Holidays are rife with scams but some hit closer to home than others.
Millions of Americans are on the brink of foreclosure and crooks are using the opportunity to amp up their mortgage fraud business. This type of fraud is nothing new, but like all crimes, it’s evolved with the times.
The Wall Street Journal’s Amy Hoak lays out a few new schemes fraudsters are just waiting for you to fall for:
Foreclosure rescue. These schemes target homeowners on the brink of foreclosure by offering services like loan modification. These are “the cash cow right now,” attorney Yolanda MCGill told the WSJ. Red flags to watch out for are schemers who ask for payment upfront.
Short-sale fraud. Fraudsters make bank off short sales by buying a property at a low-end price and flipping it for much more. You get gypped while they make off with a profit. They often pose as real estate agents so watch out.
False Payoffs. This scam involves a title closing agent who doesn’t pass off your payments to your old mortgage company.
To be sure you don’t get suckered into falling for a mortgage scam, the FBI has some helpful tips:
Do your homework. Get referrals from friends or family for a real estate or mortgage professional if you’re looking to buy or sell a home.
Check out the Jones’s. See what other homes on your block are selling for before you list your asking price. You can find out by looking into recent tax assessments of your neighbourhood’s homes.
Don’t sign the dotted line. The FBI cautions against signing any documents that are blank or contain blank lines on forms you don’t understand. If you’re unsure of a certain document, get an attorney to look it over with you.
Looking to buy rather than rent? Check out the pros and cons here >