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Real estate fraud takes many forms and could affect you

Let us say that you are involved in the real estate business as a mortgage counselor, and you have achieved a reputation for fairness in your dealings with homeowners who are facing foreclosure.

Unfortunately, a nervous new client is accusing you of fraudulent activity. You suspect she has you mixed up with a scam artist, but you are worried because your career and good reputation are at stake.

Real estate scams are common

The housing bubble produced the perfect climate for real estate scams. Included were fraudulent activities associated with house flipping, get-rich-quick real estate courses and predators who targeted homeowners who were facing foreclosure. While people are more aware of real estate fraud these days, it is also true that the scams have become more sophisticated.

A recent bad experience

Many scammers work their schemes in the real estate business because there are so many people who are in financial trouble and terrified of losing their homes. Your client, Mrs. Jones, is one such person. She received a notice from her bank, warning of foreclosure due to nonpayment, and she feels she needs help in dealing with her lender. Mrs. Jones had a bad experience with a company who wanted a large, upfront fee to modify her loan. Fortunately, this aroused her suspicions, but now she does not know who to trust, including you.

FTC rules

The Federal Trade Commission requires that companies associated with real estate transactions adhere to strict rules so as to be above any kind of suspicion of fraudulent activity. The rules speak to items such as advertising practices, dealings between customers and lenders and written offers for services to be provided.

Seeking help

A criminal law attorney will tell you that accusations of real estate fraud are more common than you would think. Cases range from a simple misunderstanding to a complex, sophisticated scheme that relieves an unsuspecting victim of thousands of dollars. When your business and reputation are at stake, you need the help of an experienced advocate who will examine the facts carefully and work diligently toward the goal of protecting your good name.

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