Is it the sunny summer weather here in Florida or the record-breaking number of Florida foreclosures that is so tempting to fraudsters that they come up with so many different and creative ways to con Florida homeowners (homeowners who are trying to deal with their troubled mortgage) out of their money and maybe out of their house?
We’ve already posted about how there are all sorts of foreclosure help scams being run here in South Florida; it’s amazing how creative and tenacious these people can be.
5 Tricks of Florida Foreclosure Scammers – Don’t Fall Prey to the Predators
1. Scammers can appear to be very legitimate, but don’t be deceived. If they have a flashy web site or a fancy brochure, even a snazzy television spot, that only means that they spent a small amount of money (which they consider an investment in their long con) in order to fool you into assuming they are professional and trustworthy. That old adage, “don’t judge a book by its cover” is true here.
2. It’s not true that your credit score or credit history can be magically repaired to remove past delinquencies by a foreclosure assistance company. Different policies apply to different credit reporting companies, and whether or not reports are changed is up to these companies and the entity that made the payment report in the first place (i.e., the mortgage lender).
3. Lenders expect mortgage payments to be paid to them. Never pay your mortgage payment to a third party foreclosure relief company on their promise that they will forward the mortgage onto the bank, or that they are holding onto the mortgage payments as a “strategy” to get the bank to agree to a loan modification.
4. Your legal right to your real estate is reflected by a real estate deed recorded in the Florida real property records. Florida land title records have been zealously protected for hundreds of years: it can be quite the history lesson to roam through the land records and see where ownership was recognized not only by the State of Florida, but in years past, by the Confederate States of America on back to Spanish land grants.
Never sign over a deed to your property to a foreclosure relief company or someone offering foreclosure help upon their promise that it is part of their “strategy” or for your protection. That paper represents your ownership in the real estate, respect it. If you sign the deed over to the company, then they can argue that they are now the owners of the land (and home and pool, etc.). Check every piece of paper where you are asked for your signature — particularly if you’ve been presented with a stack of papers several inches high.
5. Don’t trust too-good-to-be-true language like “money back guarantee” or “stop your foreclosure today!” Who are these companies that they can promise to refund all your monies to you (is that good business?) or that they can halt a foreclosure proceeding, especially in Florida which is a judicial foreclosure state? Can the company remove the lawsuit from the judicial process? Really?
Larry Tolchinsky’s Tip:
Mortgage assistance is needed in Florida and there are many legitimate organizations out there to help people try to save their homes from foreclosure. Some are foreclosure defense lawyers / law firms; some are non-profit groups; and help can be gained from contacting local and federal government agencies, too. (Links to examples given below.)
Miracles sometimes happen in foreclosure cases, and even with today’s “rocket docket” there are legitimate defenses to foreclosure that will be respected by Florida courts. Banks will make loan modifications. Not every threat of foreclosure will end up in a foreclosure lawsuit and not every foreclosure lawsuit will end up in a judgment.
Not every case is a miracle situation, however, and the wise and prudent Florida homeowner with an underwater mortgage or past due mortgage payments will not fall prey to big promises made by a foreclosure relief company no more how pretty and wonderful those promises may be.
It’s not a crime nor is it anything to be ashamed about in today’s marketplace to be struggling to make home mortgage payments or to have missed payments on your home loan and now be in the position where you and your family are facing foreclosure.
Being in this position, however, is extremely stressful and emotionally exhausting for many. Anxious people in crisis are the type of people that predators like these Mortgage Relief Scammers consider to be prey.
Don’t let them take your money or your home. There are legitimate, legal ways to get out of your foreclosure crisis. Contact a reputable Florida foreclosure defense lawyer (most will offer free legal consultations, like our firm does) or contact one of the following agencies or non-profits for help:
- The Federal Trade Commission
- The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
- The Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF), a nonprofit organization with a toll-free hotline (24/7)(1.888.995.HOPE) offering free counseling over the phone.
Do you have questions or comments? Then please feel free to Chat with Larry in the comments below, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or (954) 458-8655. If you have a specific or personal situation, please call or email Larry because he can’t answer specific fact questions in general comments.