Having trouble paying your mortgage? What if you got an ad in the mail asking you to join in a lawsuit against your lender? The ad looks like a government form and claims you can get large principal reductions or other monetary relief by joining the suit.
Bad news: Idaho State Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is warning consumers that this is a scam.
“The scam is a pretext to collect an unlawful $5,000 upfront fee from homeowners,” Wasden says. “The representations in the solicitations are false and are designed to prey on vulnerable homeowners. My office is currently investigating this company.”
The company named in the AG’s press release is Corvus Law Group.
The ads, which appear to be “notices,” may be mailed to homeowners or posted on their doors. Typically, the business asks for a “retainer fee” and may ask homeowners for their credit card numbers or offer to set up a weekly payment plan.
State and federal laws prohibit companies from charging upfront fees for foreclosure rescue or mortgage modification services.
Beginning September 1, it is unlawful in Idaho for a person to charge a fee, upfront or otherwise, for these services, unless the person offering the service is licensed with the Idaho Department of Finance or exempt from its licensing requirement.
“I encourage homeowners who have lost money to this business or other mortgage rescue companies to file complaints with my Consumer Protection Division,” Wasden said. Complaint forms are available at www.ag.idaho.gov or by calling (208) 334-2424.
The Attorney General’s Office recently updated its consumer education manuals regarding home buying and foreclosure prevention. The manuals are available at www.ag.idaho.gov.
Homeowners who are having difficulties paying their mortgage loans may qualify for a mortgage modification and can visit the federal government’s website at www.makinghomeaffordable.gov for an application packet. Idaho homeowners who are having difficulties communicating with their mortgage loan servicers about their loans can call the Idaho Attorney General’s housing specialist at (208) 334-4536 for assistance.
The US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) also offers help to people having trouble paying their mortgage. For an office nearest you, go to www.hud.gov. Menu options at this time are placed on the left side of the page and include Avoid Foreclosure, Learn about Reverse Mortgages for Seniors, and Talk to a Housing Counselor.