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Beware of ‘loan modification’ scams

Many people who are having trouble making their mortgage payments are turning to consultants who promise to help them modify their loans. The problem: Often, these “loan modification” businesses are actually scams. In a typical scam, a consultant demands a large upfront fee – sometimes as much as $3,000 – and then disappears without doing any work.

Prosecutors in 19 states have taken legal action against various “foreclosure rescue” businesses, as has the Federal Trade Commission, but many homeowners continue to be bilked. In Washington state alone, the attorney general’s office is investigating complaints involving as many as 100 companies. Be very careful before you hire a consultant who promises to negotiate for you. If you’re in debt trouble, your best bet is often to consult a reputable attorney.

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