According to The Real Estate Report, notices of default in Sonoma County - the first step in the foreclosure process - jumped 52.1% in February. But the good news is that there were still down by 70.1% from the previous year.
Due to the avalanche of foreclosures in recent years, banks continue to own about 685 properties in the county.
Financial Vulnerability Breeds New Forms of Fraud
The Great Recession saw too many people lose their jobs and their homes. Unfortunately, unscrupulous individuals saw a window of opportunity amid this atmosphere of pain and financial uncertainty.
As part of their fraud, companies cropped up, claiming they could prevent foreclosure by negotiating with a consumer's lender or obtaining a loan modification.
These services were offered at a price and naïve and desperate homeowners facing the prospect of foreclosure gladly paid the fee.
Many of the companies pretended to be affiliated with the government or government housing assistance programs. Others falsely claimed to offer legal services or "audits" of consumers' loan paperwork to help them negotiate a resolution with their lenders.
Unfortunately, promised services were never delivered.