Thursday, December 24, 2009
Iowa Attorney General: Beware of 'Foreclosure Rescue Scams'
Scam-artists are trying to cheat Iowans who are affected by the nationwide foreclosure crisis, according to Iowa Attorney General Tom Miller.
Miller said his office has received scores of complaints from families who were conned into paying $1,000 to $1,500 or more to mortgage "rescue" companies that promised to help them obtain a loan modification and avoid foreclosure.
The con-artists did little or nothing to help.
The attorney general said the scam puts borrowers in a deeper financial hole, does nothing to save their home, and diverts them from getting real help.
Miller urges consumers to beware the warning signs of foreclosure "rescue" scams:
* Internet ads promising loan modifications;
* Someone claims they can help, and requests payment for their services. They might contact borrowers by phone, mail, or e-mail, or even might come to a borrower's door, because information about people facing foreclosure is included in public court records;
* Someone claims to have a "special relationship" with a borrower's lender or "servicer." "They don't," says Miller's office;
* They advise borrowers to not directly talk with lenders or servicers. "That's just what borrowers should be doing," says Miller; and
* They ask for payment "up-front." It's illegal in Iowa to charge any fee until all services under the contract are provided. No legitimate company will ask you to pay hundreds of dollars in advance to help save your home.
Borrowers cheated by a "rescue scam" should contact the Iowa Attorney General's Office online at http://www.IowaAttorneyGeneral.org.
Borrowers facing foreclosure or having trouble making payments can call the Iowa Mortgage Help Hotline at 877-622-4866.