Con artist swindles homeowners out of property

Mid-South police are trying to catch a con artist who convinced homeowners to sign over their houses.

You may see the signs lining telephone poles as you're driving or they may come straight to your door.

The signs promise to bail out drowning homeowners on the brink of foreclosure.

Now, Horn Lake Police are on to one man they believe is running a con-job. So far, police say he's scammed four Horn Lake homeowners out of their houses.

The man tell homeowners to sign quit claim deeds. That signature gives him ownership of the property but no legal obligation to pay the mortgage.

Horn Lake Police Chief, Daryl Whaley, says the man targets vacant houses and sets up renters collecting large monthly rent payments until the bank forecloses on the house.

Police won't reveal the identity of the man because they're still trying to figure out if he's broken any laws.

In the meantime, beware. This scam and other mortgage scams are becoming increasingly common but you can protect yourself and your home.

"Try to find someone whose a knowledgeable person to explain it... Not represent you, but explain whats going on to keep you from being caught in a transaction like that," says Coldwell Banker, Judy Ketchum.

Ketchum also says it's a good idea to ask to see credentials when dealing with people who claim to be brokers. And always get a copy of any paperwork you sign.

Meantime, Chief Whaley says he's seen a sharp increase in the number of people reporting scams in the past few weeks.

He's reminding all residents to call the police if any mortgage deal seems to good to be true.