The foreclosure crisis is winding down after a tough spell for many homeowners. But there are still a lot of people, maybe you, who are in danger of losing their homes. Scammers know that and are on the prowl.
Most Americans get their mortgage modifications through the Making Home Affordable Program, or HAMP. Unfortunately, it was supposed help four million and only about 800,000 have been helped so far. But you can be one of them.
First, it’s important to avoid the scams.
There are basically four scams.
- Counseling Scam- For an upfront fee, which is illegal under the Federal Trade Commission rules, they promise you that they will represent you before the bank. Once they get the fee, they disappear.
- The Forensic Audit-Attorneys say they will help find mistakes made by the bank in your loan documents. That doesn’t work.
- Rent to Buy-Fraudsters convince you to give them the title to your house. They say they’ll allow you to rent and they will pay the mortgage. Then you are supposed to be able to buy the house back. That never happens.
- Bait and Switch- They give you the mortgage papers to sign for a new mortgage and buried is the document that surrenders the title to your house. You don’t need the scammers and it’s important to watch out for them.
There is a way for you to get a loan modification and it’s free. Simply contact a HUD approved counseling agency. They will give you free help. To find them all you have to do is search on the Internet for HUD approved counseling services, or go to HUD.gov
Alexander Roberts is a housing advocate who works tirelessly to make home ownership a reality for thousands of people.
With Community Housing Innovations,(CHI) the not-for-profit he founded in 1991, he gives out an estimated $2 million dollars in state and private grants every year to first time home buyers. C.H.I. also bought and renovated more than 100 homes, in New York’s Westchester County and on Long Island, and sold them to first time buyers. Alec is an award-winning former investigative TV reporter who knows how to spot a scam, and that’s why he thinks consumers need great advice.