Saturday, February 7, 2009

Scams


One of the reasons I started this blog is to inform people of life management skills in an informal way. I do not have all of the answers, but I am constantly striving to learn more, for myself, my family and clients in real estate. I have experience in consumer affairs starting out in college, on the job and volunteering.
I do not take the job of being a Realtor lightly. I am helping people buy a home, a place to thrive, relax, rejuvenate and enjoy life. I am also helping them to buy probably their biggest purchase to date. I want them to be informed and aware of all good and bad things and make an informed choice.
I have had no fewer than 12 job offers this past week from companies offering big bucks to help people with "Mortgage Restructuring". The ad reads about the same "Help save people about to lose their home." It is all a load of crap! These are scam artists that take a percentage, add junk fees, and prey on the naivete of uninformed consumers with their reams of fine print.
If you have trouble meeting your mortgage payments, start with your bank. Tell them the circumstances and ask if there is anything they can do. Keep records of when you called, who you talked with and what they said. If you get no satisfaction, go a step higher. Don't give up.
Another alternative is to call a respectable lender, maybe the one you first used, maybe a new one a friend, your banker or your Realtor recommends.
Try the FHA or VA in your city or online. Write your attorney general. Go to a law school and see if there is anyone that could help pro bono.
*Another area of scamming that is similar in some aspects is "Debt Settlement." Do not fall for these TV ads to help settle your bills. They charge exhorbitant fees and have proven to be unsatisfactory in helping much at all. Call the credit companies and arrange a repayment plan yourself. You could also contact the local County Extension Office. They have people who can counsel you about debt reduction and budgeting at no cost to you.
*Credit cards; if you have been turned down. This is if you have a credit score of 640 or less. These cards have fees like annual fees, application fees, monthly maintenance fees, credit line fees, and again, fine print that makes it impossible to ever get ahead in paying them off.
*"Sign up for bail out money." HELLO! They are trying to get your personal information along with your social security number to steal your identification.
Remember, Grandma was right again, if the deal is too good to be true, it probably is."
The key is to never get into a situation where you don't need to listen to these scam artists, but if you are in a financial dilemma, make a plan and chip away at your goals. Self discipline and your new goal will help you prevail.
"I can do anything, the impossible just takes longer!"

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