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News > Commentary - Consumer fraud alert: tips for avoiding mortgage modification scams
Consumer fraud alert: tips for avoiding mortgage modification scams

Posted 12/14/2011   Updated 12/14/2011 Email story   Print story

    


Commentary by 22nd Air Refueling Wing legal office
22nd Air Refueling Wing legal office


12/14/2011 - MCCONNELL AIR FORCE BASE, Kan. -- Homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments should be aware of new tactics by con artists and scams promising to save their homes and lower mortgage debt or payments.

If you are struggling to pay your mortgage and are seeking a mortgage modification, keep in mind the following tips from the U.S. Departments of the Treasury, Housing and Urban Development:

· You can apply to the federal Home Affordable Modification Program on your own or with free help from a housing counselor approved by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Applying to the program is free. For more information on how to apply, call the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline, 888-995-HOPE, or visit www.MakingHomeAffordable.gov.

· 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.

· Be aware of anyone seeking to charge you in advance for mortgage modification services because in most cases, charging fees in advance for a mortgage modification is illegal.

· Paying a third party to assist with your HAMP application does not improve your likelihood of receiving a mortgage modification. Also, be skeptical of individuals or companies that ask you for payment, tout success rates or claim to be "experts" in HAMP.

· If an individual or company claims to be affiliated with HAMP or displays a seal or logo representing the U.S. government in correspondence or on the web, you should check the connection by calling the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline.

· Investigate individuals or companies that offer money-back guarantees.

· Research individuals or companies that advise you as a homeowner to stop making your mortgage payments or tell you to not contact your mortgage servicer.

Financially troubled homeowners can avoid scams by working with a HUD-approved housing counselor to understand their options and to apply for assistance. Assistance from HUD-approved housing counselors is free, and homeowners can reach them by calling the 888-995-HOPE .

If you have any questions about HAMP or HAMP-related scams, please contact the 22nd Air Refueling Wing legal office at (316) 759-3599.



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