They told me that the “IRS” had been calling, harassing them for money, threatening to come to their job and have them arrested.
I eased their fears and told them it was a scam.
I told them that the real Internal Revenue Service never calls. They correspond by U.S. mail. Always.
We talked about the scam and how the amount of money they were looking for wasn’t an exceptional amount of money…just a few hundred dollars but imagine getting a few hundred dollars from scared people over the course of a week.
Scammers are still hard at work this summer trying to pry you away from your money; especially if you’re a homeowner.
There are still many families in the throws of foreclosure even with all the positive signs that the country and the housing market are recovering from the most recent financial crisis.
The truth is, there are still too many homeowners struggling to make their mortgage payments and face the very real prospect of losing their homes. Sadly, stats show that about one in 13 homeowners nationwide have fallen behind on their mortgage payments, putting them at a higher risk of foreclosure.
Scammers on the Prowl
Unfortunately, foreclosure rescue and mortgage modification scams are a growing problem. Scammers will make promises that they can’t keep, such as guaranteeing to “save” your home or lower your mortgage payments, usually for a fee, and sometimes even claiming that they have direct contact with your mortgage company.
How Scammers Bait Homeowners
Telephone scammers often request payment by wire transfer services similar to MoneyGram, or completion of paperwork containing your Social Security Number. Do not make any mortgage payments by wire transfer, or provide any personal information, in response to these calls. If you receive unsolicited calls, always check with your mortgage company using the phone number on your mortgage statement, or call 888-995- HOPE ™ (4673) to check its legitimacy.
Beware of telephone calls urging you to take advantage of the Making Home Affordable Program. Beware of anyone seeking to charge you in advance for mortgage modification services. In most cases, charging fees in advance of a mortgage modification is illegal.
Paying a third party to assist with your application may not improve your likelihood of receiving a mortgage modification. Beware of individuals or companies that ask you for payment, tout their success rate, or claim to be Making Home Affordable (MHA) or Home Affordable Modification (HAMP) experts.
If you are someone you know has fallen behind on mortgage payments and facing foreclosure, help is available and that help is always free.
Making Home Affordable is a free government resource that can make paying the mortgage easier for homeowners who are struggling with their mortgage payments. With free help from HUD-approved housing experts, homeowners can avoid being scammed by those demanding payment for assistance. When it comes to upfront fees, MHA tells homeowners, “Don’t Pay, Walk Away.”
Through the federal Making Home Affordable program, many homeowners have received much-needed help to reduce their monthly payments, get mortgage relief, and avoid foreclosure.
The Making Home Affordable (MHA) housing counseling experts at 888-995- HOPE™ (4673) are available around-the- clock (24 hours a day, 7 days a week), in over 170 languages, and at no cost. They will help homeowners understand their options and design a plan to suit their individual situation.
Visit MakingHomeAffordable.gov to read about available programs to help with mortgage payments. If you or someone you know is struggling, there is help.
Lisa N. Alexander is the author and founder of This Woman Knows and What Million-Dollar Brands Know. She is a women’s leadership speaker and marketing consultant known as The Marketing Stylist™. She speaks on topics ranging from women’s empowerment to successfully marketing your business and uses her wit and humor to inform and entertain audiences. For booking information please visit www.LisaNAlexander.com.