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Real estate fraud spreads via ‘good-fairy syndrome’

Learn how to assess risks of e-mail solicitations

"I have heard that if a lender makes a mistake in servicing your loan, he must forgive the entire remaining balance. Is that true?" Not a chance! If it were true there wouldn't be any lenders left. This is an illustration of what I call the "good fairy syndrome," which seems to be quite widespread in our society. It is a belief, centered in the gut rather than the mind, that somewhere out there is a good fairy who will solve all our financial (and other) problems. Con men and scamsters understand the power of the good-fairy syndrome. They realize that some people will buy into any claim, no matter how absurd or contrary to common sense, if it awakens their latent belief in the good fairy. I see the good-fairy syndrome lurking in many of the questions I get from readers, and in the advertising spam that provokes these questions. How else, except from a gut belief in a good fairy, can one explain why a borrower would pay $3,500 to someone they don't know and never heard of, who claims t...

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