With difficult financial times come….scam artists. And if you’ve read this blog or watched the news, then you know that the mortgage world is no exception. Mortgage problems add a lot of pressure to people’s lives, and as a result turn many Las Vegas residents into scam victims.
Below are 4 frequent mortgage scams that you might encounter in Las Vegas.
1. Reverse mortgage
A reverse mortgage scam means that the scam artist has convinced a homeowner (often a senior citizen who has a fully paid home but could use more cash) to allow them to take out a mortgage against their home that would enable the homeowner to live in the home for “free.” However, what really happens is that the scam artist who promises to help set up the loan keeps the money from the transaction and leaves the homeowner with a big new mortgage to pay off.
A short-sale fraud means a homeowner is trying to put one over on a lender. Typically, a short-sale happens when a mortgage is underwater. The homeowner has to sell the home for less than the mortgage amount. And the lender agrees to take that amount as full payment for the mortgage. However, in some cases homeowners might get tricky if they find a better price for their home than the agreed-to short-sale price and end up with a windfall from their sale. This is a form of fraud committed by the homeowner and is illegal.
3. Loan modification scam
Loan modification scams generally involve the paying of up-front fees to one of those services that says they can help you get a loan modification. DO NOT TRUST ANY LOAN MODIFICATION SERVICE THAT REQUESTS AN UPFRONT FEE. This is now an illegal practice. These services are notorious for taking your money and then the homeowner never hears from them again.
5. Affinity fraud
An affinity group is any member or community group you might be a part of, such as your church or a club or any other community that shares a similar interest. Scam artists like to infiltrate these groups sometimes and then start signing people up for a scheme. They rely on the trust chain and goodwill within the group. This makes it hard to avoid for some people. But in a nutshell, if someone, even a friend, wants you to do hand over money for some sort of business opportunity that sounds too good to be true, don’t be afraid to say no. Or at least be skeptical.
For more questions about mortgage scams and other bankruptcy-related questions, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation by calling 702-880-5554.