Feds Target Phony Mortgage Relief Firms

One of the worst outcomes of the housing collapse and recession were the slew of scam artists and sleaze outfits lining up to offer “help” to beleaguered homeowners. But a growing number of these companies are getting their just desserts, from the feds.

The Federal Trade Commission said it has taken action against another six mortgage relief operations.

According to the FTC, these companies preyed on distressed homeowners by falsely claiming they could lower homeowners’ mortgage payments and interest rates or prevent foreclosure, and illegally charging advance fees.

In other words, they preyed on desperate people — who were trying to hang onto their homes — with false promises. The FTC said it is moving to stop the illegal practices, and freeze the defendants’ assets, pending the outcome of the litigation.

In an announcement, the FTC said it has charged the defendants in each operation with violating the FTC Act and the Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule, now known as Regulation O.

This Federal Rule bans mortgage foreclosure rescue and loan modification services from collecting fees until homeowners have a written offer from their lender or servicer that they deem acceptable.

Since 2008, the FTC has brought 48 actions against companies peddling fraudulent mortgage relief schemes.  Let’s hope they keep after these crooks. If you think that you — or someone you know — has been the victim of one of these crooked outfits, you can visit the FTC’s online Complaint Assistant or call 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357).


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