Could I be a victim of a stop foreclosure scam?

With tax season underway, many in Southaven probably have finances on the mind. Some receiving tax refunds will likely use that money to pay down existing debts. For others, even a sizable refund check will do little to dent their personal debt. Struggling to pay one's bills is not unusual at any time of year, but unfortunately scammers exist who won't hesitate to take advantage of an overwhelmed and confused individual.

When it comes to housing, sadly there is no shortage of scams targeting homeowners who can't meet their monthly mortgage payments. According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, scammers in the area of loan modification are likely to focus on potential victims who are finding it tough to make mortgage payments, recently became unemployed or are imminently facing foreclosure. Scammers may take on the guise of financial advisors or consultants regarding debt relief. Their promises - which often appear "too good to be true" - typically involve getting rid of back debt or lowering a homeowner's monthly payments.

It may not hurt to be particularly wary of those who promise to help modify one's mortgage, especially if the deal sounds unrealistic. Those who were guaranteed modifications to their loans may want to know more if they were asked to stop making their loan payments, pay a fee to the modifier, sign a contract, direct their mortgage payments to an entity other than their existing lender or hand over their property's title to another. These can all be potential signs of a financially damaging mortgage modification scam.

Thankfully, there are sound, legitimate options for those who need to stop foreclosure. It is possible for Chapter 13 bankruptcy to put an end to foreclosure proceedings; however, time is of the essence in this type of situation and it may be beneficial to speak to a Chapter 13 bankruptcy attorney right away. A lawyer can lay out a homeowner's options when his or her priority is keeping the family home.

Source: HUD.gov "Stop loan modification scams!," accessed Feb. 5, 2016

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