Homeowners in Maryland who are experiencing financial difficulties may wonder how they are going to pay their mortgage in full and on time each month. When this occurs, owners should take immediate action to make sure they do not get in too much trouble and lose their home. Unfortunately, in the process of avoiding foreclosure, these people are more vulnerable to scams, so it is important to be able to identify them.
According to the Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation, there are numerous resources for those facing foreclosure. One of the first people homeowners should contact is a housing counselor. This is a trained professional who provides low to no cost services to those in financial trouble.
These services are not-for-profit, and a counselor can help one contact the loan servicer and potentially make modifications to the loan itself. This may include a lowering of the interest rate and/or monthly payment so the homeowner can stay in the home and continue to pay off the mortgage over time.
While working with a counselor is important, many homeowners are vulnerable and can fall victim to those who offer to help. Money Crashers discusses some common scam techniques and how to avoid them. Some ways scammers make money and hurt the homeowner include:
· Ask for upfront fees
· Trick owners into signing over the deed
· Collect mortgage payments directly
To avoid being a victim, people should initially be wary of help and perform due diligence. First, the rules state a company cannot collect money upfront. Companies must also disclose certain facts when they introduce themselves.
Some steps owners can take are to research the company first, run a background check, read all paperwork before signing and continue to make payments to the mortgage company. One should also never sign over the deed unless it is part of the home’s sale to a legitimate buyer.