Merced County California

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Real Estate Fraud
At the Merced District Attorney's Office we recognize that home ownership is a "dream come true" for most people here in Merced County. While owning your own home provides a sense of pride and security, it also provides the opportunity for scammers to attempt to steal that dream through real estate scams and fraud.

The Merced District Attorney's Fraud Unit is committed to providing you with the necessary information to help you identify real estate fraud and eliminate it.

Before you Buy, Sell or Remodel- DO YOUR HOMEWORK!

Who are you doing business with?
Is your broker, lender, appraiser, or contractor reputable? Verify their license status, current standing, and references before entering into any agreements with them.

When you apply for a mortgage or loan, every piece of information that you submit must be accurate and complete. Lying on a mortgage application is fraud and may result in criminal penalties.

Do not let anyone talk you into making a false statement on your loan application such as overstating your income, the source of your down payment or deposit, not disclosing the nature and amount of your debts or the length of your employment.

Make sure all agreements are in writing and do not contain any blank lines or spaces. Carefully read all documents before signing and retain copies of all documents.

Never let anyone sign anything for you during the loan process. You should review and understand every document before YOU sign it.

If you are unsure of what you are signing, WAIT! Do not sign any documents until all of your questions have been answered and you completely understand what you are signing.

Be cautious when signing quitclaim deeds and grant deeds. These deeds transfer ownership interest of your property.

If you have fallen behind on your payments, contact your LENDER! You will be solicited by numerous companies and individuals promising to save your home-be wary of SCAMS.

If you are facing foreclosure
due to the inability to pay your home loan, be aware of people approaching you with promises to "save your equity" by having you sign away the rights to your home.

If You Are a Victim of Real Estate Fraud

Document the incident. Prepare a chronology of events that led up to the fraud, including the names and telephone numbers of everyone you dealt with.

Obtain certified copies of all deeds relating to the transaction. Deeds can be obtained from the Merced County Assessor's Office.

Collect copies of all real estate documents. That includes escrow documents, real estate contracts, and loan documents. Maintain original documents for your records and provide copies when needed.

Contact a civil attorney. Make sure that it is someone who is knowledgeable in real estate law. Issues contesting ownership of property typically involve the filing of a quiet title lawsuit, which enables an attorney to protect your property interest.

To Report Suspected Real Estate Fraud or for Additional Information Contact:

Merced County District Attorney
Bureau of Investigations: Real Estate Fraud Unit
550 W. Main Street, Merced CA 95340
(209) 385-7381

California Bureau of Real Estate         

Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
(800) 569-4287

Merced County Assessor's Office
2222 M. Street, Merced CA 95340
(209) 385-7434

Merced County Association of Realtors

(209) 725-2165

Freddie Mac (Foreclosure Information)
(818) 710-3000

Better Business Bureau (BBB)

(559) 222-8111


(916) 481-9110

Federal Trade Commission (FTC)

Merced County 2222 M Street Merced, CA 9543 Ph. (209) 385-7434 Toll Free (800) 226-6452
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