Our previous blog discusses how to recognize and avoid mortgage relief scammers. But if it is too late to avoid being a victim of mortgage relief scams, you must follow the proper measures to report the crime, here are five actions to take.
Victims of mortgage relief scams are the ones living and dealing with the consequences of ruined credit and financial loss, as well as a painful, devastating spectrum of emotions such as rage, fear, and frustrations that are also entirely draining.
Although it may be difficult to achieve complete financial recovery or prevent foreclosure, you must disclose the crime as soon as possible. Reporting financial fraud assists law enforcement, regulators, and government agencies in ending the fraud, preventing further victimization of customers, and pursuing the criminals who conduct the scam.
Perpetrators frequently dispose of your money quickly after stealing it. You might never see your money again. So, your recovery is about more than just recouping your losses. It is about safeguarding your future financial health and wealth, as well as finding ways for you to heal emotionally from the crime.
Taking the actions below will empower you to regain control and help you progress in rebuilding your life.
1.Build Your Case
Begin by outlining your case. Include anything you can remember. It is sometimes simpler to voice record your case and write it down. Next, discuss how the scammer initially approached you and each step you made along the process. Because you will be telling your case to many agencies, you must write it down to be consistent and thorough. For this reason, the act of recreating the scam’s occurrences will assist you in remembering all crucial data. Take your time – the scam may have been ongoing for years.
- Create a contact sheet with names, mail and email address, telephone numbers, website address, and any regulatory registration numbers i.e., NMLS #;
- The police report, if any;
- Obtain your most recent credit report from all three credit reporting companies (annual creditreport.com);
- Any evidence of the scam or deception;
- Phone conversation logs with dates, names, and phone numbers of any representatives you spoke to and notes on the information they gave you;
- Any other relevant documentation concerning the scam.
2.Know Your Rights
Federal and state laws impart rights to you. To better protect yourself, learn what rights you have.
- Federal victim rights – U.S. Department of Justice provides information on victim rights at https://www.justice.gov/usao/resources/crime-victims-rights-ombudsman.
- State victim rights – Find your state attorney general at https://www.naag.org
3.Report the Crime to the Appropriate Agencies
There are benefits from reporting the scam to many agencies that apply to the situation. For example, if an attorney commits the scam, the state bar association would be one agency to contact. File a complaint to the agencies below:
- Housing and Urban Development (HUD) office of the Inspector General – (800) 347-3735 firstname.lastname@example.org
- Federal Trade Commission Complaint Assistant (FTC) – (877) FTC-HELP https://reportfraud.ftc.gov – They have a guided process with detailed instruction for filing a complaint
- Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3) – if the scam occurred online https://www.ic3.gov/Home/ComplaintChoice/default.aspx – Ran by the FBI and the National White Collar Crime Center. If the scam did not occur online, contact the local FBI field office or submit a tip at https://tips.fbi.gov.
- Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) – (877) 411-2372 https://www.consumerfinance.gov – CFPB helps regulate and enforce consumer financial products and services under existing federal consumer financial laws, as well as educate and empower consumers to make informed financial decisions.
- Your local state agencies at http://www.preventloanscams.org/states
- As well as, contact your local police – they may or may not be able to help; however, in a financial dispute, a police report on file can be useful. Be sure to get the report number and a copy of the report for your case.
4.Treat the Loan Scam as Identity Theft.
The scam will affect your credit as well as your finances. Furthermore, scammers will most likely have your sensitive information, such as social security number, bank account, credit and debit cards, and other identifying information, so you must register fraud alerts to prevent identity theft. AnnualCreditReport.com is the ONLY official source for free credit reports every 12 months. Look over these reports for accounts that are fraudulent and dispute them.
5.What To Do If You Paid a Scammer
Often, scammers urge you to pay in ways that make it difficult to recover your money. With this in mind, the sooner you act regardless of how you paid the scammer, the better.
Consider a civil suit.
Civil suits are frequently the best way to recover lost assets. Utilizing a civil suit, in some circumstances, has been able to remove liens and give the proper title to the victims’ properties. Specifically, civil attorneys that work for victims of financial fraud can examine the facts and circumstances of your case and advise you on the civil remedies available to you.
If you are the victim of a scam and you feel overwhelmed, remember to breathe. There are ethical agencies available to help and walk you through the journey. In addition, the National Crime Victim Bar Association can provide referrals to attorneys who litigate on behalf of victims of crime and who offer initial consultations at no cost or obligation.
- National Crime Victim Bar Association – For a referral, email: email@example.com
- Find more information about civil justice at www.victimbar.org.
Next week we address the cost of scams and examine the toll on mental health.