. If the offer sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Get a callers’ information. If someone calls claiming they represent a bank or other financial company, get their full contact information. Don’t pay them any money or give them any personal information. Instead, report them to the Federal Trade Commission.

If you’re struggling with your mortgage, there are options to help you. Sometimes – though rarely these days – banks will modify your loan and work with you as you get back on track. Sometimes credit counseling agencies can help you rework your finances and talk with creditors.

However, if you’re so behind on your payments that you’re facing foreclosure, you may seriously want to consider bankruptcy before you lose the house. Bankruptcy is legally binding, so it can automatically stop your foreclosure and end all creditor harassment. A lot of fraudulent offers will say the same thing, but they’re simply untrue.

If you’d like to talk more about stopping foreclosure in Memphis, give us a call at 901-327-2100 or contact us via this website. As a bankruptcy lawyer for Shelby County, I can help you sort through the debts you can’t pay and make sure you don’t fall victim to foreclosure schemes meant to hurt you more than help you.