Scam of the day – June 28, 2016 – FTC shuts down mortgage relief scam

Scammers are always taking advantage of people at their most vulnerable so it is certainly no surprise that mortgage relief scams through which scammers promise to provide financial relief for homeowners having difficulty paying their mortgages are extremely common.  Recently, the Federal Trade Commmission (FTC) filed charges against Brookstone Law and Advantis Law as well as a number of their associated lawyers and obtained an injunction halting their scam by which they allegedly stole millions of dollars from desperate homeowners by inducing them into paying to be included in “mass joinder” lawsuits that would prevent their homes from being foreclosed upon and would also provide them with financial rewards of at least $75,000.

The truth is that a mass joinder lawsuit is far more complex than a class action and that although the law groups charged by the FTC did actually file some legal actions against some mortgage issuing banks, they never won a single case and most of the cases were dismissed because the lawyers failed to actively pursue the cases.  People who fell for the scam paid $895 or more for a legal analysis in which they were told that they would win at least $75,000.  Once the victims signed on to the lawsuits, they were required to pay recurring monthly fees of thousands for dollars.  According to the FTC, the scammers even continued to charge their victims the monthly fees after their lawsuits were dismissed.

TIPS

Certainly, advising someone having difficulties paying their mortgage not to speak with their lender or an attorney is such outrageous advice that it should be a strong indication that you are dealing with a scammer.  If you are experiencing difficulty paying your mortgage, you can call 1-888-995-HOPE for free personalized assistance from housing counseling agencies that are certified by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).  You also can get assistance by going to the website of HOPE NOW at www.hopenow.com.  HOPE NOW is a legitimate and effective alliance of counselors, mortgage companies and others that provides help homeowners in financial distress.