The unfortunate fact is most loan modification companies out there are scams. They promise guaranteed results or fantastically low interest rates that they just can’t or don’t even try to fulfill.
The first sign that a company is actually running a loan modification scam is this: The Company contacting you first.
Whether by flyer, mail, or phone these scam artists contact anyone in neighborhoods where they think they might be able to lure in an unsuspecting homeowner. Rich or poor, it doesn’t matter. Anyone is a prospective target for them, as long as they can extract some money.
Next is probably the biggest flag: They require an upfront fee. People from all walks of life are having difficulty paying their mortgage, and the people running any loan modification scam adjust the amount to a rate they think you’ll pay in order to “get started.” They may even claim it’s a special deal – any deal – just to draw you in.
Often these people take your money and run, but sometimes they request extra money later on because the lender needs a deposit to hold trust. This is a total lie and in all actuality, it’s going into their pocket.
Sometimes these loan modification scam companies also claim you should stop paying your mortgage so the lender takes a special interest in your case. It’s not hard to see how these scammers can potentially hurt you.
Of course, not all loan modification companies are run by scam artists. Among the bad apples are companies that truly want to help you stay in your home.
Legitimate companies usually do not charge for the initial consultation, though they do charge later on. The only free help is through FHA representatives, but they are difficult to get assistance from since the demand is so high…
A real company that is not a loan modification scam will give you a professional consultation and if you decide to work with them, walk you through the entire process. Most will help you write up your paperwork as well as your hardship letter. They will also mediate between you and the lender to get not only a successful modification, but possibly one with terms you would not be able to get otherwise.
Before committing to any company, check with the BBB and absolutely do not deal with any modification company that charges you a fee right at the start. Knowledge is power when protecting yourself against loan modification scam companies.
Emma Lanier, “Home Loan Modifications Myths”, Mortgage Lending Modifications
Paul Kiesel, “FBI: Beware of Loan Modification Scams”, Injury Board