We joined Neighborworks® America to launch the Stop Home Scams Initiative to protect consumers against foreclosure and eviction fraud. StopHomeScams is a national public education campaign led by Neighborworks® America with support from the Wells Fargo Foundation, National Fair Housing Alliance, and National Foundation for Credit Counseling designed to help protect consumers by empowering them to act and protect their home and community from scammers. The goal is for consumers to know the signs, get the facts, and stop home scams.
The economic impact of COVID-19 has made housing security even more uncertain for many Americans. With a patchwork of forbearance and rental assistance programs scheduled to end and up to 21% of renters at risk of eviction, many families are seeking solutions and finding themselves at risk of being taken advantage of through questionable programs and unscrupulous actors until it is too late.
“We want to emphasize how important it is for consumers to know the signs of a housing scam and quickly report any scam activities,” said Marietta Rodriguez, president and chief executive officer of Neighborworks® America. “The Stop Home Scams initiative is making it easier for homeowners and renters in distress to protect themselves and help shut down scammers.”
Here are three key consumer tips for avoiding scammers —find more information and guidance on StopHomeScams.org:
- Avoid promises of success or anyone who guarantees to assist with payment or prevent foreclosure or eviction.
- Avoid companies that tell you to stop paying your rent or mortgage. Being told to stop paying is a sure sign of a scam.
- Reach out to your landlord or mortgage company when you are struggling with your monthly payments to ask any questions or share concerns about your home.
Access StopHomeScams to find educational resources to help recognize and report a housing scam. In addition to scam awareness tips, StopHomeScams.org provides links to state and national partner resources to support consumers and help them find assistance for their individual needs.
“We believe this effort to prevent housing scams is particularly important during a time when far too many families, including people of color impacted by the economic downturn caused by COVID-19, are facing financial challenges,” said Eileen Fitzgerald, head of housing affordability philanthropy with the Wells Fargo Foundation. “Protecting people from being compromised by scam attempts is important to helping keep people housed in a safe and affordable place they can call home.”
As a NeighborWorks network member, NHSSF is spreading the word and will educate consumers and conduct outreach efforts to community groups and residents across South Florida. StopHomeScams.org offers inclusive, consumer-friendly tools and resources.
“StopHomeScams.org is based on the belief that knowledge and action are the best defense against falling prey to scammers,” said Rodriguez. “That is why it was so important for NeighborWorks and our partners, like the Wells Fargo Foundation, to come together to help consumers, especially those most vulnerable at this time, with the tools they need to minimize their risk and stop scammers in their tracks. COVID-19 has proven to exacerbate scam activity, and consumers must empower themselves and protect their homes.”
For more information, visit www.StopHomeScams.org.
About NeighborWorks America
For more than 40 years, Neighborhood Reinvestment Corp., a national, nonpartisan nonprofit known as Neighborworks® America, has strived to make every community a place of opportunity. Our network of excellence includes nearly 240 members in every state, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Neighborworks® America offers grant funding, peer-exchange, technical assistance, evaluation tools and access to training, as the nation’s leading trainer of housing and community development professionals. NeighborWorks network organizations provide residents in their communities with affordable homes, owned and rented; financial counseling and coaching; community building through resident engagement; and collaboration in the areas of health, employment and education.
NHSSF is a certified CDFI and an accredited community development nonprofit serving South Florida residents for over 40 years. We are committed to advance prosperity for all South Floridians through Lending, Real Estate Development, Home Buyer Education & Counseling, and Community Transformation. NHSSF is also a chartered member of the NeighborWorks® America. In this capacity, we are part of a nationwide network of over 240 chartered community development organizations and one of the twenty that serve Florida residents.