"Pay us $1000 and we'll save your home."
Some legitimate housing counselors may charge small fees, but fees that amount to thousands of dollars are a likely sign of potential fraud - especially if they are charged up front. Beware of companies that require you to provide a cashier's check or wire transfer before they take action on your behalf.
- "I guarantee I will save your home - trust me."
Unrealistic promises are a sign that the person making them will not consider your particular circumstances and is unlikely to provide services that will actually help you.
"Sign over your home, and we'll let you stay in it."
Be very suspicious if someone offers to pay your mortgage and rent your home back to you in exchange for transferring title to your home. Signing over the deed to your home to another person gives that person the power to evict you, raise your rent, or sell the house. And you will still be legally liable for paying the mortgage.
- "Stop paying your mortgage."
Do not trust anyone who tells you to stop making payments to your lender or servicer, even if that person says it will be done for you.
"If your lender calls, don't talk to them."
Your lender should be your first point of contact for negotiating a repayment plan, modification or short sale. It is vital to your interests to keep in close contact with your lender and servicer.
"Your lender never had the legal authority to make the loan."
Do not listen to anyone who claims that "secret laws" or "secret information" will be used to elimnate your debt and have your mortgage contract declared invalid.
"Just sign this now; we'll fill in the blanks later."
Take the time to read and understand anything you sign, and have an attorney review it. Never let anyone fill out paperwork for you. Don't let anyone pressure you into signing something you don't understand or agree with.
Some companies trick borrowers into believing that they are affiliated with or are approved by the government, or tell you that you must pay them high fees to qualify for a government loan modification program. You do not have to pay for legitimate government programs.
"File for bankruptcy and keep your home."
Filing bankruptcy only stops foreclosure temporarily. If your mortgage payments are not made, the bankruptcy court will eventually allow the lender to foreclose on your home. Be aware that some scammers will file bankruptcy in your name, without your knowledge, to temporarily stop foreclosure and make it seem as though they have negotiated a new agreement with your lender.
"Why haven't you replied to our offer? Do you want to live on the streets?"
High pressure tactics are a warning sign of a scam. You should avoid anyone wo continually contacts you and pressures you to work with them to stop foreclosure.
- "Send your payments to us and we'll send them to the bank."
You're kidding, right? Never send your payments to anyone but your lender.