Mortgage elimination plans prey upon younger borrowers

Get-out-of-debt offers are one-way tickets to foreclosure

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This time, senior homeowners are not in the forefront. Typically, real estate scams target persons with significant equity in their homes, often elders who have resided in the same primary residence for decades. Seniors have been in the crosshairs of equity-skimming deals, outrageous refinance pitches and bogus life insurance plans. The latest scheme, known as "mortgage elimination," seems to lure younger couples with larger mortgages. The process, along with some others, can definitely be listed under the consumer beware label "if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is." In a capsule, some Internet sites have been promoting the idea that borrowers can get out of their mortgages without repaying their debt. The program sellers, who charge outlandish up-front fees of $6,000-$20,000 then disappear before the mud begins to fly, base their case on old common-law terms and heavily camouflaged rules and false conditions. The net result is that homeowners can suddenly find themsel...