“We’ll Help You Avoid Foreclosure!” – The BBB Warns Arizonans About Becoming Victims Of Foreclosure Rescue Scams
August 21st, 2016 by MG
If you’ve ever flirted with foreclosure, you know that the resulting onslaught of letters offering assistance can be overwhelming. And with that goes the old saying that if it sounds too good to be true… it probably is.
From BizJournal: “According to estimates, as many as 1.7 million homeowners could lose their house to foreclosure in the next couple years,” said Matthew Fehling, BBB president and chief executive, in a release. “These people will be in the desperate position of trying to save their home and they’ll look for someone to trust. Unfortunately, con artists are seeing their chance to step in and make a fast buck off of troubled homeowners.”
Better Business Bureaus nationwide have received hundreds of complaints from homeowners who enlisted the help of unscrupulous mortgage foreclosure rescue companies. In the last three years, the BBB of Central/Northern Arizona received 111 complaints for foreclosure services headquartered in this area. Of those complaints, 34 came within the last 12 months, officials said.
Typically, homeowners report they were contacted by a mortgage foreclosure rescue company by phone or mail or came across a Web site while searching for help to stop foreclosure on their home, the BBB says. The companies claimed they would renegotiate mortgages terms and stop foreclosure actions, or the homeowners would get their money back. Victims, who were desperate to keep their homes, paid as much as $1,300. In the end, the companies did very little or often nothing at all. Most victims, not only lost their homes, but also have not been able to get promised refunds, according to the BBB.
If you’ve been contacted by such a company, the BBB has a few tips to follow to prevent getting suckered:
- Contact the BBB at 602-264-1721 or go to www.arizonabbb.org to request a free Reliability Report before paying any “rescue” company. Or check with the Attorney General’s Office at www.azag.gov.
- Beware of the personal approach. Some businesses will stuff a handwritten note in your front door or mailbox that implies that “help” is available from someone who has your best interests in mind.
- Talk to your lender. The first thing you should do is talk to your mortgage company about how to restructure your loan payment or refinance.
- Never sign a contract under pressure and never sign away ownership of your property. Ask a family member, an attorney or financial professional to review any paperwork you may be asked to sign.
- If you feel you have been taken advantage of by an unethical “rescue” company, file a complaint with the BBB at www.arizonabbb.org.
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