Friday, December 14, 2007
Don't Be a Victim: Mortgage Fraud
The American dream for many South Floridians has become a nightmare, and the number of foreclosures keep rising. The red flags are there. Here is Dave Kartunen with what to watch out for and how not to fall victim of Mortgage Fraud.
WSVN -- Erika Barrero is about to lose her home.
Erika Barrero: "I think it's the most devastating thing that a person can go through, knowing that you could lose everything in a matter of seconds."
She is facing foreclosure, and she is not alone. South Florida has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country.
Detective Garcia: "If you are getting into a property you cannot afford, sooner or later you are going to default."
Detective Garcia knows that the major reason so many are facing foreclosure has to do with fraud. His job is to crack down on the crooks, but you don't have to be a victim. First rule: Do your homework.
Detective Garcia: "Don't just pick a company or realtor out of the yellow pages."
Ask friends or family members for recommendations. Before you hire anyone, check to make sure they are licensed and insured. Another big area for fraud is the mortgage.
Detective Garcia: "You don't have to go with one bank, you have your options, and normally the mortgage broker should do their job to go to several places."
If the broker is pushing only one bank, that is a definite red flag. Find another broker and, finally, read everything before you sign anything.
Detective Garcia: "Make sure you understand what you sign, make sure somebody at closing is representing you whether it is the realtor you trust or whether it is an attorney that is looking on your behalf but always question."
Dave Kartunen: "These may all seem like pretty obvious tips, but there are some people in South Florida's struggling real estate market that are so desperate they will believe just about anything. Mortgage fraud has become such a serious problem that a new law was passed to prevent more scams."
Detective Garcia: "All these people are going to be held accountable because of the new law as of Oct. 1, so that's something to think about."
Dave Kartunen: "As for Erika Barrero and her family, she can not prove that she was part of a mortgage scheme. All she can do now is wait and pray for the best."