STOP MORTGAGE FRAUD
With the recent landmark National Mortgage Settlement
between the nation’s five largest
real estate loan servicers and state attorneys general over faulty foreclosure
practices, troubled homeowners are at risk of falling victim to scam artists
offering mortgage modification and other foreclosure prevention services.
Mortgage fraud reports have increased nationwide from more than 6,900 in 2003
to more than 93,500 in 2011, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation
(FBI). And the nonprofit Homeownership Preservation Foundation reported the number of
mortgage foreclosure scams has shot up 60 percent so far in 2012.
In response to the growing fraud, the CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® is
educating homeowners and warning consumers they are at risk of being scammed by
third parties, such as those that promise loan modifications for an up-front
fee, which is illegal.
Many so-called foreclosure rescue companies or foreclosure assistance firms
review foreclosure notices in newspapers, the Internet, and public files to
identify potential victims, according to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).
They then ask for money up-front and claim they can help homeowners save their
home. Some are bold enough to offer a money-back guarantee. However, the
scammers simply take the homeowners’ money, often leaving them in worse
circumstances than before.
Consumers should NEVER pay money up-front for services promised. Instead, get
a referral to a free HUD-approved housing counselor to advise on loan
modifications, short sales, and other alternatives for avoiding foreclosure by
calling (888) 995-HOPE. http://www.995hope.org/.
Homeowners who have a home loan with one of the participating lenders or
servicers should visit their home loan assistance site:
• Ally/GMAC: 800-766-4622
• Bank of America: 877-488-7814
• Citi: 866-272-4749
• JPMorgan Chase: 866-372-6901
• Wells Fargo:
More about the National Mortgage Settlement