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Foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams are a 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 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 mortgage modification application.
- Beware of individuals and companies using mail and/or phone solicitations that claim to be from your mortgage company, but insist that payments be sent to an alternate contact or address that is different from the information in your mortgage statement.
- 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. In particular, avoid any business that:
- pressure you to sign papers you haven't had a chance to read thoroughly or that you don't understand;
- offer to buy your house for cash for much lower than the selling price of similar houses in your neighborhood.
- Beware of individuals or companies that offer money-back guarantees or insist on upfront fees and can only accept payment by cashier's check or wire transfer.
- 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 for mortgage assistance 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 counselor at 888-995-HOPETM (4673). To find a HUD-approved housing counseling agency near you, access HUD's database for
Foreclosure Avoidance Counseling.
- Call 888-995-HOPE (4673) to report a suspected scam and to get mortgage help.
- The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the nation's consumer protection agency. If a business doesn't make good on its promises or cheats you out of money, the FTC wants to know.
File a FTC complaint
Submit a CFPB complaint online with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), or call 1-855-411-CFPB (2372).