When foreclosure bears down on anyone, things can seem bleak enough to merit desperate actions. You might consider any deal worth the risk if it includes keeping your home.

Home sales and property foreclosures are complex processes, so if anyone offers you a deal that makes things seem too simple to be real — it probably is. The New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs details many ways you can protect yourself against these kinds of scams.

Communication with your lender

As frustrating as it may feel to call up the bank or other creditor that has your home on the line in the first place, cooperating with them may open up other options to keeping your home. Many offer re-payment plans called forbearance agreements that work within your budget.

Your lender is the primary source of your mortgage information. Any third party claiming otherwise poses a risk if you listen to them instead. Make sure you listen to your lender regarding specific payments or due dates and that your mortgage payments go directly to them.

Awareness of scam signs

There are several ways scammers can exploit you. The most common scam is a third party offering a deed transfer. This might include money for you in the short-term, but equity loss in the long-term that leaves you struggling. Be suspicious of any contract with blank lines or spaces that a scammer might fill in with extra legalese later. Do not sign them or request immediate copies for your personal records.

Keep an eye out for anyone transferring your title or offering to lease back your home. These conditions can lock you into a worse financial burden where you owe on your mortgage and the payments you make go towards purchasing a house for someone else.