Foreclosure Fraud Up

By Catherine Garcia
|  Thursday, Mar 12, 2009  |  Updated 2:45 PM PDT
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Foreclosure Fraud Up

AP

San Diego isn't alone in the foreclosure nightmare. Mary Ann Herrera is seen at her home in San Antonio. Under the threat of foreclosure, Herrara asked her brother to paint the words "Help!!" and "Foreclosure!!" on her home recently in hopes of getting assistance.

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As the number of foreclosures in San Diego County continues to grow, the San Diego District Attorney’s Office says it’s seeing an increase in real estate fraud.

The D.A. is currently prosecuting a case with more than 400 victims, who believed their homes could be saved through a “land grant” scam. Ten people have been charged in connection with the crime.

Prosecutors say, in many cases, homeowners are desperate and vulnerable, so they are easy prey for criminals. Usually, there are promises that your home can be “rescued” if you sign over your home temporarily, or transfer the title to something like a “land grant.” The criminals promise you can buy your home back later, but it’s all a scam.

District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis has the following advice for homeowners going through foreclosure:

1) Don’t transfer your property without consulting an attorney
2) Be wary of offers to take temporary ownership of your home
3) Never sign documents under pressure

You can find more information about these scams, and how to avoid them on the District Attorney’s website.

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