These so-called “foreclosure rescue companies”; claim they will help save your home, but in reality are out to make a profit — at your expense. If you are at risk of or in foreclosure, you should be on the lookout for foreclosure scams.

Red Flags for Foreclosure Rescue Scams

Asks for money upfront before providing any service

Instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, housing counselor, family, friends or others.

Asks for mortgage payments to be made directly to his or her company or a bank account set up by that person, rather than your lender.

Requires payment only in the form of cash, cashier’s check, or wire transfer.

Promises to stop the foreclosure process, no matter the circumstances.

Advises you to transfer your property deed or title to his or her company.

Offers to fill out paperwork for you

Asks for something to be done immediately and without delay.

This includes pressuring you into signing paperwork that you have not had the chance to read thoroughly or do not fully understand

Encourages you to lease your house and buy it back over time.

Offers to buy your house for a fixed price that is not set by the housing market at the time of sale.

Asks for you to give a power of attorney

Asks for signatures on a grant deed or deed of trust

Asks for signatures on a document that has lines left blank

Fails to provide copies of signed documents

Refuses or fails to put an oral promise in writing

If you have been a victim of a foreclosure-related scam or approached by a scam artist, you may report the incident to the following organizations and government enforcement agencies:

California Attorney General – www.ag.ca.govCalifornia

Department of Real Estate – www.dre.ca.gov

Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) – www.hud.gov

Federal Trade Commission (FTC) – www.ftc.gov

Your local Better Business Bureau – www.bbb.org

If you are at risk of foreclosure or have already received a foreclosure notice, you should contact your lender immediately. Homeowners also may seek the advice of a reputable housing, financial or credit counselor,attorney, or other qualified professional. Homeowners may visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Web site at http://www.hud.gov/ to view its Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure and its list of California HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. In addition, the non-profit Home ownership Preservation Foundation has a 24/7 toll-free Home owner’s HOPE Hotline at (888) 995-HOPE.

Copyright 2009 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS (C.A.R.). Permission is granted to C.A.R.members only to reproduce this material for non-commercial purposes. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R. Legal Department. All rights reserved.The information contained herein is believed to be accurate as of April 9, 2009. It is intended to provide general answers to general questions and is not intended as a substitute for individual legal advice. Advice in specific situations may differ depending upon a wide variety of factors. Therefore, readers with specific legal questions should seek the advice of an attorney.