These days you can’t be too careful when it comes to protecting yourself against scams. We don’t just have to worry about credit scams or identity theft, but we also have to worry about mortgage or foreclosure fraud scams. With so many people desperately seeking mortgage debt relief, new scams have been popping up around the country aimed at taking advantage of unsuspecting homeowners. Fortunately, the FTC and other government institutions are working to shut these companies down. Until then, keep an eye out for these dead giveaway signs:
Unsolicited Services— In general, it is safe to assume that the only people who know about your mortgage debt or foreclosure notification is you and your lender. If you receive a letter or phone call from a third part company offering to resolve your mortgage debts, do not proceed. Only your lender and mortgage servicer can approve a loan modification or foreclosure alternative for you, do not utilize any services from an unsolicited third party company.
Lavish Guarantees— It isn’t uncommon for even legitimate mortgage relief agencies to offer their clients some sort of guarantee of service. However, when you get into guarantees about being “pre-approved” for a mortgage modification you should think twice. The fact is that no one is pre-approved for a loan modification unless their mortgage says so, which is very rare. Further, any company that offers a “money back” guarantee should also be considered fraudulent as there are rules as to when your payment for services are due.
Upfront Fees— When it comes to providing mortgage relief services there are numerous rules that any company must follow. This includes when the fees for service are due and how they are to be paid. Any company that requires upfront payment, or payment before your mortgage debts have been successfully resolved, should be considered fraudulent. Further, if the company requires payment in the form of cash, money order or direct access to your bank account, do not proceed.
Payment Mediation— Another indication of a non-reputable company is one that offers to pay your lender on your behalf, asks for access to your bank accounts or advises you to stop payments to your lender. Never let a third party company pay your mortgage or debt payments on your behalf and never stop paying your lender.