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Facing Foreclosure?

Are you a homeowner facing the possibility of losing your home to foreclosure? Many companies promise they can help reduce your mortgage payments or that they can save your home. Some offer a money-back guarantee. Others claim they’re affiliated with the government or your lender. Unfortunately, many companies promise relief, but don’t deliver.

The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has a rule in place to protect homeowners. The Mortgage Assistance Relief Services (MARS) Rule makes it illegal for companies to collect any fees until a homeowner has actually received an offer of relief from his or her lender and accepted it.

Know your Rights

The FTC’s MARS Rule gives you rights and sets out requirements for people who sell mortgage assistance relief services:

1. You don’t have to pay any money until the company delivers the results you


2. Companies must disclose the following key information.

  • They’re not associated with the government or your lender;

  •  Your lender may not agree to change your loan;

  • If a company tells you to stop paying your mortgage, it should also warn

         you that you could lose your home and damage your credit.

  • Companies can’t tell you to stop talking to your lender.

    If a company doesn’t follow these rules, it could be trying to scam you.

Warning Signs

Avoid businesses that:

  • guarantee to get you a loan modification or stop the foreclosure process;

  • tell you not to contact your lender, lawyer, or housing counselor;

  • claim that most of their customers get loan modifications or mortgage


  • ask for an upfront fee before providing you with any services

  • accept payment only by cashier’s check or wire transfer;

  • encourage you to lease your home so you can buy it back over time;

  • tell you to make your mortgage payments directly to them;

  • tell you to transfer your property deed or title to it;or

  • offer to buy your house for cash for much lower than the selling price;

  • pressure you to sign papers you haven’t read or understand thoroughly.

If you’re having trouble paying your mortgage or have gotten a foreclosure notice, contact your lender immediately. You may be able to negotiate a new repayment schedule. You also may wish to contact a credit counselor.

Report Fraud

If you think you’ve been the victim of foreclosure fraud, contact the Federal Trade Commission, your state’s  Attorney General’s office, or the Better Business Bureau.

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