Property scams involve predators that prey on folks facing foreclosures or put them into foreclosure like vultures waiting for a meal. Sometimes its individuals but it also could be companies or even banks. Con artists may rent or sell a home they dont own, get a security deposit and disappears.

  • Guarantee to stop the foreclosure, regardless of situation
  • Lender tries to talk you into falsifying information
  • Guarantees to get your loan modified
  • Sign over the deed when debt is paid off, you receive deed back
  • Buyer/Seller/Renter is overseas
  • Wants to Buy/Rent sight unseen
  • Request deposit by mail order, wire transfer, Western Union
  • Offers government-approved loan modifications
  • Seller/Renter refuses to meet with you
  • Prohibits contact with your lender or a nonprofit counselor
  • Refinance without new closing/appraisal/pre-payment/other fees.       
  • Advertiser doesn't post pictures of property, only address
  • Company not registered with Secretary of State as business.
  • Payments made to individual instead of company
  • Fraudulent qualification by real estate agents/mortgage brokers
  • Buy property well above its actual value
  • Advised to stop paying mortgage company and pay them instead
  • Release personal financial information online/phone


Be Aware of Actions That Can Be Taken   TOP


  • Financing scams is the manipulation of funds, falsifying appraisals, credit reports or loan qualification documents.

  • Fraudulent qualification is where real estate agents and mortgage brokers assist buyers who would not otherwise qualify to purchase a particular home because of their poor credit history or low income.

  • Equity fraud occurs when a person forges a property owners signature on a deed and equity in the property is stolen through loans taken against the targeted property.

  • Equity skimming is when an owner sells his property to a bogus buyer at a price well above its actual value. Typically, the two will split the profits and the lender is left holding the bad loan.

  • Loan Servicing companies acquire the rights to loans that other companies have already made,  change the documents and illegally take the property.

  • Escrow shortages is where each year your escrow account is short the money needed to pay taxes and insurances. Your then required to either add shortage to your monthly loan payment or  pay the shortage in one lump sum.

  • Escrow padding adds charges to your escrow that were not agreed upon at the time of closing. 

  • Suspended payments are when you make payments every month but bank fails to apply the payment to your account and starts to foreclose.

  • Force placed insurance is when a lender buys you insurance you either already have or they claim you need, and adds it to your monthly payment. 

  • Unlawful foreclosure is where the lender or its servicer creates the circumstances so that you default. 

  • Home improvement scams involves real estate professionals getting loans in the name of fictitious borrowers, or in the name of people unaware their identities are being used.

  • Flipping, is buying property and reselling of it at an inflated price based on fraudulent appraisal values.

Precautions You Should Take   TOP


  • Predators may force you into foreclosure and steal your homes equity by having you sign unclear documents.

  • Verify an address location. It might be a vacant lot, abandoned house, or a business that is not a rental property.

  • When entering a roommate situation, do a background check on that person.

  • Never wire funds via Western Union or Money Gram, it's just like sending cash.

  • Verify all rental real estate leads you may be considering.

  • Do a search on the name and phone number of any "landlord."

  • Obtain your rental real estate leads from a reputable realtor or local real estate agency.

  • Delete emails that address you as "Dear Sir or Madam" if you have a rental property listed.

  • Listing a property may cause you to get bogus responses, especially from out of town.

  • Never send money to a property seller or the sellers agent.

  • Never travel to meet anybody in a different country.

  • Never call overseas numbers that start with: 0890 - 09xx - 0875 0845, 803 - 806 - 807 - 0900 - 900 - 901 - 902 as they are usually bogus or charge your phone by the minute, and it's legal.

  • Do not respond to impressive sounding company names or government agency trying to sell you homestead, finance, or insurance services.

  • Buy required life insurance on the open market, not through lending bank.  

  • Verify an agents credibility through sources other than theirs.

  • Never release personal financial information online or over the phone except when you initiate all of the action.

  • Do not respond to anyone offering to help you negotiate with your lender.

  • Use caution before you hire a foreclosure consultant to renegotiate a loan with a financial institution or sign a contract with an equity purchaser.

Take No Action   TOP


  • Price is too good to be true.

  • If a renter is out of your town or country, looking for someone to care for their property.

  • Email from your bank saying they need you to re-set your password.

  • Don't use the same lawyer as the purchaser or seller uses.

  • Website has no contact information

  • Don't send credit report to anyone you haven't verified.

  • Meet any landlord in public place before conducting business.

  • Verify landlord or rental company.

  • Do not rent a property without being able to have access to the inside of the house.

  • Do not pay if there is no signed paperwork and key that fits lock.

  • Do nothing if you hear, Must rent property immediately because of a need to move abroad.

  • Do not sign a contract without getting a written guarantee from a verified agent.

  • Insist upon a receipt, even if you pay by check.

  • Do not deal with a home owner who is vague about information or rushes you to sign a contract.

  • Property agent has contacted you.

  • Never send a fee to file for homestead exemptions, its always free.

  • Disregard any letter that includes strong language, i.e. "It is important that you respond to this offer immediately."

  • If you receive a checks for more than the required amount and asked to send back the difference, it's usually a scam.

Sight Unseen   TOP


  • Mortgage servicing companies push properties into foreclosure by paying property taxes late.

  • Refinancing company receives your deed and stops making mortgage payments so you could be evicted from your home. 

  • Scammer posts outdoor photos of a house/property they have no connection with including description of rental or sales arrangements.

Things You Can Do   TOP
  • Pay down your loan quicker and make an extra principal payment at any time Just mark the check "For prepaid principal" in the memo field.

  • For help with your credit contact National Foundation for Credit Counseling  http://www.nfcc.org/, or call 1-800-388-2227


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