SAN FRANCISCO -- Attorney General Kamala D. Harris today, as part of National Consumer Protection Week, warned California homeowners to beware of phone solicitations from scam artists claiming to provide assistance related to the recent national mortgage settlement.
Under California law, it is illegal to charge an up-front fee for loan modification services. Third parties that claim to offer homeowners access to funds under the national mortgage settlement are likely running a scam. Homeowners receiving such solicitations should not provide any personal or financial information and should report the solicitation to the California Department of Justice ( http://ag.ca.gov/contact/complaint_form.php?cmplt=CL ).
Californians seeking relief under the state's recent $18 billion mortgage settlement are advised to heed the following tips to avoid falling prey to scams that often arise around high profile settlements:
- Be skeptical of third party phone solicitations. Only your bank/loan servicer can assist you with regard to the recent national mortgage settlement.
- Do not give your personal financial information to a solicitor such as your bank account number, social security number or even the name of your loan servicer. Your bank will already have this information.
- Never pay an up-front fee for mortgage-related services. It is against California law and should be reported to the California Department of Justice.
- Call your bank to see if you qualify for relief under the settlement.
For free, trustworthy advice:
- Call a HUD approved counselor - (888) 995-4673
- Call Keep Your Home CA - (888) 954-5337
If you think you may be eligible for relief under the national mortgage settlement, call your bank directly:
Bank of America/Countrywide - (877) 488-7814
JPMorgan Chase/Washington Mutual - (866) 372-6901
GMAC Mortgage/Ally Financial - (800) 766-4622
Citibank/CitiMortgage - (866) 272-4749
Wells Fargo/Wachovia - (800) 288-3212
For additional information regarding the mortgage settlement, please visit: http://oag.ca.gov/nationalmortgagesettlement and our frequently asked questions page: http://oag.ca.gov/nationalmortgagesettlement/faqs