Protect Yourself from Foreclosure Scams
Foreclosure fraud is a real and dangerous threat to anyone in debt who wants to save their home. And recently some high-profile cases have shown how these scams work.
We see fraud like this all the time at our Memphis bankruptcy firm, and we’re committed to keeping our community as safe as possible. So here’s what you need to know about these types of scams and how to protect yourself.
How the Scammers First Contact You
There are plenty of examples of people being sentenced for foreclosure fraud, and the cases all might look a little different on the surface. But they tend to share certain things in common.
First and foremost, they depend on you believing in their legitimacy.
To convince you to trust them, a person may contact you directly about your risk of foreclosure. They might even claim to be your bank or mortgage company. These calls, letters, or emails will feel very official.
You might easily assume they’re safe companies. After all, how else would they know you’re behind on your payments? In reality, some companies just contact everyone in a certain neighborhood or area code, with the assumption they’ll eventually reach someone who’s worried about foreclosure.
It’s also possible to find these sorts of scams online by accident. Say you were Googling for a solution that will stop foreclosure. With a flashy enough website promising results – especially if they pay for high ad placement – it would be easy to get involved with the wrong company.
How They Get Your Money
Once they’ve convinced you of their legitimacy, these companies will give you some sort of promise that they can stop your foreclosure.
They might tell you their process is cheaper than working with your bank, or less complicated than filing bankruptcy, or won’t affect your credit, etc. They make false promises to convince you that working with them is the easiest or safest option.
Then, they do the thing that almost every foreclosure scam has in common: they ask for money. They guarantee you an end to your foreclosure and debt problems if you just pay them a certain amount.
Unfortunately, people who suffer from these scams usually realize far too late. Stories of foreclosure scams end very sadly, because people only find out they’ve been scammed when the foreclosure goes through.
Not only did the company not save their home, but they took all the money that could have saved their home in the first place.
What Really Stops Foreclosure
If you can’t afford to make your house payments anymore, there are only two institutions that can stop a foreclosure: your mortgage lender/bank and the court system.
In the case of your bank, it’s possible they might be willing to work with you depending on your situation. Sometimes if you’ve been through a really extreme circumstance like cancer or the death of a loved one, they’ll make exceptions to help you get back on track. They might also offer loan modification or some other way to change your agreement so you can keep your commitment.
But if and when those options break down, or if the bank is unwilling to work with you, you have the power of the courts on your side. That’s how bankruptcy works and why Chapter 13 was set up in the first place. It offers a way to include all your debts in a payment plan that’s affordable for you, based entirely on your financial situation and no one else’s.
Banks can always go back on their word, but the courts won’t. So in that sense, bankruptcy is the exact opposite of foreclosure fraud.
It’s totally legal, binding, and guarantees certain protections over you and your assets.
If You Have Questions About Preventing Foreclosure
Whenever I hear about a foreclosure scam, I wish the family had reached out to me first.
People don’t always realize the benefit of this, but our office firm offers totally free consultations, no strings attached. That means if you get an offer to save your home from foreclosure and you’re not sure whether to trust it, you can actually bring it to us for free.
We can talk through it with you, let you know what to look out for, and make you aware of all the different options you might have.
Everyone assumes lawyers cost a lot of money, but this is a free service we offer because we care about helping the people of Memphis stay in their homes and build their communities.
Our attorneys can help you avoid foreclosure scams, save your hard earned money, and stop foreclosure for good. It’s what we do every day, and we love it.