The thought of owing more than your home is worth or being months behind on your mortgage can make you easy prey for Scams. Many companies who appear to be legitimate saviors may end up kicking you while your down. One of the problems seem to be that the vultures know that most of us don’t read all the fine print or are to trusting to get a second opinion on what kind of a deal they are really getting. There are a few ways they can get you, one way is by having you pay them up front cash and never producing on their promises, or by having you sign over your home with the promise of returning it after all their fees and interest are paid. Here are a few tips on what to look for and what actions you can take to prevent Mortgage scams:
Always be weary of anyone who contacts you that has no affiliation with your mortgage lender. Always check the credentials of anyone you are in business with.
Never sign your house over to anyone without first receiving legal advice (you maybe able to obtain free legal advice in your area).
Do not do give out any moneys in advance. Any legitimate company or non-profit organization will not demand payment up front.
Watch out for companies who want you to sell your house and then rent or lease it back from them.
Always keep in contact with your lender (you may not like what they have to say but it might keep you out of further financial ruin).
Anyone who seems to rush you into making decisions or sign documents is a huge red flag.
Never pay your mortgage to anyone but your lender. Even if you are convinced you are working with a legitimate individual or company.
If it seems to good to be true it probably is
There are several agencies who can help you during your troubling time. If you have questions on finding some help you can contact http://www.hud.gov for an approved counselor. You may also check out your states foreclosure laws at http://www.foreclosurelaw.org.
We have all seen the signs on the side of the road or received an annoying email telling you you can “be your own boss” or “earn six figures from home”. We would all love to make a lot of money fast and easily but it is just not reality. Many of these SCAMS are pyramid schemes where a percent of what you make goes to the person who signed you up and you get a percentage of any one you signed up. Although you can make money with these you have to be willing to be a little pushy and possibly buy products from a specific company at no real discount. Other programs offer to help you get started as a medical transcription or a bill collector(usually called by a different name), but you have to give them an up front fee. Especially watch out for any scheme that could get you in trouble with you state licensing agencies, you can get sued or fined heavily. Here are some examples to watch out for:
Signs or emails claiming to give you a way to get rich quick and easy.
Programs that ask for a fee up front.
Any schooling that can be done in a few weeks or even months from schools you have never heard of.
People posing as a common business or Internet company you have heard of(Google, Amazon, ebay), it is easy to make an email look like an official business email.
Know that people wont go out of their way to show you the secrets of their success without there being something in it for them. These businesses need you much more than you might need them.
Finally do your research, the Internet is a great way to find out about possible scam business opportunities. Do a Google search of the companies name and a search on that particular business(i.e. medical transcription, medical coding). Also feel free to send us an email and we can do some research for you. If you are interested in finding some legitimate ways to work from home check out a list from about.com and some tips to starting a home based business from entrepreneur.com.
Scams targeting your account information are getting more frequent. The ones I have seen are in the forms of emails, phone calls, or text messages informing the recipient that their account has been suspended and they will need to call a customer service number. Once they have you on the line they will want you to verify all your account information so they know it is you. Unfortunately on the other end is a scam artist probably in some apartment half way across the country with all your private information. They will say they are from a local bank in your area, in my case Bank of the Cascades and will just start contacting anyone in the area. In my case I don’t even bank at the Bank of the Cascades but they figure if they send it to 10 people they will catch 2. Here is a recent text I received:
“Bank of the Cascades alert: your card has been DEACTIVATED. Please contact us at 541-647-1133 to REACTIVATE your card.”
The only thing we can do is to alert your local police department and the bank you have received the text about. Some people can lose a lot of money before they can be shut down so pass it on to everyone you know.
Have you ever received an email boasting of great prices from an online pharmacy? Buyer beware! Many times these pharmacies operate outside of the U.S. and can take advantage of the lack of consumer protection laws. Many times these pharmacies will offer prescription drugs without a prescription, or offer to get you a prescription from one of there own doctors. The problem occurs when the drug you have received will be diluted, poor quality, medications that have been tainted, or are different drug all together. Some of these websites will start ripping you off by asking for a small membership fee, and some very personal secure information. With the prices for prescription drugs skyrocketing it is not a surprise that we would all look for better prices, but lets not forget that some deals are to good to be true! Here is a list of things to look for when using an online Pharmacy:
Make sure there is a physical address and phone number for the Pharmacy.
They boast of “No doctors prescription needed”,” or we will obtain one for you”.
Prices are unbelievable low.
Uses spam emailing.
Always check the credit card processing page has a https in front of the page address (the S stands for Secure and it must contain the S).
If you ever received a letter from the FBI on official looking letter head with the director of the FBI on it wouldn’t you think it was real. Maybe not but scam artists rely on the odds. If they mail out a thousand letters they may get back two responses and thats all they need. On the FBI’s scams and warnings page they give examples of how they are being used to target victims. Some of them involve claims of lottery winnings or of large inheritance (they will ask you pay the taxes and fees upfront). They also use letters and emails to extort money from the recipient claiming to be official FBI business. Feel free to contact the FBI by submitting an online inquiry, or at their contact page. The site also has scam alerts and a list of things to watch out for.
Find a certain time of the month to check all your statements. You may be surprised to find things that were purposely charged to your accounts and some that may have accidentally been charged to your accounts. Remember that your medical bills are subject to fraud and accidental over charges. Many people do not question these accounts and not only do they affect your pocket but can increase insurance premiums for everyone. Unfortunately some of our medical professions are subject to making mistakes just like the rest of us. If you monitor your accounts every month you will find mistakes from time to time, and if gone uncorrected can become reoccurring fees out of your pockets. Another good reason to check your accounts is to see where you are spending money and can be a big help in budgeting.
Well I Chris Cator the author of this blog has been ripped off big time. You would think that I would be good at sniffing out potential frauds but I got fooled. I use a company called Uship for deliveries and I accepted a bid from a company called ICON Worldwide (funny how the name is “ICON”). The shipment was to be delivered in 3 to 5 days and what a surprise it never showed up. I got excuse after excuse, and was told it will be there next week, and then next week, and then next week. Well $1800 dollars later I am out the shipping money and the $4500 dollars of products. I guess I figured that Uship screens the shippers, but I should have done my research. It is my money and I am the only one who can really protect it. I have disputed the charge with my credit card company but even if I get the $1800 back I am still out my products (for my website Indiasessentials.com). What can be done; nothing really. I submitted a complaint with Uship and maybe they will get rid of them as a member, but I am sure they will be off to a new scam. I guess it is easy for an outsider to detect a scam than someone who has a financial interest in the transaction. Well we will just keep trying.