If you’re struggling to pay your mortgage in Maryland, you may be considering a home loan modification. While this process can lower your payments and allow you to keep your home, you must also be aware of potential scams that will deprive you of your money. The Federal Trade Commission explains some common mortgage relief scam tactics and how to avoid them.

Unsolicited calls and correspondence

Because foreclosure notices are public, a scam artist can find names by searching through public records. From here, the person uses the information to create a seemingly formal notice and offer services to the homeowner. While home foreclosure assistance is readily available, it’s very rarely provided unsolicited. If you suspect that a company is not what it seems, do a search online or consult the Better Business Bureau website to look for complaints.

Outrageous claims

Foreclosure scams also make some pretty bold claims that usually untrue. Many purveyors of foreclosure fraud will use language like “90% customer satisfaction” and promises of money back guarantees. They’ll also claim to have specials relationships with banks and lending institutions and will present themselves as a trusted authority who will negotiate on your behalf for a fee. If a modification option appears too good to be true, chances are it is. 

Exorbitant fees and charges

The third thing to look out for is exorbitant fees linked to services rendered. In many cases, these fees will be requested up front before any work has been performed, and this should be taken as a huge red flag. Before you’re required to pay anything, the mortgage servicer must provide a written offer from your lending institution and you must explicitly accept the offer to move forward. You must also receive full disclosure of all fees before paying, as well as other information that could impact the modification.