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August 27, 2008

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Good advice. Another one is to be wary of anyone who asks you to leave just one or two specific lines blank on a form. Usually that's the date line, which can then be used to forward-date or backdate documents.

Home buyers or those refinancing should also check the signatures on copies of documents they are given to make sure they signed that specific document in its original form. With scanners, copy machines, and photo editing software, it's never been easier to forge a signature and put it on an altered document.

That's excellent advice, Nick. Back-dated or forward-dated documents could land you in a pretty sticky situation. It's well worth the extra effort to check those documents carefully before signing them!

Nick, I agree with you but what about the seniors who are being scammed by their own families? An 84-year-old woman who owned her house in Oregon was scammed by her own son. Her house was paid for and one of her sons offered to update the house so she wouldn't outlive her money. Long story short, she went into assisted living and the son took a maximum loan out, gutted the house, and spent the money. He left her out in the cold and expected the state to take care of her.

What a horrible situation, John. Could anything have been done to protect this 84-year-old woman? Do you have any recommendations?

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