Foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams are a huge and growing problem that could cost you thousands of dollars – or even your home. Scammers will make promises that they can’t keep, such as guaranteeing to “save” your home or lower your mortgage payments, usually for a fee, sometimes even claiming that they have direct contact with your mortgage company.
Tips to Avoid Scams
If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage, keep the following tips in mind:
- Beware of telephone calls urging you to take advantage of the Making Home Affordable Program. Scammers may spoof a servicer’s telephone number, or use fake, common names and surnames, claiming to be calling on behalf of your servicer. Scammers may have specific information about your loan and may follow up with faxed letters that appear to come from your servicer.
- Telephone scammers often request payment by MoneyGram or other wire transfer, or completion of paperwork containing your Social Security Number. Do not make any mortgage payments by wire transfer, or provide any personal information, in response to these calls. If you receive unsolicited calls, always check with your mortgage company using the phone number on your mortgage statement, or call 888-995-HOPE™ (4673) to check its legitimacy.
- 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.
- Only your mortgage company has the discretion to grant a loan modification. Therefore, no third party can guarantee or pre-approve your Home Affordable Modification ProgramSM (HAMP®) mortgage modification application.
- Paying a third party to assist with your application may not improve your likelihood of receiving a mortgage modification. Beware of individuals or companies that ask you for payment, tout their success rate, or claim to be Making Home Affordable (MHA) HAMP experts.
- Beware of individuals or companies that offer money-back guarantees.
- Beware of individuals or companies that advise you to stop making your mortgage payments or discontinue contact with your mortgage company.
- 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.
- You can apply to MHA on your own or with free help from a HUD-approved housing counseling agency. For more information and help with your application, call a housing expert at 888-995-HOPE (4673). To find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you, access HUD’s database for Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling.