Six things you can do to avoid a mortgage mis-modification

If you’re a homeowner who is struggling to pay the mortgage, a website, phone call or mailer that offers to reduce your mortgage payment by several hundred dollars a month sounds awfully tempting. Unfortunately, it could turn out to be just plain awful.

Today, the FTC and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau announced Operation Mortgage Mis-Modification, a group of lawsuits that charged companies with taking mortgage statement and calculatorhundreds — sometimes thousands — of dollars for loan modifications, and then leaving homeowners worse off.

According to the complaints, some companies pretended to be associated with the government; others guaranteed that they could get loan modifications regardless of the circumstances. One company claimed to be a non-profit whose purpose was to educate the public about home retention options.

The FTC says these companies had a few things in common, too: they all charged upfront fees for loan modifications, and then stopped answering calls and emails from their customers.

If you want to avoid a mortgage relief scam (and who doesn’t?), here are six lessons from this sweep:

  1. Don’t pay an upfront fee to get help with a mortgage modification. No way. No how. No matter what someone tells you. It’s against the law for companies that provide mortgage relief services to charge you before they’ve given you a written offer from your lender and you’ve accepted the offer.
  2. Don’t send your mortgage payment to anyone but your lender. Companies that ask you to send your mortgage payment to them while they negotiate on your behalf almost always take the money and disappear. If your lender doesn’t get your mortgage payments, you could lose your home.
  3. Don’t fall for official sounding names. Shady organizations try to make themselves sound legitimate by choosing names like the “Federal Debt Commission” or “Federal Assistance Program.” That doesn’t mean they’re affiliated with the government.
  4. A forensic loan audit won’t prevent foreclosure. There’s no evidence that forensic loan audits will help you get a loan modification or any other foreclosure relief, even if they’re conducted by a licensed auditor, mortgage professional or lawyer.
  5. Don’t stop making your mortgage payments. If a company tells you to stop paying your mortgage, it also must warn you that doing so could result in losing your home and damaging your credit.
  6. Don’t do business with a company that guarantees to get you a modification. The law requires that companies tell you that your lender may not agree to change your loan.

If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, there are legitimate programs that can help. Talk to your lender, or visit hopenow.com to find out more.

Tagged with: debt, foreclosure, loan, mortgage, scam
Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

Thank you for sending me information on scams,the reason I contacted you was,a man called me few days ago,an SAID I'm in the United states a work for the GOVERMENT,he know my name,an SAID,the goverment is giving you,said my name again,he told me the goverment is GIVEING you seven thousand dollars,and kept talking,I couldn't understand a work he was saying his English was very bade,FIRST thing I said was I can't pay,for anything to get it,I'm poor,he hung up,was I happy,the TRUTH is I am poor,I guess I was a waste of his time,I do get calls at times to pay for things but really I can't,I want to know about all all the scams that are going on,I do not pay for NOTHEN over the phone,I watch QVC&SHOPHQ&HSN,ITS A SHOPING NETWORK THEY ARE THE ONLY NETWORK I TRUST ,NEVER HAVE HAD A PROBLM WITH THEM,I thank you again,I'm retired an all I do all day is watch tv,my day is very exciting,have a nice day,thank you AGAINE

I lost $3000. Paid the fee and they were a lawyer but I am not sure since I read other posts about this. They said there would be no problem but half the time they did not answer calls and emails. That was after they got all there money .

I fell for the above tricks and lost our home of 15 years of making monthly payments and my wife won't let me forget it. Paid up front payment of $1250.00 to New Hope Modification.

I'm so sorry that this happened to you. Please file a complaint about it at ftc.gov/complaint. The information you provide helps investigators identify patterns of abuse and sue companies that break the law.

The question I have is how can you even tell if you are going to a government site for help anymore? God help you if you need assistance even if it is a temp help! Where do you turn? Nothing seems to be safe now! I actually beleave that having no credit or home or money that a person is having a better life because they have no stress trying to hold on to what they worked so hard to get! There needs to be a safety net to cover people so they can continue to beleave in the American dream because if we all collapse from stress and give up everything that will have mayor effects on our world as a whole who will care for our lands animals ect! If no one works no one grows therefore they can't help our world ! If people grow and feel good about there accomplishments they help others grow and be happy but if we don't make sure they have a reassurance that they are secure with a safety net protecting what they have built they will lose hope and everyone will fall !! The main concern I have in which I beleave that others will agree with me is security around the world that such be a top priority technology should be making this unhackable !!!!! The people cannot protect theirselves from all the con games out there . The government needs to step up and event unhackable security for the people!

I found an envelope hanging on my front door. It said "very important information". The piece of paper had U.S. Bank hand written. There was a spot for a phone number, but it was left blank. I am in the modification process with my bank and work with one specific person. I work as a fraud mitigation specialist at a bank. I guess these fraudsters picked the wrong person this time. What I am concerned with is how they obtained my information?

Anyone ever hear of US Legal Network? They have promised the following and this is direct from an email I received from these folks:
1. Eliminate (wipe clean) payments due in arrears, legal fees and late fees
2. Reduce mortgage rate to 2-3% fixed for 30 years. estimated at $750 a month.
3. Possibility of gaining monetary damages, undetermined at this time.
4. Case law precedent from the National Mortgage Settlement applies.
5. It will take 1-4 months to reach settlement.
6. Must enroll at least 30 days prior to sale date to be sure it is cancelled.

Total cost: $4600 if you can pay all at once. 2 payments of $2300, 3 payments of $1633 or 4 payments of $1250.

We spent several hours on the phone with this very polished and seemingly knowledgeable individual who "quoted" MARS and other "federal laws." After reading and researching here I am thinking fraud because of the upfront fee. What does the FTC know about them? What about other consumers?

I am so sick of the system being so predatory! My mortgage company has finally entered my information for review after more than a year of fighting with them. They are dual tracking and have a sale date even though the under writer is reviewing us for a modification. I need input and advice.

I lost $3,900 to a scam company called Preferred Law out of Utah. BEWARE! They are smooth talkers, will promise you remedy to all your mortgage issues and deliver absolutely nothing. Look on RippOffReport for any company you plan to deal with for whatever reason! We the people need to make noise and team up against these criminal companies who are preying on desperate middle class people who can't afford to lose their house or their hard earned money! I am devastated by these people and hope nobody else falls prey to them! PREFERRED LAW and MODIFICATION REVIEW BOARD are SCAMS!!!!

If you have been scammed by someone claiming that they can save your home from foreclosure by a forensic audit they have lied to you. I was a victim of this type of fraud and paid $1,300.00 up front and then when the company "Foreclosure Rescue Central.net " the owner is Jim Wilson, he took my money and then did nothing. I reported this scam to Florida Office of Financial Regulation, OCC, and every other Official Office. They were of no help to shut down the website, nor try and get my money back. There is no Government Agency that will protect you. The State Attorney is no better, these organizations are not interested in helping you, they are just as big of thief's as the spammers are. I knew that I would not get my money back, and had accepted that after filing complains with all agencies they would at least shut down the website to prevent others from getting scammed. No such luck the website is still up and running.

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