Earlier this week, California attorney general Jerry Brown issued a warning about short sale fraud.
A short sale is an arrangement in which a homeowner sells his or her home for less than the outstanding mortgage, with the consent of the lender.
"You're seeing more and more of it now because there was a big crackdown on loan modification scams. So now, it's like the scammers have moved from loan modifications to short sales."
Fresno based realtor Don Scordino says so-called short sale negotiators solicit homeowners by promising to speed up the process.
Instead, they take your money and run.
Real estate experts say to avoid being scammed, do not work with someone without a license, do not pay any up-front fees, watch out for surcharges, and be aware of short sale negotiators who will misrepresent your home below market value....only to turn around and flip it.
"It doesn't matter your income bracket, your ethnic background, your language barrier they're targeting everyone."
Realtor Sonia Neal counsels homeowners who have been victim to a short-sale scam.
In most cases a person can lose several thousand dollars.
She and other real estate experts advise, if something is too good to be true it probably is.
"Somebody promising you an outcome they can't. The only ones that are going to make the decision at the end is the lender."
"They should work with their realtor-get all the information. Find out what all your options are. Short sale may not be the best option for you."
Before doing anything, you should always talk to your lender or a real estate agent.
In some cases, once you've been a victim of fraud, it's very difficult to get that money back.