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

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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

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Hi has anyone found out about the authenticity of CAS.

I am dealing with them now. Still researching them while waiting to release $750.

Stay away from CAS!!!

Hi Jagreg, have you heard anything/ or good news for CAS.

If you're looking for help with a mortgage modification, read the six points in this blog post. Remember: It’s against the law for a company that provides mortgage relief services to charge you before it's given you a written offer from your lender and you accepted the offer. Read about mortgage relief scams.

Hi has anyone had any luck with CAS? Or is this a legitimate scam?

If you're looking for help with a mortgage modification, read the six points in this blog post. Remember: It’s against the law for a company that provides mortgage relief services to charge you before it's given you a written offer from your lender and you accepted the offer. Read about mortgage relief scams.

Still dealing with Samaritan Law Center/National Home Preservationist. The lender modified my loan with a HIGHER mortgage payment. Did not lower the interest rate. When asked why, I was told by Darrin Jacobson at Samaritan Law Center not to make any payments just yet and that he will contact the lender to find out why. That was a week ago, still waiting. When I asked about my 3 trial payments I already paid to Samaritan Law Center via direct deposits to Wells Fargo, I was told by Darrin that he knows nothing about the payments and he does not deal with that part of the modification. My first payment with the higher mortgage amount is due 4/1 and I am still waiting to hear what to do and where did my 3 deposits go that I made months ago of which Bryan Williams told me it was imperative that I make those payments. why? for what? I am out of 3,833.40. I thought that went to my mortgage company. As of today, they show no record of receiving any kind of payment from me or Samaritan Law Center.

You may want to file a complaint about that business with the state Attorney General’s office or the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

You can get information about the Making Home Affordable program online, or read about the US Department of Housing & Urban Development (HUD)'s program to help people avoid foreclosure.

I have been dealing with Samaritan law center of America Darren Jacobson Samantha Adams Nicole Jones they are fraud they are scam they have taken over $5000 of my money when I talk to Jacobson and Samantha Adams and said why are you guys on the rip off report why are you all over the Internet with bad reviews why is your name so battered on all these comments and he told me and she told me that the people didn't get the modification so they were upset and real bad things that is a lie they are a scam I found out 100% they are a scam they are fraud the address that you send your money order cashiers check to it's fake it's not even an address it's at UPS box they are a scam they are fraud they will take your money they will sweet talk you they are charmers don't listen to them they told me not to contact my mortgage company don't believe a word Daniel Jacobson says Samantha Adams or Nicole Jones those are fake names and fake people I have the FBI and every law-enforcement agency working this case I am filing a lawsuit they will be charged with federal crimes because they have been doing this for over a year to all these people and somethings got to be done and it's going to start now with me

Do not believe samaritan law center!!! Scam Elizabeth Thompson and Darrin Jacobson fast talkers!! They pray on people!! My mortgage company never heard of them!! I will probably never get my 3300.00 back but at least with their names out there ,, hopefully I can help someone else from being ripped off !! I'm going to contact the CA bar association.

Has anyone heard of the Home Reservation Center and the National Civilian Law Center of America? I have seen the same names mentioned in Dexter's post associated with these organizations too. Their support services sound great, too good to be true. How do they ask for money? They don't seem to be requesting funds up front.

I spoke with them and they ask for money after stating that I was approved. They want a payment of $3500 stating it should be paid to them in 3 monthly instalments and be sent to them so my lender will know that I can afford the new mods. My gut says no and I am going to follow it especially since they want me to send it via money order and have the post office fax a receipt to show it was done and then I won't hear from anyone until a week out

We have just been contacted by the "Home Reservation Center" (HRC) and/or the National Civilian Law Center and right now I'm actively trying to figure out if they're legit or a scam/fraud. Seems too good to be true. Our lender (Chase) wouldn't give us a loan modification, even though we have an old FHA loan, I've lost 50% of my income (old job eliminated, new ones don't pay as much) and otherwise definitely meet the various qualifications for a 'Making Homes Affordable' / HASP loan adjustment under the government programs and yet this place -- HRC -- says we qualify? They haven't asked for any money up front, told us to stop paying our mortgage or guaranteed an adjustment / loan reduction (red flags for fraud) but following yesterday's 2nd step -- the 'financial interview', they do now want us to fill out a form with all our personal info -- names, address, DOB, FULL Social Security numbers -- and send it to them. That's enough info for a full-on identity theft in the wrong hands, so I'm stopping cold until I can verify their legitimacy. No one gets all that info unless I'm 110% certain they're safe. These guys have a legit-looking website, lots of Freddie/Fannie / Recovery.gov / Hardest Hit Fund Help (etc.) logos on their materials, but any half-intelligent kid could put together a site like that and create these documents in MS Word in one day, so I'm currently talking with our local office from the hud.gov search tool for legit mortgage counseling services. I suggest you start there as well. Will post any updates I find about HRC / National Civilian Law Center back up here...

Yeah well I had 3 different lawyers.... in an attempt to save my home dished out over $12k over 4 yrs and we still lost the house Fuster Law is the worst wish I could do something

Yes, egg on my face. Darrin Jacobson and "Mei ling" were helping me at Samaritan law. I'm helping an elderly friend. Thought we were going to save her home. The Samaritan Law Center got 3 payments from us supposedly as their "fee" for service and to demonstrate a "good faith effort" (on our part) to be able to pay the eventual modified mortgage. My elderly friend is out $2700. And her place will undoubtedly go into foreclosure and be sold. Red faced here...anger and shame. Feel especially badly because I got my friend involved with them thinking it would work out.

Over the last 2 days, we have been in contact with Consumer Affordiblity Solutions (CAS). Everything sound great! Then we were asked, told, to make a split payment for a retainer fee with 2nd and final payment due "Upon completion of StepIII of the Agreement. I printed out the Welcome packet and began reading it and re-reading it. Most of it sounded legit. but, words like "pro-actively" and "timely manner" were beginning to be over stressed! I then turned to the internet. Googling "Consumer Affordability Solutions" brought me directly to BBB Scams. I saw the BBB report, but also read that Scammers duplicate the BBB sight, Hot map and all. i then went to California Department of Housing and Urban Development...NO COMPANY BY THIS NAME EXISTED ON HUD Affiliates Listings!!!Looking one step further, the BUSINESS DOES NOT EXIST IN CALIFORNIA OR ANYWHERE IN THE USA!!! We never sent money, research prior...wording in Docusign "Congratulations" packet was not in line with the rest of the document. THIS IS A SCAM!!!

Thank you for everyone's input on Consumer Affordability Solutions. Received letter giving us an AMAZING relief offer, but when something sounds too good to be true, it probably is. I checked here and BBB, and we will not be contacting them at all. thank you again

Just had a conversation with Rochelle from Consumer Affordability Solutions and she told me my parents were pre-approved back in August! Didn't ask for any money upfront - but needs income verification, bank statements, etc. How could they be pre-approved without already having this info?! I sent the email I received to my cousin - who is a lawyer - and she said NO WAY! Definitely sounds like a scam! And my gut told me that. If it's too good to be true - it probably isn't! I would stay away from Consumer Affordability Solutions.

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