The Home Scam is on the Rise – Kiowa County Signal

By Denise Green
Better Business Bureau

The nationally recognized Better Business Bureau (BBB) ​​has identified another new scam, aimed at those who may already be in financial difficulty. Scammers don’t just steal identities or access and drain bank accounts. Recently there have been reports of thieves who are out to take over your home via a new type of scam. The owners are tricked into handing over their property to the scammer who has posed as someone trying to “help” them through their financial difficulties.

How the Scam Works By accessing public records, scammers can identify victims. They can figure out if someone is behind on a mortgage payment or in foreclosure. They contact the victim saying they are a “Foreclosure Specialist”, or with a similar title that seems relevant to the victim’s situation. Scam artists can be exceptional at faking empathy, disguising themselves as trustworthy and expert in support.

The “specialist” gives the victim a description of what appears to be a way out of the financial difficulties. Their “plan” appears to be a way for the victim to keep the home. It can be hard to resist such a sales pitch when the victims are desperate, and the scammers know it all too well. They describe a way to modify the victim’s mortgage and reduce the payments. To get the ball rolling, they ask the victim to sign some legal documents. Failure on the part of the victim to read documents carefully (and the details may be cleverly concealed in technical financial terminology) or to allow a scammer to fill in areas of a document that the victim has already signed, may result in loss of home.

In one version of the scam, the victim may be required to make monthly “lease” payments. In due course, the victim will be evicted and will take possession of your property. Undoing such a situation after the victim has given everything to a scammer is a long and difficult process.

Avoid Deed Theft Here are BBB’s tips to protect yourself from deed scams:

• Always refuse to sign your deed. There is no guarantee that you can get it back, even if the scammer used deception.

• Be especially resilient to pressure to act quickly for credit repair or avoidance of foreclosure. They may try to provoke an emotional reaction from you, claiming that if you don’t accept their “help”, you will definitely lose everything.

• Beware of false promises. Legitimate companies don’t make promises they may not be able to keep. A scammer may tell you that he can guarantee that your house will be safe if you accept his offer.

• Ask for help only from trusted sources. For those who are behind on their mortgage payments and other bills, or who have received a foreclosure notice, there are some really helpful local housing advice organizations that can help. A list of government-approved housing counseling services can be found at: https://www. hud.gov/states/kansas/homeownership/hsgcounseling If you’re in financial trouble, don’t make it worse by falling for this scam to steal your home. If you have any questions you may have about this or any other potential scam you encounter, contact BBB at (800) 8562417 or visit our website at BBB.org.

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