At one time, equity skimming was known as a type of fraud that consists of swindling homeowners out of their equity--usually when they were already in trouble (in default).
Now, it's happening in a new way--especially with the amount of short sales and foreclosures in our neighborhoods...Has it mutated? Now, homeowners in trouble are renting their properties to tenants, collecting the rent and not paying the mortgage. Alas, equity skimming!
Many times, the tenants do not realize the owner is in financial trouble and not paying his mortgage. One day the tenant comes home and finds the note--eviction notice! Upon seeing the notice, the tenant vacates and rarely receives any deposit money back.
For any realtors who work with renters, it's best to research a rental property prior to renting.