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Home Loans and Mortgages - Beware of New "Mortgage Elimination" Scam
The booming real estate market has allowed many Americans to become "equity rich." They may not have a lot of cash on hand, but they might have equity in their homes worth several hundred thousand dollars or more. Unfortunately, this increase in home wealth has spawned an equally booming business in equity theft, as more and more thieves find increasingly clever ways to con homeowners out of their equity, their homes, or both. One clever new scam involves companies that promise to completely "eliminate" a homeowner's mortgage. For a fee of a few thousand dollars, these companies claim that a homeowner can have a free and clear title to their home without paying off the remaining debt. How does this scam work?
This scam is a bit more complicated than other scams that often use simple forgery of identity theft. In this "mortgage elimination" scam, the homeowner places his home in a trust with the mortgage elimination company as the trustee. The trustee files a long, tedious, frivolous, letter of complaint with the mortgage company, giving them a mere ten days to respond. Should the mortgage company not respond within ten days, and they frequently do not, the trust claims that they are then free of the mortgage obligation. Using a questionable power of attorney procedure, the trust then files with the local register of deeds for a release of the home's title. This makes it appear that the home is now owned without a lien.
The legalities of this range from murky and questionable to outright fraud. It gets even worse when the trustee, claiming clear title to the home, takes out a home equity loan, cashes the check, and promptly disappears. The resulting mess often leaves the original homeowner with a pile of lawsuits, numerous visits from the police and the obligation to pay two mortgages. This scam is currently going on only in certain parts of the country, and isn't yet widespread. Homeowners can easily avoid being taken by this scam by simply recognizing one simple truth - you cannot simply waive a mortgage obligation away without paying off the loan. Remember, if it sounds too good to be true, it is too good to be true.
©Copyright 2005 by Retro Marketing. Charles Essmeier is the owner of Retro Marketing, a firm devoted to informational Websites, including End-Your-Debt.com, a Website devoted to debt consolidation information and HomeEquityHelp.net, a site devoted to information on home equity loans.
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