Thursday, February 17, 2011

FTC rule helps stop mortgage relief scams

Companies who offer to provide mortgage relief for homeowners who are having trouble keeping up with their mortgages and who seek loan modifications or other relief are not always the good guys. Some scammers have sprung up during the current mortgage crisis who will offer this kind of assistance, charge fees up front, then string the consumer along ultimately providing no relief, and usually leaving the consumer worse off.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has issued a rule that became effective January 31, 2011 prohibiting companies offering mortgage assistance from charging fees up front. The rule also provides that if a company offers some kind of specific mortgage relief the consumer may reject the offer without obligation. A fee can only become due if the consumer accepts the mortgage relief offer.

Licensed attorneys who provide mortgage assistance relief services as part of the practice of law are exempt from the advance fee ban, but must comply with state laws governing attorney conduct, including rules about placing advance fees in client trust accounts, where required (such as in West Virginia).

Consumers can get more specific information about how to protect themselves from mortgage relief scams from the FTC website and this downloadable publication "Mortgage Assistance Relief Scams: Another potential Stress for Homeowners in Distress."


At 12:16 PM, Anonymous West Virginia Web Design said...

The radio ads I have heard for these scammers sound "sincere" enough, but if you listen closely, you can tell they are making hollow promises.


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