Beware the Foreclosure ''Rescue'' Specialist
Avoid schemes that exploit struggling Georgia homeowners
Paying your mortgage has been a struggle, and despite your best efforts, you've fallen behind. Your lender shows no mercy, and instead serves you with a notice of foreclosure. How do you explain to your family that you may soon lose your home and don't know where you'll go? Suddenly, you are contacted by a "foreclosure rescue" specialist offering help. Seem a bit too convenient? A DebtStoppers attorney can promise you this timely entrance is part of a slick act we see all the time.
The rescuer who appeared at your door is acting on information the law requires to be made public. When your lender decided to foreclose on your home, Georgia law required it to place a public notice in a local newspaper. So, anyone who has an interest in helping you — or helping themselves — has all the information they need to take immediate advantage of your circumstances. Unfortunately an exchange that starts out promising, usually results in a loss to the homeowner.
How foreclosure rescue scams defraud Georgia homeowners
The rescuer may have a number of tricks up his sleeve. In a payment diversion scam, the rescuer offers to negotiate with your mortgage lender to lower your monthly payments and stop the foreclosure. He'll do it all for a flat fee; leverage, he explains you must send your mortgage payments to him, instead of the bank. When you chase him down in a couple of months, he admits he's made no progress in lowering your mortgage payments and your bank has decided to foreclose, because that's what happens when you stop paying. The fee for his services, and the mortgage payments you sent, are all non-refundable.
Worse yet is the buy-back scheme, where your rescuer implies that he's advancing you cash to save your home. Only, it's not a loan; it's a sale from you to him for below market value. It gives you just enough cash to bring your mortgage payments up to date, but because the deal didn't require the rescuer to assume your mortgage, you've got to keep paying for a home you no longer own. Your rescuer explains that's no worse than paying rent, especially when you've got an option to buy back the house anytime. Of course, that would turn a tidy profit for him, but he's likely to sell the house for an even bigger profit well before you have the means to buy it back. And don't expect the new owner to let you live there.
To avoid foreclosure rescue and other scams:
- Be up front with your lender. Tell them when you start having trouble with your mortgage payments. Explain your financial circumstances. Ask if they're open to renegotiating your mortgage or working out a payment plan. When you're candid with your lender, you signal that you intend to act responsibly, which makes it easier to find a solution.
- Always be skeptical of anyone who shows up on your doorstep with a too-good-to-be-true offer.
- Never enter into a legal agreement before showing the contract to your own attorney!
Get foreclosure protection that works. Call Atlanta DebtStoppers today.
Atlanta DebtStoppers has helped thousands of Georgia residents avoid scams and keep their homes. For a free debt consultation with an experienced foreclosure protection attorney, call 404.750.4706 or contact our Atlanta office online.