One in every 20 Minnesota homes was foreclosed upon between 2005 and 2009. As foreclosures continue to mount, for-profit foreclosure prevention scams have arisen to prey on struggling home owners at their weakest. In fact, the scams have boomed from only one reported to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) in 2008, to 7,927 in 2009.
At best, these companies charge money for services otherwise available for free. At their worst, they require enormous up-front fees or ask for the home title, only to leave the home owner in an even worse situation than before.
Look Before You Leap is a statewide public education campaign that empowers home owners to spot deceptive scams and to protect their most precious asset – their home. Its lead by the Minnesota Home Ownership Center in partnership with the Federal Reserve of Minneapolis, NeighborWorks America®and partners from across Minnesota.
Stopping Scams Matters for Minnesota
Each foreclosure costs up to $78,000 when we account for the costs on neighboring home values, local governments, lenders and home owners. This is according to extensive research by the Joint Economic Commission of Congress. With such expensive costs, we all pay the costs of foreclosures – and we all benefit from their prevention. In Minnesota, stopping foreclosure scams is part of prevention.
Let’s face it: no one intentionally makes a bad decision to fall prey to a scammer. But it can easily happen when a home owner is embarrassed by the threat of loosing their home, feels vulnerable and is afraid to ask friends and family for help.
That’s why Look Before You Leap – and our network of Minnesota supporters – is working to spot scams and start conversations about home ownership across Minnesota. Together, we’ll make Minnesota an unwelcome place for any scammer to do business.
Connecting Home Owners to Help They Can Trust
Minnesota is home to a network of trained nonprofit counselors that offer trusted, legitimate foreclosure and credit counseling to home owners for free. To connect with the network of more than 50 nonprofit and public agencies across Minnesota, call (866) 462-6466 or ask us your mortgage question and an area counselor will return your call within 48 hours.
“Look Before You Leap” is a statewide public education campaign that empowers home owners to spot deceptive scams and to protect their most precious asset – their home. The effort engages local governments, nonprofits, community and business leaders, and citizens in preserving home ownership in Minnesota by calling attention to scamming companies’ predatory techniques and offering home owners free alternative home preservation solutions.