Johannesburg - Beware of scamsters offering to bail out
debt-ridden home owners, the SA Banking Risk Information Centre (Sabric) said
"The banks are concerned about the relentless offers
doing the rounds," said Sabric CEO Kalyani Pillay.
"These offers are, in actual fact, calculated scams
that may result in homeowners losing their properties."
Distressed home owners should discuss repayment options with
their banks rather than taking up offers promising bail-outs.
There were numerous variations of the property rescue scam
and they often appeared to involve a legitimate consultant with a listed
telephone number and website.
"They advertise their services through newspapers and
outdoor signage, and they also use court foreclosure notices in newspapers to
source details of their victims," Pillay said.
Consumers taking up their offers often ended up in worse
debt or even losing their homes, she said.
In one variation of the scam, fraudsters offer to bail out
the home owner who unknowingly signs documents handing over his property for
Home owners may be told if they surrendered the property
title and stayed on as renters, they could buy back the property once the
matter has been "fixed".
Instead, they end up losing the property.
Sabric advised home owners not to do business with companies
or individuals saying they could stop a foreclosure process or telling them not
to contact their bank.
Consumers should not ignore letters from their bank.
They should also not agree to a repayment programme without
making sure the bank had been informed and agreed to it, Pillay said.