This blog contains some simple tips and advice from two regular guys. We're not accountants, financial advisors, or brokers, so follow, ignore, or discuss our ideas as you see fit.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Avoiding mortgage modification scams.

Posted By Paul

A friend of mine got a letter in the mail giving a contact number and suggesting that they could help lower his mortgage payment.

He decided to call and they essentially said they were lawyers who would re-negotiate his mortgage at a lower rate. This service would cost $3000. They asked him who his mortgage was with and when he said bank X they said that they had worked with them before to negotiate 30 year fixed mortgages at a great rate.

Being smart, he called his bank next and asked if they had ever heard of this law firm. They essentially said:

1) They had never heard of this firm.
2) They don't offer a 30 year fixed mortgage.
3) They would be happy to renegotiate his rate directly.

Based on this he decided to not call the lawyers back. He discussed the terms of his mortgage with his bank, and they gave him some options that he is considering.

Then just today I saw an article on avoiding mortgage modification scams. It sounds suspiciously similar to what my friend experienced. I wonder what would have happened IF he had decided to go forward and give them the $3000. Maybe they would have just disappeared with his money, or perhaps done some hand waving to make it look like they did a bunch of work to get him the same rate and terms that he got by just calling the bank directly. My friend gave them his email address and they sent him the list of info he would have to gather for them to proceed on his behalf and it was an identity thief's dream (tax returns, pay stubs, etc.).

I suppose it's possible that this people were for real, but I think you really can't be too careful these days, especially when calling someone that sent you a random letter in the mail.

Here is the article on avoiding these scams:

Avoiding mortgage modification scams

Also here are two stories I read about people who fell for these scams and how they ended up losing their homes:

Mortgage scam snags Idaho couple

Chicago owner loses home in mortgage scam

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