Mortgage foreclosure scams have surged nearly 60 percent this year following the launch of several federal programs, the ""Homeownership Preservation Foundation"":http://www.995hope.org/ (HPF) announced.[IMAGE]
""Regretfully, every new government initiative spawns a slew of foreclosure avoidance scams, often from the same cast of characters doing business under various names to avoid easy detection and identification,"" said Colleen Hernandez, CEO of HPF.
Hernandez added that most of these scams involve individuals purporting to offer foreclosure prevention assistance that trained HPF counselors provide at no cost.[COLUMN_BREAK]
""HPF's trained counselors can provide distressed homeowners with all the assistance they need to understand their options, prepare the necessary paperwork, and negotiate with their mortgage servicers,"" she said. ""Anyone facing foreclosure should never pay upfront fees for these services.""
Sometimes, scams are not so obvious.
Hernandez warned that some organizations are using HPF's logo and brand in their promotional materials even though they are not affiliated with the organization.
""The only way distressed homeowners can be certain they are dealing with a trained HPF counselor is by calling 888-995-HOPE,"" said Hernandez.
The $25 billion mortgage settlement, expansions with HAMP and HARP, and the OCC's Independent Foreclosure Review are all examples of potential relief offered through the government.
HPF is an independent national nonprofit that offers free assistance to distressed homeowners by helping them to navigate financial challenges and avoid mortgage foreclosure through its HOPE Hotline at 888-995-HOPE.