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Do not fall for mortgage rescue scams. Free help available.

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If you are in trouble with your mortgage, there's an army of scammers out there waiting to con you out of your money and possibly your home.

Here are some tips from the Federal Trade Commission, plus phone numbers and web sites to consult for help.

Below, from the FTC......

A Message to Homeowners

Facing foreclosure? Scammers are targeting people having trouble paying their mortgages. Some claim to be able to "rescue" homeowners from foreclosures, while others promise loan modifications - for a fee. The Federal Trade Commission, the nation's consumer protection agency, wants you to know how to avoid scams that could make your housing situation go from bad to worse.
Don't Get Hit by a Pitch.

"We can stop your foreclosure!"
"97% success rate!"
"Guaranteed to save your home!"

These kinds of claims are the tell-tale signs of a foreclosure rip-off. Steer clear of anyone who offers an easy out.
Don't Pay for a Promise.

Don't pay any business, organization, or person who promises to prevent foreclosure or get you a new mortgage. These so-called "foreclosure rescue companies" claim they can help save your home, but they're out to make a quick buck. Some may request hefty fees in advance - and then stop returning your calls. Others may string you along before disclosing their charges. Cut off all dealings if someone insists on a fee.
Send Payments Directly.

Some scammers offer to handle financial arrangements for you, but then just pocket your payment. Send your mortgage payments ONLY to your mortgage servicer.
Don't Pay for a Second Opinion.

Have you applied for a loan modification and been turned down? Never pay for a "second opinion."
Imitations = Frustrations.

Some con artists use names, phone numbers, and websites to make it look like they're part of the government. If you want to contact a government agency, type the web address directly into your browser and look up any address you aren't sure about. Use phone numbers listed on agency websites or in other reliable sources, like the Blue Pages in your phone directory. Don't click on links or open any attachments in unexpected emails.
Talk to a HUD-Certified Counseling Agency - For Free.

If you're having trouble paying your mortgage or you've already gotten a delinquency notice, free help is a phone call away. Call 1-888-995-HOPE for free personalized advice from housing counseling agencies certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). This national hotline - open 24/7 - is operated by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit member of the HOPE NOW Alliance of mortgage industry members and HUD-certified counseling agencies. For free guidance online, visit www.hopenow.com. For free information on the President's plan to help homeowners, visit www.makinghomeaffordable.gov.

Federal Trade Commission
ftc.gov/MoneyMatters

Call 1-888-995-HOPE for free personalized guidance from housing counseling agencies certified by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The Homeowner's HOPEā„¢ Hotline - open 24/7 - is operated by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit member of the HOPE NOW Alliance of mortgage industry members and
HUD-certified counseling agencies. Or visit www.hopenow.com

For free information on the President's plan to help homeowners, visit
www.makinghomeaffordable.gov

6 Comments

It is really important that the word gets out on this. I spent 30+ years in the mortgage industry and as bad as it got with bad players, on a percentage basis the foreclosure prevention/loan modification has far more crooks on a percentage basis. This whole industry needs some serious investigation.
Thanks,
Wayne

The next mortgage scams that needs to be regulated are the elimination of points on a mortgage and the elimination of realtors immoral commissions collected.
On a $400,000 mortgage we could save $12,000 (3 points) + $24,000 ( 6% realtor commission) = $36,000. These are the real mortgage scammers!

I found this list of forecloure resources that the Federal Reserve Bank put together

http://www.monitorbankrates.com/personal-finance/mortgage-foreclosure-resources

There are consumer Tips for avoiding foreclosure rescue scams

Homeowners can try to negotiate a loan modification with their lender without paying a third party service.

Items typically needed include: two recent pay stubs, two recent bank statements, a convincing hardship letter, a very detailed monthly expense budget, recent comparable home sales within a one mile radius. Current income must cover monthly budget expenses, plus the new proposed mortgage payment.

HUD and FHA has foreclosure stopper product called the HECM (reverse mortgage). However, the government has raised fees and interest so high that fewer people qualify.

Another tidbit.

A lot of lenders are doing a half-wit 'loan modification' of 3% for 5 years, but no principle writedown. In 2013, (5 years from now) another wave of homeowners will begin defaulting when these 5 year mod's reset.

Latest estimate reveals 10 million plus American homeowners are expected to lose their homes in this crisis.

Check out the BBC TV report, '$45 trillion Wealth Wipe Out'
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1nttuh8oHYw&NR=1

The loan modification company witch hunt is just a PROPAGANDA trick to take the heat off the 'Bankster's' and limit the information and resources a homeowner can have when fighting the 'cold-blooded' lender for a loan modification.

Any homeowner thinking about having a fighting chance at a loan modification needs to consult with an attorney that specializes in this, just like getting an expert to handle a divorce, workers comp case, etc.

PROPAGANDA is the dissemination of information aimed at influencing the opinions or behaviors of people. As opposed to impartially providing information, propaganda in its most basic sense, often presents information primarily in order to influence its audience. Propaganda often presents facts selectively (thus lying by omission) to encourage a particular synthesis, or gives loaded messages in order to produce an emotional rather than rational response to the information presented. The desired result is a change of the attitude toward the subject in the target audience to further a political agenda.

SOURCE: WIKIPEDIA

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Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

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