Saturday, February 10, 2007 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Real estate how-to

Avoiding scams on foreclosure

Foreclosure fraud is becoming a common problem in the United States, according to experts and law-enforcement officials.

Homeowners can lose all the equity in their homes or their homes as part of these scams, which are sometimes called "foreclosure-rescue scams."

How do you avoid getting caught in one of these scams? Here are some tips.

Try contacting the mortgage lender to work out a payment plan if you are having trouble meeting your mortgage.

Don't sign any documents before reviewing them carefully.

Be aware that signing any kind of deed, such as a warranty deed or quit-claim deed, means you are selling your home.

Contact a private attorney or housing counselor approved by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to help review any documents before signing. Information about foreclosure and approved housing counselors is available online at or by phone at 800-569-4287.

Be suspicious of anyone who contacts you first or offers "bargain loans" or "easy credit."

— The Associated Press

Copyright © The Seattle Times Company


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