The most common scams that experienced Las Vegas bankruptcy lawyers warn about are debt settlement scams and credit rehabilitation scams. In both those situations, the scammers are targeting people who have general debt problems that are better addressed by filing bankruptcy. Another set of scams that people might not know about, however, are loan modification scams. These can be nastier because unlike debt settlement and the like, the scammers are targeting underwater homeowners, and the narrowed focus reduces the likelihood that victims will suspect they are being conned. Worse, they will claim they will help you obtain a modification via a government loan program, especially the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP). Here are seven signs that someone offering to help with a loan modification is a scammer.
- Their Web sites do not end in .gov but instead use .com or .net domain names, even though it uses terminology like “federal” or “HAMP.”
- They will ask you to pay a stiff fee up front to qualify for the program. Paying upfront is a hallmark of con artists, but in these circumstances it is considered predatory.
- In similar situations, the scammers will claim to provide “counseling” and can negotiate a deal with your lender … if you pay an “administrative fee” and some mortgage payments beforehand.
- The scammers claim they can offer a “government-approved loan.” In reality you can access government loans directly, without any intermediaries. Contacting your lender will help you answer any remaining questions about your eligibility.
- The scammers tell you not to contact your lender, a lawyer, or any government or housing authority, and they’ll tell you they’ve got things “under control.”
- If the party says it guarantees it can stop a foreclosure, they’re probably lying.
- As always, whenever someone pressures you to sign complex paperwork without giving you time to read it over, or if he or she asks for private information, you might be dealing with a con artist.
HAMP and other loan modification scams are common in areas hit heavily by the housing bust, which makes Las Vegas a prime target. If you can’t obtain a loan modification directly from the government and are still having problems with your mortgage, contacting an experienced bankruptcy lawyer is the next step.
For more questions about bankruptcy in Las Vegas, please feel free to contact an experienced Haines & Krieger Las Vegas bankruptcy attorney for a free initial consultation. Call us at 1-702-880-5554 to set up your free consultation.