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 to find out more.

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


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 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.

If you paid a fee before you had a written offer from your lender, please file a complaint at You also may want to contact 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 The information you give will go into a database that law enforcement uses for investigations.

I've reported this company under name consumer defense sane owner. My story almost identical to so many I've read out money my home of 13 years sold in sheriff sale single mom of 5 RN for 15 years. I obtained Legal representative, AG had sent two letters with no response, I have abusuve emails from Mr.Hanley blatantly lying, projecting blame, asking me why I am so difficult in reference to my refusal to sign a release of liability when they were caught dead in a lie and fraudulent business practice. To date they still have my money, I willl be homeless in a few months. I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people in my life and fortunately their weath & outrage this has happened are my financial backing to hold this ifraud accountable . I've never received a word from FTC

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 " 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.

Don't give them a dime, contact your lender! Believe i went thru it with them.. Lost over $5000. Stay away from them, theives!!!

Yes, I've heard of them, they are frauds! I dealt with a Brian Williams, then to a supposedly lawyer, Darrin Jacobs. Lost $5400 to this organization.. Smooth talker, this Brian Williams, but it's all designed to rip you off..

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.

Yes I have they took us for 3 payments of almost $$1600.00 and they said not to contact the mortgage holder, now there is a good chance we could lose the house. Planing on going to the news in the Irvine Ca area as well as the papers might be able to get the word out to save other people from these crooks maybe even going to the Ca. Bar to see if they will get the law license revoked that is if they are even a law firm

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 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 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! 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 to find out more.

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

I posted on Sept 3, 2016 and I am still dealing with Bryan Williams and Darrin Jacobson. They keep telling me to be patient the process takes time. I call today to talk to Darrin Jacobson and SURPRISE. his phone is disconnected and his emails are returned undeliverable. Naturally Bryan Williams will not return my calls or emails at this point. I paid them 3 trial payments of which the mortgage company shows no record of. As of today my loan mod is still waiting on one document to be sent in by Samaritan Law Center which I gave it to them a week ago. I have lost $3,833.40 and I have no idea where I am in the process of foreclosure.

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 to find out more.

I have also been contacted by Oak Ridge Financial just a couple of weeks ago. Everything sounds so good! The modification terms, the new rate, the adjusted value of my home...all up until the point of him saying not to pay my next 2 months as well! That just didn't sound right to me either. Especially when I had not received any documentation from my lender. What also caused me some concern was that he said if the lender did contact me, I was not to say anything or provide any information. I really need some help! I have tried a modification before and it did not work in my favor but put me further behind.

Has anyone worked with Samaritan Law Center out of California?

I think we should all pull together
Find these people. And get money back and/or shut them down

Anybody ever dealt with Consumer Affordability Solutions? They may go by CAS Solutions out of Carson, CA. Just reading all of your posts has really helped with my decision not to deal with these companies. Just know you have helped others with your comments. I'm at the point where they presented a great quote but now it's time to pay before we can move on. What worries me is that I can't find any other information on the internet about these guys nor do I see they are registered with the Better Business Bureau. Why can they get me a 2% loan with my lender but I couldn't approach them myself to get the same thing?

Yes CAS has contacted me as well with a great offer but wants me to pay $750 to start the process with another $1100 to pay later. I am now questioning whether this is a scam. I am going to do further investigation and call my lender before I send any money. I am also going to contact CAS and tell them that I heard that their request for payment of a fee upfront is illegal and see what they have to say.

We were declined when we submitted our package to the no one returns my calls.....yes 1800.00

CAS or Consumer Affordability Solutions IS A SCAMMER! Their domain was registered in Oct of 2016! They claim to be operating since 2007 but ZERO data dates before 2016! Do NOT fall for their scam! Here are some keywords to help other consumers find them; Consumer Affordability Solutions reviews, Consumer Affordability Solutions complaints, Consumer Affordability Solutions Con.

Samaritan, National home preservationist, both rip offs..

What if its the same bank you have your mortgage with offering you the modification?

Do Not deal with The National Home Preservationists and Samaritan Law Center. Both use the same address and phone numbers. You can never get anyone to answer the phone and both websites have been taken down.

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!!!

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 / / 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 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.

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