Since the beginning of the foreclosure crisis, mortgage relief scams have been on the rise. Looking to take advantage of distressed homeowners, phony companies have been popping up offering illegitimate services for mortgage debt relief. Unfortunately, many homeowners have been victimized by these companies; leaving them in foreclosure and, often, out several thousands of dollars.
The Federal Trade Commission operates to protect consumers and take action against those who violate consumer rights. In the last few years, the FTC has been taking phony mortgage relief companies to court to sue for preying on struggling homeowners. Since the start of their investigations a few years back, hundreds of fake companies have been charged with fraud and ordered to pay restitution to homeowners. Although these victories are a testament to hard work on the part of the FTC, their efforts haven’t stopped in court.
In November of 2010, the FTC issued the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) rule, which provides increased protections for consumers and put a stop to companies collecting money for services until after a written deal has been received from the homeowner’s lender. Since then, collecting upfront fees has become one of the more obvious signs of a scam. However, many homeowners are still uneducated as to what to look for in credible mortgage relief help. Therefore, the FTC has published a guide for consumers to learn what to look for in a reputable company.
For more information from the FTC, visit: http://www.ftc.gov/bcp/edu/pubs/consumer/credit/cre42.shtm