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What To Do If You Get Scammed From A Loan Modification

For the most part everyone knows by now, the numbers of homeowners struggling with foreclosure that are increasing. Countless homeowners are having trouble making their mortgage payments and are a missed payment or two away from a notice of default.  True they will be having to deal with how to fix bad credit and in the future how to get credit score back up.  But until that time you don’t want to be scammed if you are trying to save your home many of the homes in Santa Maria are for sale are either a short sale or even a foreclosure.   The reality is that the Santa Maria real estate market here in Santa Maria, California has been hit hard with values falling to over 50% of what their values were in the peak.

Many people will investigate any alternative to try and spare their house from foreclosure. This opens the door to scammers. The fact is, mortgage modification and foreclosure relief scams are popping up everywhere you go. As a homeowner you’ll want to know that they are out there and what to look for in order to steer clear of them. A scammer cannot only cost you money but can cost you vital time that you could use to save your house or get ready to move. You need dependable information on foreclosure or the short sale procedure in a timely manner.

Nearly all the ads you’ll notice will claim to help you save your home from foreclosure or lessen your house payment to an easily affordable level. Additionally they infer that they are associated with a government program or enjoy a direct line to your loan company. They don’t.  Certainly, there are honest businesses around that legitimately make an effort to aid homeowners yet, sadly, there is a high number that are simply scams.

Scammers are simple enough to spot simply because they generally ask for money up front. But, they’ve got other sorts of strategies as well. Look for these clues:

1. Someone who demands money at the start before they actually do anything. Many states have recently passed laws regulating money paid in advance for mortgage modification or foreclosure services. The most effective rule of thumb should be to not pay for anything in advance.

2. The scammers have ways of tracking down property owners who have missed payments or have their properties scheduled for auction. They then target these house owners knowing that they are more susceptible since they will be in a troubled situation. When you are one of these homeowners be extra vigilant in any dealings you may have with foreclosure rescue or mortgage modification companies.

3. Some scammers attempt to get you to sign the deed to your house over to them claiming they are going to make the payment on your property. They will not.

4. You should not make a mortgage payment to any person besides your lender. More than likely, you will not see that money again and neither will your lender.

5. Be aware of the phrasing of certain promotions that make it sound like they work directly with a government bailout program. They almost certainly do not. They more than likely would just like to make you another high fee, high interest consolidation loan which will only buy you a little time at great cost.

6. Getting a letter from a real estate agent offering you free services to do a loan modification.  Unless they are a govt sponsored consumer group they do not receive any funding so what is the motive to offer you this service for free? That truly involves lots of paperwork as well as time on the phone?  Well its to eventually get you to sell the home on a short sale so that they can earn a commission on selling your home but not necessarily help you get the loan modification as you may have been hoping for.

Ok, so what if you’ve recently been scammed? Well, you possibly can report the issue to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). They have a web based complaint assistant and have a hotline at 1-877-FTC-HELP. You can also uncover good information regarding foreclosure or short sale consequences online.  There are many benefits to doing a short sale as well but you will have to read about that on my other blogs.  One thing to keep in mind regardless of what you plan on doing is that the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Act of 2007 expires in 2012 and there will be tax consequences that will occur after that.   Please seek some legal counsel as well as some tax council as to what you want to do next year if you feel that maybe you will not qualify for a loan modification to avoid some serious tax consequences from the I.R.S.

There is also the NeighborWorks America group that educates the general public about loan modification scams. The best way to avoid these scams would be to educate yourself on the many varieties of scams and be very cautious about any individual offering to help modify your loan or save your house from foreclosure.

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