How Can I Tell It’s a Scam?
People who need a bankruptcy but want something else, often end up in scams. Here are three checkpoints that might help you avoid being scammed.
I’m going to use as an example an outfit called “National Support Group.” I talked to a lady yesterday–we’ll call her Elaine–who ended up losing her house because she trusted “National Support Group.” Maybe they help some people, but for her, it was disaster.
Scams are usually far away
How can I tell it’s a scam?
Suppose you want to negotiate a loan mod or stop a foreclosure. There should be a legit company in your city who offers that service. If you are contacted by somebody in California, and you live in Virginia, you need to wonder what’s going on.
Elaine was contacted by “National Support Group” in California, and she paid them $6000 to help her get a loan mod. (I should note she did get a mod on her second mortgage; her first put her in foreclosure.)
Elaine didn’t ask, why is there no one in Northern VA who offers this service? Here’s why. It’s illegal to collect a fee for doing a loan mod, until after the mod has actually been approved. If somebody in your own area charged an illegal fee, you’d know where to send the sheriff.
Scams Usually Don’t Have a Real Address
“National Support Group” doesn’t list any address at all on their website. That should make you suspicious right there. But if you search, you can see their address is 4521 Campus Dr #316, Irvine, CA 92612. That’s the address where Elaine sent her payment.
If you Google that address, you’ll see that it’s a mail drop. 4521 Campus Drive is business called Mail Boxes Irvine. Many small businesses have a PO Box, or UPS Store, or other mail box service. But “National Support Group” claims to have “highly trained staff of Case Managers, Supervisors, Assistants, Underwriters, and Managers.” If there really are highly trained people, there should be a real office somewhere.
A mail box without a real office location–for a handy man, musician, or graphic artist, sure. For a nationwide professional service, a warning sign of a scam.
Scammers Usually Don’t Show Their face
People instinctively trust people they can see. That’s why my picture is all over in internet: On my website, on my Yahoo and Google locations, on Avvo, Facebook–all over.
People trust people they can see. I plaster my picture everywhere. Scammers usually don’t show their face.
Even companies that you know are real usually show their face. Take Ford Motor Co. You see their cars (and their dealers) all over town. On their website, they show you their president’s name and photo. They don’t have to, but they do.
It would be good marketing for scammers to put someone’s name and photo out there, too. But they rarely do. That’s got to mean their desire to hide is bigger than their desire for more customers. That tells you a lot.
“National Support Group” has nobody’s name and picture anywhere on their website.
Three Signs of a Scam
They are located across the country from you, working out of a mailbox rather than an office, and nothing on the website identifies the people in charge.
Be very careful before you trust somebody like that.
Elaine wasn’t careful and she lost her house. I asked her if I could share this warning with you.
Today’s Washington Post, July 27, 2017, has sad news about people who lost their homes, trusting a foreclosure rescue scam operating form California. The ring leader got 20 years in prison, while 11 other scammers got up to 18 years. But hundreds of people still lost their homes.
It says something, not good, about the reputation of lawyers. some people would rather trust a stranger on the telephone rather than go talk to a lawyer in their community.