Just weeks ago, Nikki Bailey pulled into her driveway, walked up to her house ... and got the shock of her life.
Strange men had broken in and taken her belongings. "I look, and there's my bedroom furniture in the back of the truck," she said. "And I go, 'Excuse me, what's going on here?' They tell me my house is being foreclosed upon."
The men said Bailey was late on her mortgage payments: They were there to repo her house and had already thrown most of her stuff in the trash, destroying it. "I had a love seat, a computer desk, and a large sofa," she said.
Here's the problem: Bailey's house is fully paid off. Those men were at the wrong address.
More from Today:
Government shutdown threatens weddings set for national sites
#DearCongress, 'I am embarrassed to be an American': Nation sounds off on shutdown
Hollywood couple: Police in South Carolina racially profiled us
Want a scam, rip-off or issue investigated? Email Rossen Reports.
Imagine coming home and finding everything you have is gone. It's the hidden dark side of the foreclosure crisis: If you fall behind in your mortgage and you go into foreclosure, banks will often hire contractors to go to your house and take it over, sometimes breaking in and chucking everything.
But a TODAY investigation found they've made big mistakes, sometimes going to the wrong addresses, victimizing innocent homeowners. "I think it is awful that these companies can just go in and take your stuff," Bailey said.
Deep in the mountains of West Virginia, at the end of a dirt road, TODAY tracked down the contractor that seized Bailey's home. "How do mistakes like this happen?" we asked. "Shouldn't you double- and triple-check addresses?"
The contractor didn't want to talk, but TODAY's investigation found that he was working with Safeguard Properties, one of the biggest companies in the industry. Banks hire them to go to foreclosed homes to inspect them and clean them out. But according to The Huffington Post, homeowners in 31 states have sued Safeguard, accusing the company of unlawful break-ins.