The Pima County Housing Center is warning homeowners who are hoping to get help from last month’s $25 billion National Mortgage Settlement that numerous scams claiming to be connected to the settlement are already being reported.
To avoid becoming a victim of a foreclosure scam, consider these tips from Money Management International, a nonprofit credit-counseling agency.
- There is no fee involved in the National Mortgage Settlement. If you are contacted in any way by someone asking for money in return for a speedy settlement payment, they are scamming you.
- Don’t panic. Mortgage scams are effective because the scammer is able to exploit the fear of a person who is in a desperate, vulnerable state. Don’t let fear cause you to make irrational decisions.
- Never act under pressure. Don’t sign a contract or disclose information before doing your research. You can always request to receive any information in writing.
- Trust your gut. If someone is offering you something that sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Stay informed. Make sure you obtain detailed information about your foreclosure deadlines. If you want to know if you qualify under the Settlement, contact your bank or loan servicer directly.
- Don’t release any personal financial information. If you are contacted by someone who claims to be from your financial institution and wants you to “confirm” or help them identify your personal account information, it is likely a scam. Rather than releasing information, ask for their contact information and tell them you’re going to call them back.
Call Don’t Borrow Trouble at 792-3087 or the Housing Center at 624-2947. You can also stop by the housing center at 801 W. Congress between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
The Pima County Housing Center and its partners:
- Provide resources, information, counseling, classes, computers, and workshops to help first-time homebuyers and other Pima County residents purchase, repair and make their homes more energy efficient; find affordable rentals; improve their credit; and save and manage their money.
- Help homeowners with mortgage modification and foreclosure prevention or recovery.
- Assist individuals and families who have been victims of fraud and rescue scams.
- Help individuals obtain emergency rent, mortgage and utility assistance.