Mortgage Relief Scams
Mortgage Relief And Your Rights
Scammers target desperate homeowners looking to avoid foreclosure and stay in their homes. These scammers promise they’ll get changes to your loan so you can keep your home. But they want you to pay them an upfront fee before giving you any services or getting any results. Don’t do it. It’s illegal for a company to charge you upfront for promises to help you get relief on paying your mortgage. If you’re working with a lawyer, make sure they’re licensed in the state where you live and are reputable.If a company offering help with your mortgage debt doesn’t follow these rules, it could be trying to scam you. Here’s what to know about your rights.
Don’t pay money until you accept the offer
The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule says it’s illegal for a company to charge you a penny until it’s given you a written offer for a loan modification or other relief from your lender — and you accept the offer.
Company must disclose key information to you
If you decide to accept your lender’s offer, the company must give you a document from your lender showing the changes to your loan, clearly tell you the total fee the company will charge you for its services, warn you that you could lose your home — and damage your credit — if you stop paying your mortgage.
Ads must clearly state:
They’re not associated with the government and their services haven’t been approved by the government or your lender. Your lender may not agree to change your loan.
No one can tell you to stop talking to your lender
You always have the right to contact your lender directly to see whether you have other options. Companies that tell you to stop communicating with your lender are breaking the law.
Contact your mortgage lender for legitimate help
If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage or you’ve gotten a foreclosure notice, contact your lender immediately, even if the foreclosure process has already started.
- Go to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s (HUD) list of approved housing counseling agencies to find a counselor in your state who can explain your options.
- Visit makinghomeaffordable.gov, a website from the Department of the Treasury and HUD, or call their help line at 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).
- Visit the Homeowner Preservation Foundation.
- Visit the websites for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). These agencies are working together to help homeowners and renters during the coronavirus pandemic.
How To Report Fraud
Scammers often ask you to pay in ways that make it tough to get your money back. No matter how you paid a scammer, the sooner you act, the better. Learn more about how to get your money back.
If you think you’ve run into a mortgage relief scam, report it to: