According to Waters of Marketwatch.com, Mortgage and real estate-related frauds is the ninth most prevalent consumer scams this year, with the fake landlord and timeshare resale complaints getting the most attention from the authorities.
Ever since the Housing bubble in 2008, the incidences of mortgage-related frauds and scams have escalated to an alarming degree. Numerous homeowners have lost their homes and properties due to scam victimization, and more cases are still being reported even up to this very hour. Everyday scam artists develop new ways of tricking money out of innocent people, which accounts for why new numbers are being added to the scam victims’ statistics despite government awareness campaigns.
The fact is that it isn’t enough for consumers to entrust the issue of foreclosure scams and rip offs to federal and state agencies. Nowadays, the state and its citizen must employ a collaborative approach to fight against this type of fraudulent activities. The agencies are doing their part by busting professional and white-collared criminals. The citizens, on the other hand, should take the responsibility of educating and updating themselves about the latest scam profiles and techniques.
In light of this, several books and instructional materials about real-estate scams have been released in the market. Many authors, real-estate experts, and concerned opinion leaders have written useful tips about the scam industry to empower the regular citizens. This article is dedicated to five of the most helpful books on this subject.
Five Books of Foreclosure Fraud
People Get Screwed All the Time: Protecting Yourself From Scams, Fraud, Identity Theft, Fine Print, and More, 2007, Robert Massi
This 368-page book doesn’t just focus on real estate scams, it also covers other types of fraud that could potentially hit individuals anytime. Even though it was written by an attorney, this book aims to explain the US federal laws and its effect on citizens’ lives in plain English. Getting past through the intense scrutiny of the federal government, this book will provide you with invaluable knowledge about the loopholes in our government and what you should do to avoid being victimized by these loopholes. The book presents the subject matter in an engaging manner by using the actual experiences and stories that people can relate to. After reading this, it’s less possible that you would get caught up in undesirable after-scam situations.
The Truth about Avoiding Scams, 2008, by Steve Weisman
“Scams can be high tech, low tech, or no tech – be prepared.”
Weisman tells about the truth on several fraud and scam activities waiting to victimize people. In this book, you can view an entire chapter for real-estate related fraud in “The Truth about Home Scams”. Immediately following this is a closely related article, investment frauds and scams, which mentioned the foreclosure and short sale scams which are prevalent in the market. The examples and scams he cited are relevant and timely, including the popular Online scams called phising and vishing. Although the discussion doesn’t go deep enough (much discussion dwells on the obvious), it’s still worthwhile to read the book because the tips and solutions he gave are still helpful.
The Art of the Steal: How to Protect Yourself and Your Business from Fraud–America’s #1 Crime, 2001, Frank W. Abagnale
This is probably the most intriguing and interesting book about frauds and scams that people can find Online. Although it wasn’t really about foreclosure and real-estate scams and totally outdates, I still deem it a necessity for people to read this book because of one simple fact: it was written by one of the most effective scam artists in the world (And probably because I was a fan of Leonardo di Caprio and his great personification of Abagnale’s character in Catch Me If You Can). By reading this book, people can get a glimpse of what scam artists would think of when they are looking for preys, and how they trap this victim with the web of lies they skillfully crafted. Take a closer look at the psychological profile of scam artists; after all, you probably wouldn’t mind reading this since it also provides entertainment value.
Protect Yourself from Real Estate and Mortgage Fraud: Preserving the American Dream of Homeownership, 2007, Roberts, Dollar and Kraynak
If you’re going to read this book, I suggest that you immediately jump on the pages dedicated for equity skimming and foreclosure rescues because I personally find those parts most interesting. Of all the books in this list, this one is probably the most helpful because it is solely dedicated and focused on information about current real-estate frauds and scams. It provides detailed step-by-step tips on how you can detect foreclosure scams and in post-scam cases run after and get back at your scam perpetrators. The story-based approach makes the reading process endurable, whilst also making the moral of the scam stories a lot easier to digest.
The 2012 Consumer Action Handbook
Of course, what is the best way to avoid consumer scams than to read this year’s consumer action handbook? People have to keep themselves updated because scam and fraud artists are always on the business of developing “better, spot-free” fraud techniques. “The best thing about consumer handbook is that they are regularly updated, so people are constantly informed about the complaints, current ploys, and traps set out in the market,” a friend of mine says.
The sad thing is that no monthly updates are available for this book, so consumers must also regularly tune in to news reports about consumer scams.