Friday, November 14, 2008

The Dos and Don'ts of Avoiding Losing Your Home to a Thief

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the sagging housing market seems to have increased the number of scam artists who are trying to take advantage of innocent homeowners. In addition, scammers are becoming even bolder with who they try to swindle. Whereas homeowners who were struggling to make their house payments were once at the top of the scammers' lists, the FBI reports that they are targeting those who are making regular payments as well.

Identity Theft and Home Loss

Two of the most common scams these shysters are implementing involve stealing the homeowner's identity. For example, the scammers may establish a line of credit based on the equity of a person's property. They then drain out the line of credit and leave the homeowner holding the bill. Another scam involves tricking the homeowner into singing over the title and then selling the home out from underneath the owner. While the owner can avoid losing his or her home to these con artists, it generally costs thousands of dollars and takes a great deal of time to prove who is the rightful ower.

Dos and Don'ts of Home Scams

In order to avoid being taken advantage of these scam artists, it is important to follow a few simple dos and don'ts. These include:

Do: Call your mortgage company if you are experiencing financial troubles. Discuss your situation with the loss mitigation department and see if there is a way you can work together to save your home.

Don't: Fall for promises made by individuals or "companies" who claim that they will help you save your credit or get a new mortgage with a new, lower monthly payment rate.

Do: Proceed with caution in any dealings regarding your home or home equity. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Don't: Sign away your ownership rights. No matter how convincing the person sounds, there is rarely a legitimate reason for signing over your home. Before signing over rights, contact your attorney and make certain the deal is legitimate.

Do: Read all paperwork thoroughly before signing. In addition to making certain you fully understand the paperwork, you should also avoid signing any contracts or documents with blank spaces.

Don't: Allow yourself to panic and make snap decisions. Scam artists prey on those who are desperate and, therefore, make quick decisions that they hope will provide them with a quick solution.

Do: Get it in writing. If you have finally struck what seems to be a good and legitimate deal, be certain to get it all in writing. Verbal agreements are difficult, if not impossible, to hold up in court.

By following these simple dos and don'ts, you can dramatically decrease your chances of being taken advantage of while making certain to get your finances properly squared away.

About the Author: Shannon Kietzman is a well known author and trusted resource. Shannon regularly writes for . For more info and to order your credit report with FREE credit score please visit

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