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Loan modification scams may be hard to spot

When times get tough, Michigan residents look wherever they can to try to resolve financial difficulties that they are having. Sometimes this means taking on a second job or working overtime, or it might mean trying to refinance loans or consolidate debt in some other way. This can be a confusing process especially for those who are already behind on their payments and have begun to receive calls and letters from collectors, debt resolution companies, and others.

One area of difficulty that many people experience when they are seeking to resolve debt is distinguishing legitimate offers for help from those that are either not truly helpful or that are the work of scam artists. Recently authorities have identified a new, more sophisticated scam being perpetuated on those looking to modify their mortgages.

The scam is carried out by fraudsters appropriating the name and logo of Wells Fargo Bank. Authorities say that this scam is very hard to detect because the forms that accompany the offer for loan modification are the same as those included in a legitimate offer. However, unlike a real loan modification offer, once the forms are sent back the fraudsters use the information to collect thousands of dollars in fees and record data that can be used for identity theft. As one might imagine, this takes a situation from bad to worse, particularly given the difficult of resolving identity theft incidents and repairing damaged credit.

This is just one reason why when times get tough, it is helpful to have an experienced advocate looking at the details and making sure offers from banks or the government are legitimate and that borrowers have a real chance at getting back on their feet.

Source: Herald-Tribune, "Mortgage modification scam shows growing sophistication," Josh Salman, Feb. 13, 2014

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