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Scams, milk jugs and psychics – these are all tidbits I came across as I researched a story on foreclosure counseling this week. (Watch for the full story Monday, after you’ve woken up from your turkey-induced three-day nap.)

  • Foreclosure Scams: Bankrate.com usually has some pretty good explainers of things like exotic loans and other mortgage terms. Here’s one I found on foreclosure scams. People claiming to “rescue” homeowners may actually be scamming them. And the methods range from charging exorbitant fees to make easy phone calls to tricking the homeowner into signing over the deed. Yikes.
  • Milk Jugs: Milk containers aren’t just for lost children anymore, apparently. The Homeownership Preservation Foundation, based in the Midwest, recently launched a campaign to advertise its foreclosure counseling hotline on 250,000 milk jugs in Detroit grocery and convenience stories. Lauren Crandall, a spokesperson for the nonprofit, said the program’s success is hard to track, but that they were hoping to come up with other creative campaigns. The hotline, 888-895-HOPE, has experienced a recent increase in its calls from California, Crandall said.
  • Psychic: When I typed in “foreclosure help” as a search on Craigslist, I came across an ad promising the most profit in the least amount of time. When I called the number listed, I had a very pleasant chat with a woman named Amirah who’s also known, she told me, as “the soul mystic.” Amirah said she helps people redirect the energy they’re expending on worrying about their homes into turning their finances around.

“Properties, businesses, relationships – they are all energy,” she said. “It’s usually because there’s something blocking their energy.”

Amirah was quick to issue a disclaimer. “I’m not licensed or experienced,” she said. But she, like many of the experts I talked to for my story, said the biggest problem for people facing foreclosure is that they worry but don’t do anything about it, like call the lender or a counselor.

Seemingly unconnected events may contribute to a homeowner’s funk, she said. “Sometimes, it’s like your knee bone is connected to your ear lobe.”

“A lot of times, it’s psychological,” she continued. “Maybe their father died last year. Maybe the energy’s blocking them from doing anything.”

She told me about a guy she helped sell a home in La Jolla – despite the “slow and sluggish economy,” the home sold in less than two weeks, she said.

“It’s really just something that’s been developing for me,” she said. “I have an uncanny ability to help people sell property.”

I guess the domain for the e-mail address (@soulmystic.com) probably should’ve tipped me off. Here’s a story my predecessor, Will Carless, wrote after interviewing a different psychic on her predictions for the real estate market in 2006. You can read that story here.

And, have a happy Thanksgiving.

KELLY BENNETT

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