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Help Available for Mortgage Foreclosure Victims, but Beware Scams

Don't fall for offers to help 'navigate' the settlement

For millions of homeowners, the Feb. 9 announcement that state and federal officials reached a landmark settlement with five of the nation's largest banks over their flawed and fraudulent foreclosure practices is good news. The $26 billion deal aims to help troubled borrowers by reducing the amount they owe on their mortgages, lowering their interest rates and paying restitution to homeowners who suffered mortgage-related abuses. This is great news.

However, vulnerable mortgage holders age 50 and over may be targeted by scammers who will probably attempt to charge them fees to "negotiate," "handle," "navigate," etc., the settlement. Be very careful!

Where to Find Information and Guidance

For specific, updated information on this historic settlement, please go to nationalmortgagesettlement.com. Here you will find:

  • Contact information for the five companies — Ally/GMAC; Bank of America; Citi; JPMorgan Chase and Wells Fargo.
  • Contact information for each State Attorney General's office.
  • Contact information for U.S. Department of Justice officials involved in the settlement.
  • Additional information on the settlement itself, including updated questions and answers as they occur.
Locked up Money-Keeping your money safe and beware of scams AARP Foundation

Protect your money: Don't fall for scammers who want to charge fees to help you "navigate" the national mortgage settlement. — Photo by Tetra/Getty Images

Please go to nationalmortgagesettlement.com if your mortgage loan is held — or if you think it might be held — by one of the five companies listed above.

For general consumer guidance on dealing with loan modification and foreclosure rescue companies and what to watch out for, call your State Attorney General's office and see this alert on Home Loan Modification Scams (PDF) prepared by AARP Foundation, ElderWatch, the Colorado Attorney General and the Colorado Better Business Bureau.

Also of interest: Quiz: Is it a scam or is it real?

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Housing Solutions Center

This program offers free HUD-certified counseling and assistance to 50-plus homeowners who are at risk of foreclosure. Go

AARP Tax Aide

AARP Foundation Tax-Aide

This program offers free assistance with tax-return preparation. Go

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AARP Benefits QuickLink

See if you qualify for public assistance and you can save money on health care, medication, food, utilities, and more! Go

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AARP Drive to End Hunger

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Older People And
HOUSING

Whether people 50+ own or rent, the repercussions from the recession are severe - abandoned neighborhoods, rent increases and a decrease in affordable, subsidized housing. Millions of homeowners can neither sell their homes nor receive approval to refinance their mortgages at today’s much lower interest rates. 

 

Today:

  • 19 million adults 50+ live in unaffordable or unsafe housing
  • Nearly 25% of household mortgages are underwater - meaning the mortgage is larger than the current value of the house.
  • Foreclosures have been at record levels.

Housing in the
News

New Technologies to Help Seniors Age in Place

(The Wall Street Journal, June 2014) - As the population grows older, engineers and health experts are searching for new ways to prevent elderly people from injuring themselves at home. In doing so, they hope to keep people in their homes longer, a concept known as aging in place. Read

Government Recalls Bed Rails After Reported Deaths

(AARP, May 2014) - The Consumer Product Safety Commission has announced the voluntary recall of more than 100,000 adult bed rails that it says can pose a serious risk of entrapment, strangulation and death. Read

Architects Live in Senior Spaces to Help Elderly

(USA Today, May 2014) - Young architects move into senior housing and live with the people they were designing housing for so they can get a feel for the needs and requirements of the residents. Read