This Day On The Street
Continue to site
This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here

4 Ways To Prevent Mortgage-relief Scams

Millions of American homeowners are still underwater, attempting either a refinance or a loan modification to help make their mortgages more affordable and their homes more valuable.

But far too many homeowners don't properly investigate the supposed source for their mortgage relief and wind up scammed by fake mortgage-relief companies.

Mortgage-relief scams became a burgeoning trend in the aftermath of the Great Recession as massive home price declines wiped out home equity leaving millions of homeowners underwater -- owing more on their mortgages than their properties are worth.

With so many homeowners facing financial distress, mortgage-relief scammers have stepped up their efforts to try and separate vulnerable homeowners from their money.


According to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, "Mortgage relief scammers falsely claim that, for a fee (typically hundreds or thousands of dollars paid up-front), they will negotiate with consumers' mortgage lenders or servicers to obtain a loan modification or other relief to avoid delinquency or foreclosure. Many of them pretend to be affiliated with the government or government housing assistance programs. Some falsely claim to be offering legal services or 'audits' of consumers' loan paperwork to help them negotiate a resolution with their lenders. Unfortunately, these operations often fail to obtain the relief they promise, and they sometimes fail to take even minimal steps to help consumers."

Jeremy Heck, a consumer law attorney in Columbus, Ohio says there are two major types of mortgage-relief scammers that advertise heavily via the Internet and mail.

"There are mortgage brokers that attempt to refinance a consumer's residential real estate for what amounts to extraordinarily high fees," he explains. "There are other companies that advertise to modify a consumer's mortgage and claim they can achieve a much lower interest rate. Both of these types of companies advertise in a way that implies they are related to or are part of a governmental organization."

Here are four tips to help prevent mortgage-relief scams:

Do not pay any money up front

Heck notes that some loan-modification companies charge high fees of between $2,500 and $5,000. "But at the end of the day, they provide absolutely no benefit," he says. If you are talking to a mortgage-relief company that promises they can reduce your home loan, ask for testimonials and references from satisfied clients -- and never put any money down until you see some results.

Don't assume you are safe from foreclosure

If you've been receiving mortgage delinquency notices from your mortgage lender, you may be closer to foreclosure than you might think. At that point, it's much better to work directly with your bank or lender than a mortgage-relief company. "Many times a consumer will believe they are protected from foreclosure having retained a loan modification company, but in reality, there is no protection and a foreclosure is usually imminent," says Heck.

Ask a lot of questions

If you do decide to hire a mortgage-relief company, start asking questions, and don't agree to anything until you get those questions answered.

1 of 2

Check Out Our Best Services for Investors

Action Alerts PLUS

Portfolio Manager Jim Cramer and Director of Research Jack Mohr reveal their investment tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
Quant Ratings

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
Stocks Under $10

David Peltier uncovers low dollar stocks with serious upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
14-Days Free
Only $9.95
14-Days Free
Dividend Stock Advisor

David Peltier identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Trifecta Stocks

Every recommendation goes through 3 layers of intense scrutiny—quantitative, fundamental and technical analysis—to maximize profit potential and minimize risk.

Product Features:
  • Model Portfolio
  • Intra Day Trade alerts
  • Access to Quant Ratings
Real Money

More than 30 investing pros with skin in the game give you actionable insight and investment ideas.

Product Features:
  • Access to Jim Cramer's daily blog
  • Intraday commentary and news
  • Real-time trading forums
Only $49.95
14-Days Free
14-Days Free
AAPL $93.74 0.00%
FB $117.58 0.00%
GOOG $693.01 0.00%
TSLA $240.76 0.00%
YHOO $36.60 0.00%


Chart of I:DJI
DOW 17,773.64 -57.12 -0.32%
S&P 500 2,065.30 -10.51 -0.51%
NASDAQ 4,775.3580 -29.9330 -0.62%

Free Reports

Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs