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How to avoid loan-modification scams

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					How to avoid loan-modification scams
01:00 AM EST on Sunday, March 13, 2011

By Christine Dunn

Journal Staff Writer

PROVIDENCE –– As part of National Consumer Protection Week, the local Loan
Modification Scam Alert Campaign reminds people who are having difficulty paying their
mortgage to avoid loan modification scammers.

“These predators are now preying on good, hard-working people who have been victimized
by this economy,” said Attorney General Peter Kilmartin.

“As many Rhode Islanders struggle to make ends meet, they become more and more
vulnerable,” said Richard Godfrey, executive director of Rhode Island Housing, a partner in
the local Loan Modification Scam Alert Campaign.

“Loan-modification scammers prey on homeowners in their time of need, knowing they will
often take drastic measures to save their home. It’s important to let Rhode Island
homeowners know that free help is available.”

The local campaign has 10 tips to help homeowners seeking foreclosure-prevention
assistance this year:

• Contact your lender as soon as you begin having trouble paying your mortgage.

• Determine your options by speaking to your lender’s loss-mitigation department.

• Be patient but persistent with your lender because getting a loan modification takes time.

• Call a local HUD-approved counseling agency. HUD-approved counseling agencies
provide loan-modification assistance services for free. Visit www.hud.gov for a list of local
HUD-approved counseling agencies.

• Meet with a counselor at a HUD-approved counseling agency. Trained counselors are
available to provide assistance in several languages.

• Beware of loan-modification scams. Some companies and individuals are out to take
advantage of homeowners seeking modifications.
• Avoid anyone who asks for a fee prior to providing any loan-modification service,
including companies, individuals and even some lawyers.

• Avoid anyone who guarantees to get your loan modified or stop a foreclosure, because
nobody has the power to make this promise.

• Avoid companies that tell you to stop paying your mortgage and to pay them instead. This
is a sure sign of a scam.

Report loan modification or foreclosure scams at any time by visiting
www.LoanScamAlert.org or calling 1-888-995-HOPE (4673).

“Knowledge is power,” said Chris Hannifan, executive director of the Housing Network of
Rhode Island. “Educating consumers empowers them to protect themselves from loan-
modification scams and gives them the tools to find the real help they need to protect their
home.”

cdunn@projo.com

				
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