Enterprising scammers are swarming around new federal government mortgage foreclosure prevention programs, the Homeownership Preservation Foundation warns.
The foundation says suspected foreclosure scams have risen by nearly 60 percent this year in connection with the new and revised aid programs, such as the National Mortgage Settlement, Home Affordable Modification Program, Home Affordable Refinance Program and the Independent Foreclosure Review.
The foundation, a nonprofit, is aimed at helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure. Its CEO, Colleen Hernandez, said the scammers typically charge for foreclosure-prevention services that homeowners can get for free.
“Sadly, with most scams, no meaningful services are ever provided,” Hernandez said in a statement.
Homeowners should avoid companies and individuals that require upfront payments for foreclosure assistance, Hernandez said.
Of the scams reported, about half involve attorneys or individuals claiming to offer “legal services,” according to the foundation.
Here is a link to review the top six foreclosure scam warning signs.
“Regretfully, every new government initiative spawns a slew of foreclosure avoidance scams, often from the same cast of characters doing business under various names to avoid easy detection and identification,” Hernandez said in a statement.
Hernandez also warned that some scammers claim they are affiliated with the Homeownership Preservation Foundation by using the nonprofit’s logo and brand. She encouraged homeowners to call 888-995-HOPE to ensure they are working with an above-board counselor.
Individuals can also use the hotline to report suspected scams. The foundation refers the information to a database used by government regulators and law enforcement agencies, the group said.
The foundation provides confidential foreclosure prevention counseling for free 24 hours a day in more than 170 languages. The nonprofit has counseled more than six million homeowners since 2007.
Contact Yvonne Wenger at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/yvonnewenger