The housing crisis has left many in fear of foreclosure, with job loss, rising interest rates due to adjusted rate mortgages, plummeting home values, and unexpected home maintenance costs. Many have sought relief through loan modifications. Unfortunately, the fear of losing one’s home has led many people to take a leap of faith and trust fraudulent companies, causing many to lose their homes — the very thing they were most afraid of.
While there are programs that legitimately offer loan modifications that can help prevent foreclosure, it is not easy to tell who is being honest and who isn’t. Companies have used tactics that include using images of President Obama, a Whitehouse watermark, and a Capitol Hill neighborhood address to try to lead people to believe they are signing up for a government sanctioned program. Some of the websites for the loan modifications scams include “.gov” in the title, and end in “.us” causing even further confusion.
Sources report that many of the loan modification scams have targeted black and Latino communities by placing ads in neighborhoods with high minority populations and advertising on Spanish language radio stations. Ads make promises that say they will “keep them from taking your home,” extend the term of a loan, lower monthly payments and more.
The saying “if it looks too good to be true, it probably is” runs true for many loan modification programs. Even if the promises sound sincere, it is best not to take them at face value. Having an attorney who specializes in mortgages and loan modifications take a close look at any program you are considering can help to protect you against possible scams and may prevent you from losing your home.
Huffington Post: “Mortgage Relief Scams Proliferate After Recession,” Janell Ross, Sep. 26, 2011