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DRE Issues Alert to Thwart Loan Mod Scams

By Tavis J. Hampton | March 23, 2011

When a family is facing foreclosure, an uncertain future, and the possibility of being homeless, they need guidance from sound organizations and compentent individuals.  Nothing could be worse for them than thinking they might get relief, only to have their glimmer of hope crushed by con artists posing as mortgage relief agencies.

Fraud words

Unfortunately, that is what is happening far too often, and the California Department of Real Estate has issued an alert to warn homeowners about the scams.

According to the DRE, it has handled over 4500 cases involving loan mod complaints, sent 244 Desist and Refrain orders to 785 respondents, and filed 88 accusations against 159 real estate license violators.

Because struggling to pay your mortgage can be a difficult and emotional situation, the DRE offers the following advice to help you keep a clear head and investigate any claims carefully.

  • Never pay up front for loan modifications. Any advance fees for loan mods, short sales, deed-in-lieu, or mortgage rescues are illegal and in violation of federal law.
  • No one can guarantee success, no matter how good they are at negotiation.  Be mindful of that
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.
  • Find out as much as you can about the organization and its claims.  Do background checks on the parties or individuals involved.  Sometimes a quick Internet search will reveal complaints about them.
  • You can always contact a HUD-approved counselor for questions about mortgage relief and loan modifications.
  • You also have the option to negotiate a loan modification on your own.  You do not actually need a representative.

Mortgage scam fax

Mortgage scam fax

The California Department of Real Estate's mission is to help protect public interests in "real estate matters."  Along with the new alert, the DRE website also lists all of the organizations that received complaints and Desist and Refrain orders

Homeowners interested in reading the alert can download it for free at the DRE website.

Feature images, courtesy:  Mark Mathosian and Chris.

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