Scam-artists are trying to cheat Iowans caught up in the nationwide foreclosure crisis. Mortgage foreclosure “rescue” schemes ask you to pay thousands of dollars up-front for so-called assistance or “rescue” from foreclosure — but they just take your money and do little or nothing to help. The scam puts you in a deeper financial hole, does nothing to save your home and diverts you from getting real help. The Iowa Attorney General’s Office has received scores of complaints from families conned into paying thousands of dollars to companies that promised to help them obtain a loan modification and avoid foreclosure. But then the con-artists did little or nothing to help. The Iowa Attorney General offers these warning signs of foreclosure “rescue” scams:
- Beware of Internet ads promising loan modifications.
- Be wary of solicitations that come by phone, mail, e-mail, or even to your door. Information about people facing foreclosure is included in public court records.
- Watch out for solicitations from out-of-state law firms. Most are foreclosure rescue scams in disguise.
- Beware if someone claims to have a “special relationship” with your lender or “servicer” (they don’t). Beware if they tell you not to talk to your lender or servicer directly because that’s just what you should be doing.
- Beware if they ask for payment “up-front.” It’s illegal in Iowa to charge any fee until all services under the contract are provided.
Don’t delay. If you are facing difficulty making payments, or facing the threat of foreclosure, take steps now to save your home but don’t fall for “mortgage rescue” loan modification schemes that will only make your situation worse! The earlier you get true assistance the more likely you can save your home. Chapter 13 bankruptcy is often the best method of saving a home and discharging other debt at the same time. It’s also possible that a Chapter 13 could be used to eliminate second or third mortgages that are wholly unsecured. The important point is to seek help long before a sheriff’s sale is scheduled. In addition, victims of foreclosure scams may have a right to get their money back plus damages. Contact us at Nancy L. Thompson Law Office, P.C. to discuss your situation as soon as you see a foreclosure problem ahead.