Caveat Emptor…Let The Buyer Beware…Scammers Abound…

   Short sale and foreclosure scammers come out of the woodwork when opportunity presents itself, and in today’s market, when as many as one in four homeowners are underwater in some areas, “foreclosure expert” scammers see the tree ripe for picking.

   Understandably homeowners will buy in when a person or “company” says they can make the problem disappear.  That is human nature.  The first red flag is when the “foreclosure consultant” asks for money up front.  If you, or someone you know,  has been victimized by such a “forclosure consultant”, gather as much information as possible and report that to the Better Business Bureau, a local and state Consumer Protection office,  and the Attorney General’s office.

   These “experts” prey on people who have little understanding of the law and are adept at presenting a believable case.  Always ask for credentials and write that information down in case you need it later.  Ask for as much information as possible and if that information is not forthcoming, cease dealing with that person. 

      Many of these people are high powered salespeople, and they may present information to you which you thought was confidential.  Remember, many documents relating to real estate are public information. Any liens, late taxes, the date the home was purchased,  quit claim deeds and other documents are in the public domain. 

    If the homeowner is going to pay up front money up, he/she is better off hiring a competent attorney for up to the minute legal advice.  Many attorneys will not charge an “upfront” fee, but will bill when the problem is resolved.  An attorney on board, can advise whether filing for bankruptcy is prudent, and can direct the homeowner and often postpone have any foreclosure action postponed.  

    Several states have laws on the books, or are passing laws, banning upfront fees.  Consumer fraud divisions are rift with complaints and are burdened by cumbersome consumer fraud laws when apprehending and bringing these people to justice.

    A CDPE (Certified Distressed Property Expert) or a Realtor with the National Association of Realtors Short Sale, Foreclosure Resource (SFR) designation will not ask for up front money.  They will present their credentials and lay out a plan.  These are people licensed by the state, and in many instances, fingerprinted, and they do not get paid unless the transaction is consumated.  It is easy to check with the State Department of Real Estate to make sure the person is licensed which can often be done on line.

    The site has information about non profit organizations which are approved by HUD to give information about loan modificaitons, short sales, and foreclosures. 

    Know with whom you are dealing.  That is your best defense against fraud.


Department of Housing and Urban Development – housing

Certified Distressed Property Expert:

National Association Realtors:

Arizona Foreclosure Workbook from the Arizona Attorney General’s Office:

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One Response to “Caveat Emptor…Let The Buyer Beware…Scammers Abound…”

  1. Albertina Hurlburt Says:

    There is obviously sooo much more to read about this. I think you made some pretty neat points in Features also. Keep working ,good job!

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