California phantom help scams…also referred to as phony counseling…are on the rise. The current California housing market makes it easy for those who participate in this type of mortgage fraud to prey on desperate homeowners hoping to avoid pending foreclosures.
Prosecutors and other government agencies are on the lookout for people who are engaging in phony counseling or phantom help. The red-flags that these agencies are looking for are the same messages that attract distressed homeowners. These types of messages include verbiage such as
“Stop foreclosure now!”
“Keep your home!”
“We can save your home…guaranteed!”
“We specialize in preventing foreclosures!”
The fact is that helping someone prevent a foreclosure is not illegal in itself. The key ingredient that turns an honest business into a phantom help a scam is payment. If you collect payment…or make a payment…before promised services are rendered, you have a case involving a phantom help scam.
And make no mistake about it, participating in a California phantom help scheme is a big deal. A conviction subjects an offender to substantial fines, prison time and a variety of additional charges.