Dear Consumer Ed:
I’m about to lose my home and have already received counseling through the government’s Making Home Affordable Program. Despite their help, my income simply is not enough to make it work. I got a flyer from a company that’s promising to save my home. I am desperate, but I’m not sure if this offer is for real or if it’s a scam. Please help!
Consumer Ed says:
Foreclosure rescue fraud is a valid concern. There are a lot of scam artists out there who are targeting individuals in financial distress. To verify whether the flyer you received was sent by a legitimate mortgage broker, you can contact the Georgia Department of Banking and Finance. They are responsible for supervising those who are licensed (or who should be licensed) to do business in the residential mortgage industry. The "Find a Specific Licensee" feature on their website (www.dbf.georgia.gov) lists active and inactive (revoked, suspended, withdrawn, or expired) broker licensees. If a company does not show up, it is operating illegally in Georgia, which is, of course, a major red flag not to do business with the company.
If the company is properly licensed with the State, you may then want to contact the Better Business Bureau (www.bbb.org) to see if any complaints have been filed against the company.
If foreclosure is imminent, you should seek legal advice right away. There are also some free resources available to you:
- The 24-hour HOPE hotline, 888-995-HOPE is sponsored by the nonprofit Homeownership Preservation Foundation to help homeowners prevent foreclosure.
- The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (www.hud.gov/foreclosure) offers tips on avoiding foreclosure.
- You can call 800-569-4287 to find a HUD-approved housing counselor near you.
- The Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA): 1-888-302-NACA or www.naca.com provides guidance and may be able to mediate with your bank.
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