Homeowners Warned Of Phony Foreclosure Prevention Hotlines
Homeownership Preservation Foundation President Affirms 888-995-HOPE™ is the only official Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline
October 15, 2008 – Washington, D.C. — Homeownership Preservation Foundation (HPF) President and Executive Director, Colleen Hernandez, today warned homeowners of fraudulent foreclosure prevention services and hotlines claiming to be affiliated with or dishonestly mimicking legitimate services offered by the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline, 888-995-HOPE™.
“888-995-HOPE is the only official Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline currently offering free foreclosure-prevention services to struggling homeowners,” stated Hernandez. “Any seemingly similar hotline phone number, website, or company should be highly suspect to consumers seeking help in addressing their housing difficulties.”
The Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline, 888-995-HOPE (4673), a national 24/7 hotline provided by the Homeownership Preservation Foundation, is a free resource offering bilingual, personalized assistance to help homeowners struggling to avoid foreclosure. HPF is a member of the HOPE NOW Alliance, an Administration initiative established to assist homeowners at risk of foreclosure.
Recent reports have described alleged scams carried out by companies using similar 800 numbers, such as 800-995-HOPE, that charge up-front fees and claim to be able to help struggling homeowners pay off their mortgages or work with their mortgage providers to save their home. Others are promising to pay off delinquent loans with money that consumers provide as “escrow”.
“The word “hope” is easily exploited by those seeking to mislead struggling homeowners in search of real help. Some homeowners have lost thousands of dollars to these unscrupulous and fraudulent “counselors” who claim to offer foreclosure assistance but who, instead, have merely taken precious dollars from homeowners already in financial distress,” said Hernandez.
“The Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline is a free service that provides struggling homeowners with access to HUD-approved counselors who work with callers to examine the details of their current financial situation, develop goals and a plan of action for moving forward, and recommend the best options for each individual’s situation,” Hernandez continued. “We offer consumers a place to turn to address their fears of foreclosure and to help them move forward in reaching the best solution to accomplish their homeownership goals.”
Hernandez urged homeowners seeking help to:
- Remember that the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline, 888-995-HOPE™, is the only official, free and trustworthy HOPE Hotline for struggling homeowners.
- Avoid any websites, phone numbers, or companies and individuals requesting up-front payment of fees or claiming to be affiliated with the 888-995-HOPE™ or the Homeownership Preservation Foundation. Services provided by the Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline and our affiliates are absolutely free to consumers and accessible only by calling 888-995-HOPE.
- Never grant access to bank accounts, provide Social Security numbers, write a check, wire money, or otherwise pay for counseling sessions.
- Never turn over the deed to a home to people claiming to be “counselors” or sign legal agreements that you do not understand.
- Never pay money to a third party promising to bring a mortgage current or begin a repayment program. Such payments should only be made directly to a mortgage servicer.
- Contact local law enforcement or the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) if you believe you have been the victim of scam foreclosure prevention operators.
“The Homeownership Preservation Foundation has formally contacted both the FCC and FTC in terms of public interest concerns regarding these “copycat” hotlines. HPF and our Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline agency network partners call upon federal, state and local government representatives and consumer protection organizations to take the appropriate steps to ensure these fraudulent schemes do not take advantage of any more consumers,” said Hernandez.
“As we await the verdict of the FCC and FTC, in terms of shutting these scammers down, I encourage struggling homeowners to continue to call the real Homeowner’s HOPE™ Hotline, 888-995-HOPE™. We are here to help; twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week three hundred and sixty-five days a year.”