As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, millions wonder when it will end. The traumas of a pandemic go much further than the obvious health implications of countless Americans. For many, the threat of homelessness is also top of mind as the end of federal foreclosure and eviction moratoriums will happen eventually.
The economic and financial impact of COVID-19 has made housing security even more uncertain for many Americans. With forbearance relief programs ending and up to 21% of renters at risk of eviction, many families are seeking solutions and finding themselves at risk of being taken advantage of through questionable programs and unscrupulous lenders.
In response to consumer need, NeighborWorks America, a nonprofit that creates opportunities for people to live in affordable homes and provides homeowners and renters financial counseling and coaching, is working to help protect consumers against foreclosure and eviction scams by giving consumers the resources they need to find trusted help and report illegal activity to authorities.
NeighborWorks has launched www.StopHomeScams.org to provide consumers with knowledge to defend themselves against home scams.
“We want to emphasize how important it is for consumers to know the signs of a housing scam and quickly report any scam activities,” said Marietta Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of NeighborWorks America. “The Stop Home Scams campaign makes it easier for homeowners and renters in distress to protect themselves and help shut down scammers.”
Since the pandemic’s inception, authorities have seen an increase in housing scam activity targeting homeowners and renters particularly among seniors, low- to moderate-income families, and communities of color.
One of the best ways that consumers can protect themselves is by knowing the warning signs. Five of the most common warning signs that indicate you may be dealing with a scammer include:
- A company/person asks for a fee in advance.
- A company/person promises they can stop a foreclosure or eviction.
- A company/person advises you to stop paying your mortgage lender or landlord and pay them instead.
- A company/person claims to be a part of a reputable agency.
- A company/person asks for identifiable, personal or financial information.
Visit www.StopHomeScams.org to find more educational resources and necessary tips to help recognize and report a housing scam. Knowing how to spot a scam before it happens is your best defense.