"They don't talk to anyone, they're embarrassed, they're depressed ... They even have a name for it, called 'jingle mail.' They're putting their keys in an envelope and sending it back to the bank when they don't need to do that. There's ways to get through this," said Griffith.
For some, bankruptcy is an option. But the laws around bankruptcy have tightened in recent years. Another option is a short sale. A short sale is where a lender allows you to sell your home for less than you owe. Basically, the bank is willing to take a loss.
"A lot of this can be stopped through short sale process and things like that if banks can deal with them. But the banks are inundated with requests for loan modification ... inundated with short sale requests. And consumers don't quite know how to go about it," said Griffith.
Since the short sale process has become so lengthy, many don't even bother. However, people like Ben Compean in Riverside were able to make a short sale happen.
"It has to go through a process. We explained to the bank that we could not pay any more. And they take, like you said, all the losses. So, it's a step before the foreclosure. But, it's not as bad as if you just let go," said Compean.