Scammers target homeowners struggling to pay their mortgage

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Buying a home is hard enough, but that, coupled with a global pandemic, is causing many Americans to struggle to pay their mortgages. With this knowledge, more and more scammers are targeting landlords.

“This pandemic, we have seen extraordinary growth in values, we have seen pandemic-related market disruptions and increased construction costs in the housing market. Over the past 12 months, the house price index has risen more than 20%,” said Sam Abed, Executive Realtors.

Sam Abed, a local broker, said that because of this 20% increase, the median home price in Bakersfield has risen to $385,000.

“During the pandemic, we haven’t seen an increase in mortgage lending, but now that the government is getting involved in raising interest rates, we are seeing a big change. I’ve seen a few trusted third parties that have been canceled.

Abed said after interest rates rose from 3% to 5%, he saw mortgage rates go up. For example, for a $297,000 home, a monthly payment that would normally have been $1,700 would now be $2,200.

“It really had a huge impact, so if you qualified for a house for $500,000 and that interest rate went up, more than likely you now qualify for 400, or 400 and a quarter . So if you’re in receivership, or you’re building a house for example, and you’re locked into a $500,000 contract and there’s a 0.5% increase, you might end up voiding that receivership .

Local estate agent Nona Darling said she has seen customers struggling to pay their mortgages and that is when they are most vulnerable, but there are ways to avoid scammers.

“If you have a problem with your loan, or a question about your mortgage or your home, don’t just take a phone call from a random stranger or a text message. Contact a real estate agent or contact your mortgage lender with whom you have your house right now.

Darling said to review your loan documents and get the number for help.

California Attorney General Rob Bonta recognizes that there are many scams that landlords can fall prey to and has these tips for you, including:

  • Do not pay upfront fees for loan modification services.
  • Don’t transfer your title or sell your home to a “foreclosure rescuer.”
  • Don’t pay your mortgage payments to anyone other than your lender or loan servicer.
  • Never sign documents without reading them first.

If your complaint is about a real estate broker or salesperson, visit the California Real Estate Department (DRE) for details, or call the DRE public information line at (877) 373-4542.

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