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) shut down such a scam which went under the names of HOPE Services and HAMP Services. These scammers made it appear in their written and oral communications that they were non-profit companies affiliated with the federal government to provide mortgage relief. They made false promises of being able to lower monthly payments and interest rates, when in fact, all they did was steal payments from their victims whom they directed to make their payments directly to them instead of to their lenders. In addition, they also advised their victims not to talk to their lenders or attorneys. The misuse of the HOPE name may have been done to take advantage of the goodwill and reputation of HOPE NOW, which is a legitimate and effective alliance of counselors, mortgage companies and others to legitimately help homeowners in financial distress.
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 http://www.hopenow.com.