Mortgage Relief Scams Targeting Our Service Members

Mortgage Relief Scams Targeting Our Service Members
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A number of federal agencies are warning military families to beware of bogus mortgage relief programs targeting service members.

As families across the country struggle to stay afloat with their mortgage payments, the foreclosure rate among military families is growing at a staggering rate. Now, a new epidemic of scams claiming to provide mortgage assistance is targeting those who risk their lives every day to protect our country.

Many of the active scams claim to be a part of the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP), which recently began providing special assistance to military personnel. Unfortunately, HAMP gives scammers an even greater opportunity to target military families.

Most of these mortgage relief scams promise to obtain mortgage loan modification, but for an often hefty upfront fee. Once they have the money, they disappear or claim to be "working" on the issue to no avail. Meanwhile, these already struggling families are left with even less than they had initially.

Things to watch out for include the unofficial use of official program names or logos of government agencies, lenders and nonprofit organizations; a claim of an extremely high success rate in achieving mortgage loan modification; or the guarantee of a successful modification in exchange for an immediate fee, which is illegal in most cases.

Service members should be aware that there are an abundance of free legitimate resources out there ready to offer assistance, many intended specifically for military families.

Additionally, for military personnel struggling to pay their mortgage, free advice from approved housing counselors is always available from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Speaking to a counselor can help you avoid scams and clearly understand all of your available options.

For free mortgage-related advice and assistance from HUD-approved housing counselors or to apply for HAMP, call the Homeowner's HOPE Hotline at 1-888-995-HOPE (1-888-995-4673).

For additional help and more information about mortgages, dial 1-855-411-2372.