Avoid These 3 Mortgage Scams!

Avoid-Mortgage-ScamsWhile the housing market slowly recovers, scam artists continue to prey on desperate homeowners. Don’t become a victim! Thousands of homeowners are duped each year through mortgage scams, according to senior counsel for the Fair Housing & Fair Lending Project. Here are a few of the most common mortgage scams to be on the look out for!

Avoid These Mortgage Scams!

  1. Upfront Loan Modification Fees – Never pay upfront loan modification fees. Homeowners who pony up fees prior to a loan modification receive nothing in exchange. Legitimate lenders will not ask for money upfront. Scammers typically use abbreviations and program names like HARP or HAMP – hoping that the homeowner will be duped into assuming they are dealing with what sounds like a government sponsored program.
  2. Fake Mortgage Companies – It’s a fact that banks frequently buy and sell mortgages. Savvy scammers contact homeowners and represent themselves as the new owner of your mortgage loan, happily accepting your payments while you are none the wiser. If your mortgage lender sells your loan to another bank, you will receive a letter indicating who the new owner is. You will also receive a letter from the new owner explaining how payments can be made. Scammers are aware of this process, you will want to verify all information before mailing any payments.
  3. Lease/Buy-Back Agreements – Public records make it possible for con artists to know when a home is in foreclosure. In lease/buy-back mortgage scams, the perpetrator promises the deed transfer is temporary and you’ll be able to rent the home from the new owners and eventually repurchase the home after you get back on your feet. Brian Sullivan, a U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development spokesman says. “If people are coming to you asking you sign away your home so they can make payments for you, run for the hills!”

Homeowner Help

Homeowners are more likely to become victims of fraud when they are not aware of the options available to them. Visit the U.S Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Homeowner Help section for information on avoiding foreclosure.

About Inlanta Mortgage – Celebrating 20 Years

Celebrating its 20th Anniversary, Inlanta Mortgage is a growing mortgage banking firm committed to quality mortgage lending, ethical operations and strong customer service.

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is an agency approved lender for Fannie Mae, FHA/VA, FHA 203K and USDA. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS #1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be named to the Scotsman Guide Top Mortgage Lenders 2012 list and to be among the Top 100 Mortgage Banking Companies in America in 2012 and Fastest Growing Milwaukee-Area Firms.

 

Avoid Mortgage Scams!

Avoid Mortgage Scams
Be on the look out for predators that seek to take advantage of you when you are trying to avoid foreclosure. This is a very scary and stressful time for most people, which can make people more vulnerable to scam artists.

Here are some common examples of mortgage-relief scams to be on the look out for:

1. The Scmuck – Avoid This Guy

Howard Shmuckler, (whom we will un-affectionately refer to as the Schmuck from here on), told homeowners to stop making their mortgage payments and avoid contact with their lenders while he collected millions in upfront fees under the guise of a guaranteed loan modification under HAMP (Home Affordable Modification Program). Guarantees are not possible in circumstances involving foreclosure or home loan modification. The Schmuck preyed on vulnerable victims who in the end wasted a lot of time and money on a scam – when they could have been working directly with HAMP to save their homes.

How to spot a Schmuck? Homeowners should never pay a fee for loan-modification assistance. Government and nonprofit housing counselors provide this service for free. Steer clear of anyone advising you to stop paying your mortgage payments or to stop talking to your lender. Avoid anyone that offers a guarantee to stop foreclosure. Some of the Schmuck’s victims may have been eligible for loan modification if they hadn’t stopped paying their mortgage.

Read more about the Schmuck here.

2. No Traction When Paying for Class Action

Both fake and legitimate law firms send enticing letters to homeowners who are not in financial distress. In these letters, the law firm claims that the homeowners have been wronged by their lenders and may be eligible for restitution. Homeowners are then asked to pay their share of legal fees. This is referred to as a mass-joinder scam in which borrowers are invited to file separate law suits but share legal fees.

What you need to know: Never pay a fee to become part of a class-action lawsuit.

Read about Kramer & Kaslow – a California law firm accused of deceptively marketing mass joinder lawsuits to consumers.

3. Scoff at Mortgage Loan Audit Offers

If you receive a phone call in which the salesperson says they are going to audit your mortgage loan documents and use the violations they find to force your lender to approve a loan modification – hang up! These salespeople who seem genuinely concerned for your welfare will eventually ask for a fee to complete the audit – an audit that will never be completed!

What you need to know: Consumers can find legitamate, local HUD-approved counselors at the HUD website. Don’t trust anyone that asks for an upfront fee to help you with your loan modification.

The Federal Trade Commission has posted a Consumer Alert referring to these fraudulent “rescue” professionals on their website.

Have you or someone you know been a victim of a mortgage scam?

Federal Trade Commission: 877-382-4357
Loan Modification Scam Prevention Network: 866-459-2162
Better Business Bureau Scam Source
Special Inspector General for Troubled Asset Relief Program Hot line: 877-744-2009

Inlanta Mortgage offers Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac agency products, as well as a full suite of jumbo and portfolio programs. The company is fully delegated HUD-FHA including FHA 203K, VA, and USDA approved. Inlanta Mortgage also offers numerous state bond agency programs. Review Inlanta’s mortgage loan programs here.

Inlanta Mortgage is a multi-state mortgage banker based out of Brookfield, Wisconsin. NMLS# 1016. Inlanta Mortgage is proud to be a recent recipient of a 2012 Top Workplace Award.