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.

Omg we are involved with legal network. what happened? we also told all of what you wrote here. now I am so scared.please reply asap.
thanks

If you paid a fee before you had a written offer from your lender, please file a complaint at ftc.gov/complaint. You also may want to contact www.hopenow.com to see if you qualify for legitimate mortgage modification programs.

I did extensive research on US Legal Network. They don't accept payments nor do they provide any type of mortgage assistance. They refer homeowners to a network of law firms who specialize in real estate law. The homeowner's legal criteria and state dictates which real estate law firm they refer them to.

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!!!!

Well this company is still in business and I just got scammed out of 1300 dollars.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

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.

I did use a company and they did not do anything for me but take my money once a month. Now I have to file bankruptcy because of this. What should I do?

The company Amerihope and my lender is USbank they did not tell me you have to purchase your home in 2009 and I purchase mines in 2012. Didn't know this until the 3rd time I did the modification with USbank and Amerihope legal services was representing the 2nd and 3rd time. I kept communications open with Amerihope but the person who represented me was not very good with telling me about certain things he should have known after they denied me the 3rd time. Why didn't they know this. It's call research every thing which they did not.

I had to call the FBI when I found out that the mortgage relief program from Evertree LLC was a scam, almost lost our home!!!! I filed a complaint but I never heard anything back not sure how these work. It is just horrible!

Who is this guy Jim Wilson seems like it could be a scam but can't find much info about the guy or the company online. they ask for money up front but I'm not buying it unless they can show proof that it works.

Does anyone know anything about National Servicing Center based out of California? I paid them $4,595.00 for a loan modification in January 2015, only to be told five months later that my lender does not accept loan modifications. They are refusing to refund the money that I paid.

I can not count how many times I receive calls from upset homeowners who have been scammed by third party companies when I am at my place of employment. What's even worse is that when these scamming companies are confronted they will admit defeat but not refund any money back. So my advice for anyone who is reading this article is to beware of third party companies who attempt to save your home from foreclosure. I always advise my customers to go directly to their mortgage servicer or lender if they are ever in need of help with their home.

Has anyone heard of the Samaritan Law Center, in Irvine, Califirnia?.or a man named Micheal Clark?this concerns getting a loan modifications when our home is in default.

Is he asking for any money upfront. I am talking to National Home Preservationist out of Irvine, CA. they ask me to give them personal figures but they say they will not charge me. Has anyone heard of them?

I am working with the Samaritan Law Center which is also The National Home Preservationists - I just got 'approved' today but something felt 'off'. I'm hoping to find more information because it looks to me like they want payment for 3 months by Cashier's Check..

Don’t pay any business, organization, or person who promises to prevent foreclosure or guarantees you a new mortgage. So-called “foreclosure rescue companies” claim they can help save your home, but they can’t really do that. They’re just out to make a fast buck. Some may ask for big fees in advance – and then, once you pay, stop returning your calls. Cut off all conversation if someone insists on a fee in advance.

It's illegal for a company to charge you a penny until:

  1. it gives you a written offer for a loan modification or other relief from your lender; and
  2. you accept the offer. The company also must give you a document from your lender showing the changes to your loan if you decide to accept your lender's offer. And the company must clearly tell you the total fee it will charge you for its services.

Read about mortgage relief scams.

This is a total scam, and a very scary one. I got hooked by these guys. The principal of the company is registered with the LA Bar Association. He knows the law. Even worse, he has a TEAM of people who represent him, Michael Clark is just one. I have dealt with three others and am in the process of retaining legal counsel to pursue malpractice and fraud charges. They prey on out-of-state homeowners because once they have your money they are nearly impossible to pursue. If you have paid them via cashier's check (which is their preferred method), trace them through your bank within 30 days to find out where they were deposited. Because all bank accounts are tied to a name and ID somewhere, this will give you at least some leverage.

Beware of the National Home Preservationists and the Samaritan Law Center. I lost money and have nothing to show for it. They just stopped returning my calls after I sent the third payment for their services.

Please report this to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint. The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

They did me the same way i started having problems after my first payment so i started calling asking for thomas hopkins and was told he was promoted and Kevin jones is handling my case. I call several times and just get dumped into voicemail.

So i call the number that was on my making homes affordable paper that came in the mail. This is the number i dialed on my very first call. I ask for thomas hopkins who originally answered the first time and was told there is no one there by that name.so i finally get to talk to jevin james and i asked where thomas hopkins was and he told me he got promoted and my new case manager is now darrin jacobson.

I was told darrin had my file and would call my mortgage company and remind them we signed a cease and desist letter and all calls to be directed to darrin. This all started july 21 2016 as of sept 2 2016 my mortgage company has never heard from darrin. I have made several calls and emails to darrin and nothing in return.

Dont call samaritan law center on fridays cuz i was told they r all in meetings all day friday. I asked if it was surfs up fridays and he laughed and said yeah. I also asked darrin who handles my direct cash deposits i had to make at wells fargo bank and he said he doesn't handle that part and i asked who does he just talks fast and over me and never gaveme an answer. I made several phone calls one day and just let it ring and ring. A guy answers and i ask for darrin and was told hes in a meeting call back in half hour.

I called back and a different guy answered and said if u keep calling we will block your number! I said who will block it he said u heard me ur number will be blocked!..so several days go by along with several emails and i finally get a hold of darrin and now my file is lost in michael clarks computer.. umm.. who the hell is michael clark. Was told we have to start all over again..i have resubmit my financials and all paperwork that was signed. I think im being scammed because my file is lost and nothing sent to my mortgage company. How can i be making payments if the last contact to the mortgage company was thomas hopkins on July 21 2016 a man that doesnt exist at samaritan law center or the national home preservationist.

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.

You can report a scam to the FTC at FTC.gov/complaint, your state Attorney General’s office and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

I was contacted by a company called Oak Ridge Financial, who stated that the have been in business for 9 years. He stated that the the reason they charge a fee is because of the time and process, they are charging 2600.00 and want the funds split in half paid by credit card. The website shows letters from people who have been approved, but I am a little worry about that. Have anyone else heard of them. The are located in Illinois. They told me not to pay mortgage company for 2 months, which will put me behind and a show a negative on my credit, they want me to send the money to them. They have a guarantee that if it is not approved, I will get all but 500 back. I am not going to do this, it sounds shady.

It is against the law for a company that provides mortgage relief services to charge you before it gives you a written offer from your lender and you accept the offer.

A company that asks you to send your mortgage payment to it, while it negotiates on your behalf, almost always takes the money and disappears. If your lender doesn’t get your mortgage payments, you could lose your home.

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.

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