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.
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?