Saturday, August 28, 2010

Avoid Scams when unable to pay your mortgage

With so many homeowners in touble I wanted to pass along some important information I received about scams and where to aquire legitimate help here in Knoxville.

Local, state and federal officials joined with nonprofit housing counselors to warn citizens against unscrupulous loan modification scams.

In the current economy, many homeowners are having difficulty making theirmonthly mortgage payments or are behind on their payments. They can be prey to "loan modification scammers" - unethical people who can take your money and your home if you're not cautious and well-informed, according to materials distributed at a press conference this week.

Jackie Mayo, executive director of Knox Housing Partnership, advised that, if you are worried about keeping your home, avoid anyone who:

1. Asks for a fee in advance. (Local nonprofit housing counselors do not charge a fee.)

2. Guarantees that they'll stop a foreclosure or modify a loan.

3. Tells you to stop paying your mortgage company and start paying them instead.

4. Pressures you to sign paperwork you do not understand.

5. Claims official government approval.

6. Asks you to release your financial information.

"If it's too good to be true, it probably is," Mayo noted. Instead, Mayo urged citizens to contact one of the following nonprofit agencies which offer free mortgage counseling services:

Knoxville Area Urban Leage, 524-5511, http://www.thekaul.org/

Knox Housing Partnership, 637-1679, http://www.khp.org/

Legal Aid of East Tennessee, 637-0484, http://www.laet.org/

For more information on loan modification scams, visit http://www.loanscamalert.org/ or http://www.preventloanscams.org/.

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