Ads hyping easy mortgage modifications can seem like salvation, but most of these programs carry the strong hint of a scam.
“Counselors” promise to save your home if you give them a payment upfront. The money supposedly goes to participating in a lawsuit that will make your mortgage current and drop your payments.
In reality, many of these schemes just take your money. In 2010, nearly 17,000 people logged complaints about such scams with the Federal Trade Commission.
“Anyone facing the possibility of foreclosure can be vulnerable to foreclosure-rescue scams,” says James Reilly Dolan, assistant director of the FTC’s Division of Financial Practices. “The FTC urges consumers to avoid companies advising consumers not to make their mortgage payments.”
Here are a few of the FTC’s tips for avoiding scamsters:
- Be leery of anyone wanting a fee to modify a mortgage.
- Resist pressure to transfer your home’s deed as a tactic to “save” it.
- Don’t pay your mortgage to anyone other than your mortgage company, unless they approved the deal.
If you’re a service member and have questions, you’re entitled to free legal assistance at your installation. Take advantage of that. Doing so can help you to avoid falling prey to a slick scam.