As soon as the historic $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement was announced, scammers came out of the woodwork to prey on desperate homeowners.
Attorneys general in a number of states, including California, Virginia, and Maryland, have issued warnings to homeowners to avoid mortgage settlement scammers. The warnings advise homeowners to be wary of the following:
- Websites containing the words “mortgage settlement.” To get trustworthy information on the mortgage settlement, go to the National Mortgage Settlement website created by the attorneys general who negotiated the settlement.
- Requests for an up-front fee in return for a quick settlement payout. Homeowners are not required to pay any sort of fee to receive aid through the National Mortgage Settlement.
- Third-party phone calls. If you are eligible for help through the settlement, your bank will contact you. If you’re afraid your bank won’t be able to find you, contact your bank directly.
- Requests for personal financial information. Some scams involve phone calls or emails, where the scammer asks the homeowner for bank account numbers and promises to deposit the settlement money directly into those accounts. You should never give your bank account number or or other personal financial information to anyone over the telephone or email. If you’re unsure whether the call or email is from your loan servicer, contact your servicer directly.
If you believe you were contacted by a mortgage settlement scammer, contact your state attorney general’s office. Contact information for the attorneys general who signed off on the settlement can be found on the National Mortgage Settlement website.