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Loan Fraud: Don’t be a victim
Home loan fraud is not an item of the past, but it is still costing people their homes, if not more today than ever. Home loan fraud has been on the rise since the 1990's despite the most recent federal disclosure laws. Take into consideration these two examples of home loan fraud that occurs when lenders misrepresent themselves or the terms of a loan to trick homeowners into default.
Bill is a 75-year-old widower who receives a notice that he is about to default on his mortgage. Soon after he receives this notice, he is visited by a man who represents himself as a foreclosure advisor and convinces Bill to sign a loan contract with him in order to save his home. The loan payments will me much higher than Bill can afford to pay and before long he has accepted more loans from the same lender. Once Bill is unable to meet the payments, he will default on the loans and the advisor will foreclose on Bill’s property and force him out of his home and sell all of his possessions.
In Florida, a door-to-door contractor convinces Maggie, a 62-year-old woman into taking out a second mortgage on her house in order to be able to afford repairs after a flood damaged her home. The contractor tells Maggie that she qualifies for a federal grant that will help her repay the loan. Unbeknownst to her, the federal grant does not exist and Maggie will default on the loan and lose her home.
Home loan frauds can be presented in many ways, ending in the same results, with somebody misrepresenting themselves and lying to you for the purpose of taking your home from you.
You can avoid being a victim of home loan fraud and the nightmares that follow by conforming to these simple rules:
1. Be cautious of people representing themselves as lenders who call you up on the phone or who show up at your door uninvited. These people will be very friendly and talkative and try their best to convince you how great and caring they are. Do not take the bate.
2. Never sign a document that you don’t understand. Some fraudulent lenders will quickly go over a document, by summing up some of the details to save you the time of reading it yourself, or to move the process along more quickly. If you don’t read or understand the document, consult with an attorney or other financial advisor of your choice to look over the document and to clarify any details.
3. Never let anyone pressure you into signing a document you are suspicious about or that has blank spaces that can be filled in later. An honorable lender will allow you time to think over the offer before you commit.
4. If your home is in dire need of repairs or improvements and you are strapped for cash, there are many programs available to help you with these without the risk of losing your home. These fraudulent lenders will try to convince you that their offer is the best way to go if you want to save a lot of time and money. They may also partner with a contractor just as deceitfully as they are in order to convince you that you are getting a great deal.
Although most senior citizens make prime targets for home loan fraud, it can happen to anyone, anywhere. These deceptive lenders will even target homeowners with poor credit, minority communities and low-income neighborhoods. Wherever there’s a homeowner, there is the possibility of coming face to face with a fraudulent lender.
These fraudulent lenders will reach their targets in a number of ways, such as: sending out mail to a certain zip code or area, searching public records to find homeowners who are behind or their taxes or mortgage, and for those homeowners who are in the process of filing a bankruptcy. The most common way these deceitful lenders reach their target is by phone. Offering their wonderful services to you with no obligation, if you allow them to come by your house and speak with you for a few minutes. Over the phone, they may make you feel like this is your lucky day, when in fact, they are wolves in sheep clothing.