Throughout this crisis, we have seen the good in people. We have those on the front lines fighting to protect us. Essential workers are making sure that we have food on our tables. Assistance programs to help us to financially get through it. These are good things. However, we still worry about our health, the health of our loved ones, our jobs, and our financial future. I find it incredibly sad that we must also worry about financial scammers during COVID-19.
The most common types of financial scammers during COVID-19 that I see are foreclosure rescues, debt settlement companies, and financial bailouts.
These scammers will contact you to tell you that they will save your home from foreclosure. They will tell you that they are mortgage brokers or lenders. Their foreclosure rescue loan documents are a promise to refinance your current mortgage and bring it current. Thus, you will avoid the foreclosure of your home. In reality, these documents are actually deed transfer documents. If you were to sign these documents, you would be signing away the ownership of your home. To make matters worse, you will pay your monthly mortgage payment to these scammers. The payments will go into their pockets, not to paying off your mortgage. And, at some point, you will be evicted from the premises.
Debt Settlement Companies
The scammers promise to negotiate with your credit card companies. They tell you that they can eliminate or reduce your credit card debt. If asked for a large, up-front fee, run for the hills. These scammers will pocket your fee and do nothing else. Sure, they will tell you all about their years of successfully negotiating with credit card companies. And, they will spout off their wild stories of success. But at then end of the day, you will still have your credit card debt and the problems attached to it. Side note – similarly, these scammers will make the same promises about your car loans and leases. You will get the same results.
The scammers focus on people who have already build some equity into their homes but are having financial difficulties. The scammers promise short-term cash infusion by tricking the homeowner to sign over the title of the property. They let you stay in the house as a renter. Or, they will make arrangements to enter into a buy-back program. The problem is that the terms are much worse than the original loan. In the end, most people cannot keep up with the new terms. The scammers now have the equity of the home. The homeowner loses the home. In the worst-case scenario, the homeowner is still on the hook for the original mortgage.
If you have mounting debt and financial difficulty, please call me. There are other options. Like I said earlier, I find it incredibly sad that we must also worry about financial scammers during COVID-19. Please be aware and safe out there.