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Learn to Spot Mortgage Rescue Scams

Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams American Premier Realty 615729

This is taken directly from the most recent issue of the Maryland Real Estate Commission newsletter, "The Commission Check." I hope you find it helpful....


Consumers and agents, take note! The U.S. Department of the Treasury has issued a consumer advisory detailing common mortgage modification scams. It pays to be aware of fraudulent tactics that con artists may use to lure distressed homeowners into their trap.

  1. "Pay us $1,000, and we'll save your home." No legitimate counselor will require you to pay such a large sum before they do any work for you.
  2. "I guarantee I will save your home - trust me." Unrealistic promises are a key tip-off that an arrangement may not be legitimate.
  3. "Sign over your home, and we'll let you stay in it." This is a dangerous proposition: signing over your home gives another person the power to sell the house or evict you, and you'll still be liable for the mortgage.
  4. "Stop paying your mortgage." Never stop paying your mortgage unless you have contacted your mortgage lender directly!
  5. "If your lender calls, don't talk to them." You should keep in close touch with your lender, as their understanding of your situation is crucial to a satisfactory resolution.
  6. "Your lender never had the legal authority to make a loan." False arguments like this are meant to convince you that you are not obligated to pay your mortgage. Don't fall for them!
  7. "Just sign this now; we'll fill in the blanks later." Never sign anything you haven't read in detail and clearly understood, and don't let anyone pressure you into signing.
  8. "Call 1-800-Fed-Loan." It's easy to make a scam look like part of a legitimate government program. Call your lender to see if you qualify for federal assistance-which does not require you to pay high fees.
  9. "File for bankruptcy and keep your home." Bankruptcy only stops the foreclosure process temporarily. Stop paying your mortgage, and your lender will eventually foreclose upon your home.
  10.  "Why haven't you replied to our offer? Do you want to live on the streets?" High-pressure tactics are a sure sign of shady business practices. Legitimate foreclosure counselors never treat a client in such a way.

Familiarizing yourself with these scams can save you and your clients time, money, and heartache.

Andrew Monaghan
The Monaghan Group - Glendale, AZ
CRS, GRI, EPro Associate Broker

I have just had to tell a homeowner that their loan modification that they paid an Attorney to do didn't work, her home was foreclosed.

Dec 20, 2009 02:06 AM
Alexandria Virginia
Featuring Susan Craft, CRS, REALTORĀ® - McEnearney Associates - Alexandria, VA
Real Estate Editor

Maybe you should send this to the Attorney General Holder and the state's attorneys general.  They let this go on in plain sight. 

Dec 20, 2009 02:18 AM
John Pusa
Glendale, CA

Hi Laura,

Thank you for an excellent post. Majority of ex subprime mortgage brokers are working in or operating mortgage modification business.

John Pusa

Dec 20, 2009 02:56 AM