The Federal Trade Commission (FTC and the California Department of Financial Protection and Innovation (DFPI) have sued a number of companies and their owners doing business under the names Home Matters USA, Academy Home Services, Atlantic Pacific Service Group and Golden Home Services America for operating scam mortgage relief operations that misled consumers and cost them millions. A federal court has issued an injunction temporarily shutting the companies down and freezing their assets while the case continues through the courts.
According to the FTC the defendants targeted homeowners behind in their mortgages through false and deceptive telemarketing calls, text messages and online ads in which they promised to obtain mortgage modifications in three months. Often the defendants, according to the FTC would claim to be affiliated with the federal government.
A telltale sign of a mortgage relief scams is the demand for an upfront fee before services are rendered. Mortgage scammers also often tell you to stop paying your mortgage and not to communicate with your lender. This is bad advice when you have a problem with your mortgage. Failing to make payments can and not communicating with your lender if you are having a problem paying your mortgage will only make the problem worse. Finally, don’t trust any company that guarantees that they can get you a mortgage payment reduction and never transfer title to your home to anyone saying they are trying to help you. That is another sure sign of a scam.
If you do find yourself having difficulty making your mortgage payment, either speak with your lender directly to see if you can get a modification or call a legitimate credit counselor through the Homeownership Preservation Foundation which is a non-profit company that provides free help to modify your mortgage and avoid foreclosure. You can reach them at 1-888-995-HOPE. You can also get additional information and help if you are behind in your mortgage by going to https://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov
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