If you are looking for help in foreclosure prevention be sure you call on the right source. Sissy Osteen, Oklahoma State University Cooperative Extension resource management specialist, said to be sure the agency you are getting counsel from is on the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s list of approved agencies. “If you are approached by foreclosure counselors either by mail, phone or in person make sure they are on the HUD approved list,” she said. “The HUD Web site is http://www.hud.gov/ or you can call them at 877-483-1515. Most HUD counselors provide no-cost counseling services and some provide low-cost counseling.”
Osteen said do not agree to work with a counselor who collects a fee before providing you with any services or who accepts payment only by wire transfer or cashier’s check.
“Basically, don’t pay money to anyone unless you know exactly what services you will receive,” she said.
Potential victims are easy for scammers to find since mortgage lenders publish notices before foreclosing on homes. After reading the notices, con artists then contact their targets.
“If a person offers you a guarantee, be cautious,” Osteen said. “Reputable counselors won’t guarantee to stop the foreclosure process, no matter the circumstances. This usually involves legal action outside the abilities of a counselor. Working with a legitimate counselor can definitely increase your chances of keeping your home, just be careful of those with promises. Be sure to get everything in writing.”
When asked to sign paper work, be sure to read it carefully and understand what you are signing.
Osteen said do not get pressured into signing anything or letting the counselor fill out the forms for you. “Make sure you have talked to an attorney before signing any papers that transfer the title of your home to another party,” she said.
If an offer sounds too good to be true, chances are it probably is and you may be a victim of foreclosure fraud.
“A mortgage lender or a financial counselor can assist you in finding real options to avoid foreclosure,” Osteen said. “If someone is offering to consult with your lender and offers to arrange to stop or delay foreclosure for a fee be sure to check his or her credentials, reputation and experience. It’s important to protect yourself and not be a victim of a foreclosure scam.”
Oklahoma State University, U.S. Department of Agriculture, State and Local Governments Cooperating: The Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons regardless of race, color, national origin, religion, gender, age, disability, or status as a veteran, and is an equal opportunity employer.