Worried About Foreclosure? Watch for Scam

You’ve heard the ads. Maybe you even got a phone call: “Don’t worry, you can stay in your home. Let us help you avoid foreclosure.”

But before you shell out a hefty fee to an out-of-state company, call the Iowa Mortgage Help hotline. This statewide program is free, it’s effective, it’s confidential…and it’s in West Des Moines.

“Don’t pay anyone money to get a mortgage loan modification. No one legitimate is going to charge you upfront,” says assistant attorney general Patrick Madigan, who is nationally known for his work on mortgage related issues.  “The companies promise special relationships with mortgage servicers that handle the foreclosure process, and they want a $1,500-2,500 fee. But they’ll take your money and run.”

Through the Iowa Mortgage Help hotline, which was founded by the Iowa Attorney General and the Iowa Finance Authority, Madigan said negotiations really can be done. In the last two years, the hotline has helped more than 9,000 Iowans open applications and has fielded many more calls for help.

In Iowa, about 5.7 percent of the 343,833 residential mortgage loans in the 4th quarter of 2009 were classified as delinquent, which means 90+ days late. The national average is 9.67 percent, according to a survey from the Mortgage Bankers Association.

If you can’t make your house payments, call the hotline at 877-622-4866 or go to www.iowamortgagehelp.com.

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