Beware of Mortgage Scam Artists
More and more, we’re getting calls at our Homeowners HOPE Hotline, 888-995-HOPE from financially struggling homeowners with a very different type of foreclosure help request. In addition to needing our counselors’ assistance to minimize or avoid foreclosure process challenges, they report that they were approached by — or worse, duped by — the growing number of con artists and scammers that prey on distressed homeowners.
Indeed, we’ve seen a whopping 60 percent increase in calls from homeowners reporting suspected loan scam activity in the last year alone. A number of them take advantage of federal relief programs as their “hook” to reel in unsuspecting victims resulting in homeowners paying an average of nearly $3,000 to a scam artist.
As Colleen Hernandez, our CEO, recently reported: “Regretfully, every new government initiative spawns a slew of foreclosure avoidance scams, often from the same cast of characters doing business under various names to avoid easy detection and identification. Most of these scams involve individuals supposedly offering mortgage foreclosure avoidance assistance that trained HPF counselors provide at no cost. Make no mistake: these are scammers. They are quick to make empty promises to guarantee loan modifications or foreclosure avoidance and even quicker to take homeowners’ money. As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau warns, “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.”
Some of these scammers even try to hijack our name and logos to fool vulnerable borrowers in need of mortgage assistance. Don’t be fooled — the only number to call to reach HPF for counseling assistance is the Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE.
Protect yourself. Know the warning signs of potential mortgage scams, which we’ve posted here.