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Foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams are a growing problem that could cost you thousands of dollars – or even your home. Scammers often make promises that they can't keep, such as guaranteeing to 'save' your home or lower your mortgage, usually for a fee, often pretending that they have direct contact with your mortgage servicer.
Tips for Avoiding Mortgage Modification Scams
Homeowners should beware of con artists and scams that promise to save their homes or lower their mortgage debt or payments. If you are struggling to pay your mortgage, keep the following tips in mind:
- To find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you, access HUD's database for Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling.
- Only your mortgage servicer has discretion to grant a loan modification. Therefore, no third party can guarantee or pre-approve your HAMP mortgage modification application.
- Beware of anyone seeking to charge you in advance for mortgage modification services. In most cases, charging fees in advance of a mortgage modification is illegal.
- Paying a third party to assist with your application does not improve your likelihood of receiving a mortgage modification. Accordingly, beware of individuals or companies that ask you for payment and tout success rates or claim to be experts in MHA's Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP).
- Beware of individuals or companies that offer money-back guarantees.
- Beware of individuals or companies that advise you as a homeowner to stop making your mortgage payments or to discontinue contact with your mortgage servicer.
- Do not sign over the deed to your property to any individual or organization unless you are working directly with your mortgage company to forgive your debt.
To report illicit activity or suspected scams:
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation's consumer protection agency. If a business doesn't make good on its promises or cheats you out of your money, the FTC wants to know. File a FTC complaint today.
- Submit a CFPB complaint online with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or call 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).