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Avoid these foreclosure scams

When you find yourself behind on mortgage payments and the prospect of losing your house is becoming all too real, it's natural to feel a little desperate about your situation. After all, your home is your sanctuary; it's where you raise your family and it's the place where you hold all your fondest memories. So the idea of having to let go of that can leave you stressed and vulnerable. Sadly, there are many people out there who might try to take advantage of you while you are involved in foreclosure proceedings.

The following are some of the more common scams perpetrated on unsuspecting homeowners:

  • Giving up the deed. If your lender is threatening to take your home away, sometimes another lender may try to step in and offer help by "temporarily" taking over your deed to stop the foreclosure. However, once the deed is in this lender's hands, he or she may borrow against your home, charge you rent and essentially treat you like a tenant in your own home.
  • The dreaded balloon payment. Another lender may promise to stop your foreclosure by offering refinancing. Be sure to analyze the terms of the loan carefully. Some of these loans force you to just pay interest every month until the last month of the agreement. On that date, the entire balance is due. If you can't pay, your home may be taken away.
  • Equity Skimming. In this scam, a "buyer" comes to you offering to take care of your mortgage if you sign the deed over. He or she then collects rent for a bit and then lets the property go into foreclosure anyway.

If you're facing foreclosure on either a home or a commercial property, it's important to remember that you have rights. A Florida attorney can take a look at your situation and may be able to help save your property.

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