Foreclosure crisis profiteers: Feasting on fear!Posted: March 8, 2016
Losing a home to foreclosure is most often viewed, by those standing safely outside the transaction, as an economic event. And that is certainly true.
However, for those living under the threat of losing their home, the experience is much more personal.
The thought that one’s home might be involuntarily swept out from under them unleashes a flood of emotions that may include fear, anger, depression, shame and frustration. People in the foreclosure process seldom mention money or wealth creation or asset preservation. They speak instead in terms of not uprooting their kids, of loving their home, their neighborhood and their schools.
We have heard firsthand many of the voices of those standing on the brink of losing their home. Even when clouded by anger, their words are filled with fear and anguish and desperation.
As with any disaster that leaves in its wake hurting and desperate people, the foreclosure crisis gave rise to a class of ruthless predators seeking personal gain at the expense of those who can afford it least.
Foreclosure rescue scams were born as a growing number of Californians were fighting to save their homes while facing a complex and daunting foreclosure process. Legitimate sources of assistance, such as the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) and Keep Your Home California (KYHC), also arose as viable options for homeowners, but often the false hope and empty promises of the scammers drown out the messages of these bona fide programs.
Over time, the scammers learned how to look and sound like real rescue programs. They frequently adopt names with elements of HAMP or KYHC embedded in them. To the untrained eye, their websites look legitimate, often using language and graphics taken directly from keepyourhomecalifornia.org.
The scammer sometimes tries to look like a government agency, sometimes like a law firm and sometimes they even have on their websites warnings about foreclosure rescue scams. Many of these con artists worked previously in the mortgage industry – so they speak the language. They look legitimate, say all the right things, and make promises that speak to the deepest fears of a homeowner in crisis.
The scammer leverages the emotions of hurting and scared people and then tries to strip them of what little resources they have remaining. In addition to having their money stolen, homeowners in the hands of a scammer lose valuable time and often go so deeply into the foreclosure process that any chance they had of saving their home, and any shred of remaining hope, is gone.
The scammer claims to have special powers over Loan Servicers and promises to fight for the homeowner, stop their foreclosure, and make all of the stress and turmoil disappear. To a beleaguered homeowner, weary from the fight, the scammer looks like an ally and a savior. But know this, these thieves have no influence, no power, and the only thing they want to relieve a homeowner of is their money.
In our next installment, we will discuss the keys to identifying a scam and what actions should be taken if you have been the victim of a foreclosure rescue scam.