Stop Foreclosure Rescue Scammers Before They Scam You

foreclosure rescue scam victim
foreclosure rescue scam victim

Renate Brevard fell victim to a foreclosure rescue scam--twice. First by the bogus agency that promised to help repair her credit so that she could refinance her mortgage. Then by the lawyer she hired to help her stave off the foreclosure that eventually claimed her home.

The problems all started for Brevard, 47 (pictured left with her granddaughter), when she refinanced the three-bedroom, 2.5-bath rambler in New Carrollton, Md., that she had owned since 2001. When her new adjustable rate mortgage reset from just under $1,100 per month to about $1,500, the accounting specialist fell behind on her mortgage payments. By 2007, she was struggling to hold onto the home, where she lived with her granddaughter, her teen-age son and a daughter.

"People in those situations are vulnerable, and the foreclosure scammers are always a step ahead," says Ed Jacob, executive director at the Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, which provides housing counseling to homeowners struggling with mortgage payments.

"The sad truth is that Ms. Brevard's story is not unique," says Marietta Rodriguez, director for homeownership and lending at NeighborWorks America. "With the national foreclosure rate persistently high, more and more homeowners are falling victim to scammers who are openly taking advantage of individuals in difficult circumstances."

Brevard learned the hard way how foreclosure rescue scams can take advantage of desperate homeowners. Here's her advice to help others detect foreclosure rescue scams so that they don't become victims, too: