Say you find yourself struggling with a mountain of debt. Your paycheck seems to be spent before you even get it, as soon as you pay a bill another oneÂ arrives, and you're starting to wonder how much longer you can deal with the stress of unmanageable debt. To make matters worse, you fall behind on your housing payment and your bank threatens you with foreclosure.
So when your phone rings and a professional sounding individual on the other end promises to stop your foreclosure or even modify your mortgage, you see it as a godsend! After all, the government has been promising to help Americans hold on to their homes. A foreclosure assistance agency may even be part of a government effort to help people just like you. As a matter of fact, nothing the "foreclosure assistance agency" says leads you to believe otherwise. Should you take the leap?
Unfortunately, as all too many have learned the hard way, there are no miracle cures when you have serious debt problems. With so many people struggling to hold on to their homes, it comes as little surprise that scammers are taking advantage of vulnerable homeowners at the worst possible time.
So how do these schemes work? In most of these scams, a company will call a homeowner and offer help in stopping a foreclosure. Some companies are little more than a call center, with no attorneys, accountants or loan specialists employed.. The companies demand a fee upfront, sometimes as much as $3000.00. Desperate homeowners will pay the fee, only to discover--often when it is too late--that the company did nothing at all to help them.Â Because of this all too common model, one measure the FTC is considering is a ban on up-front fees for mortgage assistance.
Since April, the government has promised to crack down on "foreclosure assistance" outfits posing as government agencies. Now, a recent meeting of the multi-agency taskforce created by the Obama administration to address the problem of mortgage fraud updated the public on the government's efforts.The FTC brought civil charges against two companies this week that were running foreclosure assistance scams. This brings the number of such cases this year to 22.
One of the worst aspects of this situation is that many of the companies work to create the impression in homeowners that they represent a government agency. The two companies charged this week were doing precisely that, and the government is working hard to crack down on these wrongdoers in particular. It's your responsibility as an informed consumer to protect yourself. If you are being asked to pay a hefty upfront fee, it's a good sign that the modification program is a scam. And remember, bankruptcy is always an option if you are behind on your mortgage. A Chapter 13 bankruptcy will catch up your missed payments over a 5 year plan, and eliminate your unsecured debts. Contact a bankruptcy attorney today to find out more. In North Carolina, contact the Law Offices of John T. Orcutt at 1-888-234-4181. Or visit www.billsbills.com to complete our confidential debt questionnaire.