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Avoiding foreclosure, rebuilding your credit safely

For many Maryland homeowners, financial difficulties lead to a great deal of stress. The fear of losing one's home is a serious stressor, and can lead individuals to make choices that they might otherwise avoid. In the struggle to save your home and avoid foreclosure, it is easy to fall victim to a wide range of scams. At the end of the day, personal bankruptcy may offer a better path toward retaining your home and rebuilding your credit.

One scam that is currently in play involves a high level of technological sophistication. Scammers begin by searching through public records to identify distressed homeowners who are in the beginning stages of foreclosure with Wells Fargo Bank. Then, official-looking information packets are mailed to those homeowners, with the promise of restructuring one's home loan.

The packets include all of the documents that a legitimate loan restructuring offer would include. An offer letter, loan application, hardship affidavit and other forms are included. Some documents even have an official-looking reproduction of the seal of the U.S. Treasury. Overall, it is very difficult for the average consumer to discern that these forms are all fraudulent.

Homeowners then complete the forms and mail in the "required" fees, sometimes totaling thousands of dollars. Many of these homeowners believe that this may be their last chance to keep their homes. In the end, however, the scammers simply walk away with your money, as well as all of the information needed to engage in identity theft. For those in Maryland who are struggling, personal bankruptcy offers a far safer means of keeping your home and rebuilding your credit.

Source: Herald-Tribune, Mortgage modification scam shows growing sophistication, Josh Salman, Feb. 13, 2014

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