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If you’re looking for foreclosure prevention help, beware of
any business that:
• guarantees to stop the foreclosure process – no matter
what your circumstances.
• offers to make your loan more affordable and help you
• instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, or credit or
• collects a fee before providing you with any services.
• accepts payment only by cashier’s check or wire transfer.
• encourages you to lease your home so you can buy it back
• tells you to make your mortgage payments directly to it,
rather than your lender.
• tells you to transfer your property deed or title to it.
• offers to buy your house for cash at a fixed price that is not
set by the housing market at the time of sale.
• offers to fill out paperwork for you.
• pressures you to sign paperwork you haven’t had a chance
to read thoroughly or that you don’t understand.
Don’t Be A Victim!
The possibility of losing your home to foreclosure can
be terrifying. The fact that scam artists are preying on
the vulnerability of desperate homeowners is equally
frightening. Many so-called foreclosure “rescue”
companies claim they can help you save your home, but, in
reality, they rarely do. Unfortunately, foreclosure fraudsters
take your money, can ruin your credit, and wipe out the
equity you have in your home.
Loan modification companies are similar to foreclosure
“rescue” firms and are now being marketed aggressively to
borrowers who might be experiencing a hardship. In Arizona,
these companies are not required to be licensed and there
is no assurance that they have the training or expertise to
deliver on their promise. Loan modification offers can look
legitimate and some even replicate government agency
websites or used forged letterhead resembling your lender.
Anyone guaranteeing results or charging upfront fees to
“save your home” should be suspect.
Your mortgage lender – or any HUD-certified financial
counselor – can help you find real options to avoid
foreclosure, and at no cost. As your Attorney General,
I am committed to seeking solutions to the foreclosure
crisis and to protecting Arizona families.
Arizona Attorney General
If You Suspect A Scam, Contact:
Arizona Attorney General’s Office
Consumer Information & Complaints
800.352.8431 (Outside the Phoenix or
Tucson metro area)
Arizona Department of Financial Institutions
Federal Trade Commission
or call toll-free, 1.877.FTC.HELP
Better Business Bureau
More information on rescue scams
and the ways to protect yourself
can be found at:
The Arizona Attorney General’s office at
Don’t Borrow Trouble – Pima County
Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Task Force
To speak to a free local HUD certified
Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Help-Line
or go to: www.hud.gov/arizona
Arizona Attorney General
Educating • Protecting • Empowering
Phoenix, Arizona 85007
400 West Congress
Tucson, Arizona 85701
Outside the Phoenix or
Tucson Metro area:
How Scams Work
Foreclosure “rescue” firms and loan modification compa-nies
are plentiful these days. Some companies are only
interested in making a quick profit and they will use half
truths and outright lies to sell services that promise relief,
and often fail to deliver.
Potential victims are easy to find. Foreclosure “rescue”
professionals use a variety of tactics to find homeown-ers
in distress from foreclosure postings in the news-paper
and on the Internet or through public files at local
government offices. Other approaches include ads on the
Internet, television, the newspaper or posters on tele-phone
poles and bus stops. They sometimes also send
out personalized letters to homeowners and post signs in
The scam artists use simple and straight-forward
“Stop Foreclosure Now!”
“We guarantee to stop your foreclosure.”
“ Keep your Home. We know your home is
scheduled to be sold. No Problem!”
“ We have special relationships within many banks
that will speed up case approvals.”
“ We Can Save Your Home. Guaranteed. Free
“ We stop foreclosures everyday. Our team of
professionals can stop yours this week!”
In reality, these “rescue” companies most often do not
deliver and cannot guarantee that you will be helped.
They should be avoided. They encourage the homeowner
to stop working with their lender, servicer, and housing
counseling agency, and mislead the homeowner into
thinking that they will take care of everything.
If you suspect a scam, contact the Arizona Attorney
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Common Foreclosure Scams:
Phony Counseling or Phantom Help
The “rescuer” tells the borrower that he can negotiate a
deal with the servicer to save the house if the borrower
pays a fee first. Once the fee is paid, the rescuer takes
the money and then provides little or no assistance.
Lease or Buy-Back
Homeowners are deceived into signing over the deed to
their home to a scam artist who tells them they will be
able to remain in the house as a renter and eventually
buy it back. Usually, the terms of this scheme are so
demanding that the buy-back becomes impossible, the
homeowner gets evicted, and the “rescuer” walks off with
most or all of the equity.
Bait and Switch
Homeowners believe they are signing documents for a
new loan to make the mortgage current, but sign away
their home and are left holding the mortgage on a home
they no longer own.
Beware of people posing as mortgage brokers or
lenders and offering to refinance your loan so you can
afford the payments. Con artists may trick you into
signing over the ownership of your home by saying that
you are signing documents for a new loan.
There are several scam attempts to abuse the bankruptcy
laws. The bankruptcy process can be complicated and
expensive and the results can have a negative effect on
your credit for years to come. For example, the “rescuer”
may promise to negotiate with the lender or get a
refinancing on your behalf for an upfront fee. Instead, the
scam artist takes the fee and files a bankruptcy case in
your name—sometimes without your knowledge.
A buyer purchases the home for the amount of the late
payments and flips the home for a quick profit.
How To Protect Yourself From Scams
• DON’T pay money to people who promise to work
with your lender to modify your loan. Instead,
contact the Arizona Foreclosure Prevention Helpline
(1.877.448.1211) for a referral to a HUD-certified
counselor and receive free help.
• DO call your lender yourself. Your lender wants to hear
from you and would likely be more willing to work with
you than a foreclosure consultant.
• DON’T transfer or sign over the deed to your home as
part of a foreclosure avoidance transaction. A deed
should be signed over only if you intend to sell the
home for a fair price.
• DON’T pay your mortgage payments to someone
other than your lender or loan servicer, even if he/she
promises to pass the payment on.
• DON’T sign any documents without reading and
understanding them first, or contracts and documents
that have blank spaces. Many homeowners think
they are signing documents for a new loan to pay off
their mortgage and they discover they have actually
transferred ownership to the “rescuer.”
• DO consult an attorney, financial advisor or
knowledgeable family member before signing any
• DO contact a housing counselor approved by the
U.S. Dept. of Housing & Urban Development (HUD),
who may be able to help you for free. For a referral
to a housing counselor near you, call the Arizona
Foreclosure Prevention Helpline (1.877.448.1211)
or go to www.hud.gov/arizona.
• If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Trust
your instincts and seek help. Reporting suspicious
schemes helps prevent others from becoming victims.
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