If we’re not careful, we can fall victim to mortgage scams that cause millions of Americans to lose their hard-earned money each year. Mortgage fraud is another type of scam that we should add on our list of “things to look out for unless you want to lose a lot of money.”

These con artists often target people whose houses are about to go into foreclosure, preying on the fact that these people are desperate to keep their home. Here are some smart ways you can avoid this type of scam:

1. Talk to your mortgage company only

Avoid dealing with people that aren’t from your mortgage loan company. If you live in Boston, for example, only trust mortgage representatives that you meet in the office or have a local caller ID when they try to contact you over the phone. If someone approaches you and says they are from your mortgage company, ask for ID just to be sure. Some scammers assume the role of mortgage representatives and can convince you to hand over important documents, such as the title of your house.

2. Be wary of people who call you

If someone calls you and says they work for the government or an agency that you haven’t heard of before, be suspicious. Calls like these are usually made by con artists who want to scam you out of your money. If they offer to save your home from foreclosure but ask you to pay a fee, then it’s probably a scam. Actual government agencies that provide this type of program don’t ask for money.

Additionally, even the person on the other end sounds convincing and trustworthy, ask for their information (full name, government email address, office address, contact number, etc.). If they are unable or unwilling to share this information with you, it’s most likely a scam.

Mortgage Scams

3. Don’t fall for mortgage reconstruction scams

A common type of mortgage scam is con artists offering to assist you with negotiating your mortgage, then taking over your mortgage and scamming money right out of your pockets. Not only will you lose the fee that you’ve paid them, but you will also get a late fee for the payment/s they didn’t make to your lender.

To avoid this scam, don’t talk to strangers who are offering mortgage assistance. Don’t afraid to be rude; just say no from the get-go. Only work with your mortgage company about negotiating your rates. Chances are, they will be more than willing to help you out.

4. Shut down people who want your title

Getting scammed for your home’s title is one of the worst scams that you could fall for and the first one that you want to avoid. Scammers usually offer you a rescue loan to save your house from foreclosure, but the fine print states that you’re surrendering your home to them. Alternatively, they can also offer to buy your property with the promise of letting you repurchase it later after you pay rent for a specified period. Of course, these strategies can lead to you losing your title.

No matter how desperate you are to keep your house, it’s still crucial that you avoid these types of mortgage scams. This way, you can find legitimate ways to prevent foreclosure and avoid getting scammed.

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