Sheriff warns of surplus funds scams in foreclosure matters

Dear Editor:

As your Sheriff of Hudson County, I am providing this information to the residents of the county as a Public Service Notice.

Homeowners in foreclosure should be aware of Surplus Funds scams. Surplus funds are proceeds generated from the sale of your home at a sheriff’s sale. A sheriff’s sale is an auction of property conducted by the sheriff’s office following a court order to seize and sell a property to pay a debt after notice to the public. If your home is sold for more than you owe on the mortgage and for taxes, you may be entitled to Surplus Funds, which in some cases could total thousands of dollars. Con artists and companies looking to capitalize on your misfortune have been approaching homeowners after the sheriff’s sale takes place offering to apply for Surplus Funds on your behalf. Many of them will send letters offering assistance or may even knock on your door. These con artists and/or companies are charging exorbitant fees sometimes up to 75 percent of your surplus amount, to apply for this money on your behalf. The reality is, for less than $100 and, in many instances without the assistance of an attorney, you can apply for Surplus Funds on your own.

The following steps are recommended to avoid the Surplus Funds Scam: After the sheriff’s sale takes place determine if the sale of your home resulted in Surplus Funds, contact the New Jersey Superior Court Trust Fund Unit for assistance in applying for the Surplus Funds the sale of your home generated, the Trust Fund Unit may be contacted by calling 609-292-3937 or by writing to The Trust Fund Unit, c/o Superior Court of New Jersey, PO Box 971, Trenton, NJ 08625-0971 or speak to a trusted attorney.

If you feel you have been a victim of fraud contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs, 124 Halsey St., PO Box 45025 or call 973-504-6200 or 800-242-5846.

I urge all residents to be alert of any fraud attempts in this area as there are always those individuals attempting to take advantage of people in all types of circumstances.

Juan M. Perez, Sheriff of Hudson County


© 2000, Newspaper Media Group