WASHINGTON (5/19/08)--Foreclosures are up nationwide, and the government is warning consumers that scams promising to "rescue" homeowners from foreclosure are increasing. An Office of the Currency (OCC) consumer advisory warns about these scams:
* Lease-Back or Repurchase Scams. Someone offers to pay your mortgage and rent your home back to you, or promises to sell your house for you. Signing over a deed gives the con artist power to evict you, raise your rent, sell the house or steal the equity in your home. * Refinance Fraud. People posing as mortgage brokers or lenders offer to refinance your loan to more affordable payments. But they may trick you into signing over ownership of your home by telling you that you're signing documents for a new loan. * Bankruptcy Schemes. Several scams attempt to abuse bankruptcy laws. One asks you to give a partial interest in your house to one or more persons. Each holder of a partial interest can then file bankruptcy, one after another. A stay order against foreclosures won't excuse you from having to repay the full amount of your loan.
OCC suggests you protect yourself by:
* Knowing what you are signing; * Getting promises in writing; * Making mortgage payments directly to your lender or mortgage servicer; * Being careful about signing over your deed; and * Reporting suspicious activity to the Federal Trade Commission and to your state and local consumer protection agencies.
For the full advisory, use the link.