Why CNN is Wrong About Foreclosure Rescue Scams
If you’re afraid – and you should be afraid – of getting ripped off by foreclosure rescue scams, you might think that CNN’s advice on how to spot foreclosure prevention rip-offs would be a good place to look. Sadly, you’d be wrong. Here’s why.
- Their advice is focused exclusively on those who are seeking “counseling.” In Florida, trying to seek counseling after a foreclosure case has been filed – without seeking the advice of a licensed attorney – could be a disaster, and possibly even illegal. Why? Because foreclosure cases are lawsuits. Only a practicing attorney, licensed in the state of Florida, can help you defend a foreclosure case.
- Their advice steers people exclusively to non-profits. While non-profit assistance can be a great boon to a homeowner in foreclosure – see, for example, the work of April Charney at Jacksonville Area Legal Aid – many people don’t qualify for free legal help.
- Their advice steers people to those with connections, rather than knowledge or skill. (They even say, “Some foreclosure counselors have a servicer’s VP for mortgage mitigation on speed dial.”) Having a speed-dial isn’t the same thing as getting the job done. Why? The VP for the servicer isn’t the person calling the shots in most cases. It’s the investors who own the loan who do. And there’s no one who has those people on speed dial. The only way to get them to budge is to fight back.
The Helpful Bits
It’s not all bad news over at CNN. Some of the things they say make sense. Two things stood out:
- Make sure someone is with you every step of the way. You don’t want to get bounced around from agent to agent, from rep to rep, having to restart the process every time. When you hire a Florida lawyer to defend your foreclosure, they have to stay on your case until the end, unless you or the judge say otherwise.
- Find out what you’re paying for, and when. In Florida, it’s now illegal for most non-lawyers to take any money from you until they have finished providing all services. And they have to spell it out for you in writing. So don’t pay any money to anyone until you know exactly what you’re getting, and who you’re getting it from.
There are new scams popping up every day, so be careful out there!