The California Department of Real Estate is issuing a warning to Spanish speaking consumers to be wary of home foreclosure rescue scams. Desperate times call for desperate measures and many homeowners who have been hurt by the weakened economy are having difficulty keeping current with their mortgage payments. These people are preyed upon by scammers who take advantage of their victims’ desperation by offering loan modifications or other mortgage assistance in return for an advance fee. Once the fee has been paid, these scammers vanish. In California and other states with significant Spanish speaking populations, Latino scammers are preying upon people sharing the same cultural heritage. Often the victims trust these scammers because they speak the same language and appear to be “like us.” This is a common type of fraud called “affinity fraud” which is perpetrated by scammers who share some similar characteristic with their victims, such as ethnicity, race, religion or otherwise.
Never pay an up front fee for assistance with your mortgage. If you are having trouble paying your mortgage, speak directly with the lender or retain a lawyer to act on your behalf. If you are ever approached by someone “like you” who offers such assistance or anything else, such as an investment opportunity, you should be even more skeptical not less skeptical. Do your due diligence and check out this person and his or her program before getting involved. Too often it will be a scam.