December 5th, 2011 2:40 PM by Lehel S.
The Treasury Department this week unveiled a new joint task force to fight mortgage scams aimed at struggling homeowners seeking payment relief under the government’s Home Affordable Modification Program.
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Special Inspector General for TARP (SIGTARP), and Treasury will investigate firms that demand advance fees for getting borrowers into the HAMP program.
“Treasury is fully committed to working with SIGTARP and the CFPB to shut down mortgage scams that falsely represent themselves as government programs,” said Treasury assistant secretary Tim Massad.
In its first action, the task force issued a consumer fraud alert that warns borrowers to beware of con artists and scams that promise to save their homes. “Beware of anyone seeking to charge you in advance for mortgage modification services – in most cases charging fees in advance for a mortgage modification is illegal,” the alert says.
The notice advises consumers that they can get free help from HUD-approved housing counselors, highlighting that applying for a HAMP modification is free.